RALEIGH — The state legislature created the North Carolina Global Warming Commission this year and gave it a mandate to investigate the science and economic impact of climate change, but an analysis of the commission’s membership by the John Locke Foundation found only one climate scientist and no economists among the 16 current members.
Six of the seven areas the commission is to investigate require expertise in specific fields of research, wrote Dr. Roy Cordato, the Locke Foundation’s vice president for research, in a new Spotlight briefing paper. Two areas involve the relationship between greenhouse gases and climate change, and four areas concern the economic impacts of climate change and proposed policies to combat it. But the commission’s membership reflects little expertise relevant to such investigations.
“Most commission members are representatives of either environmental pressure groups or particular industries,” Cordato said, adding that only four of the 16 members do not have an apparent advocacy or financial agenda.
Cordato said the one-sided and unscientific makeup of the commission puts its findings and recommendations at risk of being steered by the advocates into supporting their position.
“Economists know that the way to evaluate any action is to examine its benefits as well as its costs,” Cordato said. “Advocates often like to stop at just examining the benefits of the policies they favor.”
“Credible research shows that the United Nations’ Kyoto Protocol would reduce the Gross Domestic Product, dramatically increase energy prices, and cost North Carolina an estimated 100,000 jobs,” he said. “Even if Kyoto were implemented fully, its effect on global temperature is predicted to be less than 14 hundredths of one degree.”
Cordato argued that it is clear why advocates would want to gloss over scientific uncertainties and the economic analysis of costs and benefits. “If a global effort to stop global warming can only cool the planet by 14 hundredths of a degree, what possible effect could there be from a North Carolina-only policy response?” he asked.
Dr. Roy Cordato’s Spotlight, “Lopsided Commission: North Carolina’s Global Warming Commission Lacks Expertise,” is available on the John Locke Foundation website. For more information, contact Cordato at 919-828-3876 or [email protected].