Harold A. Black
I don’t know if there is global warming and if there is global warming, I do not know that humans are the responsible party. However, I do know that if the recommendations on lowering carbon dioxide emissions are enacted, the short run consequences on the economy will be recessionary raising energy prices and increasing unemployment.
Why don’t I know about the existence of global warming or what causes it when virtually all the evidence presented by the media point to a man made ecological disaster? It is because many respected scientists - ignored by the press - find no global warming, no relationship between carbon dioxide and temperature change, no relationship between global warming and hurricanes and no abnormal ice cap melting. One recent study shows some global warming but not enough to cause any climate change. Another study finds that the source of recent temperature change is increased radiation from the sun not greenhouse gases. None has received any media attention leading me to conclude that the media has chosen sides.
Global warming is the scare of the moment. During my lifetime, we have had other scares such as the population bomb scare, the death from smog scare, and the global cooling scare predicting a new ice age – all of which were embraced by the media.
When I was in graduate school some leading scientists looked at the rate of displacement of workers by technology and predicted that by the year 2000, 90 percent of the labor force would be unemployed. Their recommendations included increased taxation, income redistribution and massive public works programs to keep people working. Suitably inspired, I took the number of horses in 1766, ran my computer and found that by 1975, the planet would be buried under 30 feet of horse manure. So pardon me if I am a skeptic regarding global warming models.
Global warming conclusions are based on computer forecasts. Since models are part of what I do for a living, I know that choice of data selection, model parameters and the data period can and do yield conflicting results. All models – with one exception – predict better in the short run than the long run. The exception is the global warming model which does not predict well in the short run because the weather is unpredictable. Huh?
One thing is for certain, however, enforcement of the Kyoto standards as urged by Al Gore on CO2 emissions would be recessionary with GDP falling by 1.2% a year. Electric bills are estimated to rise by 86 percent, heating oil by 76% and gasoline costs by 66 cents per gallon. GDP losses are estimated to be $400 billion. Job loss will be 1 million per year for 10 years. The countries that have implemented Kyoto have had more significant increases in energy costs, slower growth and a greater shift in production to non-Kyoto countries. As a result, Britain and Canada are reassessing their participation in the Accord. As to the long term results, again I don’t know because humans are ingenious and will find a way to prosper despite government interference.
The full implementation of the Kyoto standard would reduce global temperatures by only .07 degrees Celsius by 2050 an inconsequential benefit. Of course, advocates would then demand even greater reductions with much more ominous economic consequences. Kyoto is nothing more than a massive tax hike that would reduce the US standard of living. It is not surprising that the countries that adopted Kyoto are either socialist or socialist-lite. Equally not surprising is that its US adherents are academics who will get more research funding and politicians who gain more power and enhance that power through income redistribution.
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