Press Release

State cannot affect global climate change

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RALEIGH – Scientific evidence shows North Carolina can take no steps that would reduce global warming. That’s a key finding in a new John Locke Foundation Spotlight report.

Click here to view and here to listen to Dr. Roy Cordato discussing this Spotlight report.

The report recommends that a special state study group reject proposals that target carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions linked to global warming. “The logical thing for the group to do is to wrap up its work, write a report, and admit that there is no policy that North Carolina could implement that would change the course of future climate change,” said Dr. Roy Cordato, JLF Vice President for Research and Resident Scholar.

Despite the evidence, some members of the N.C. Legislative Commission on Global Climate Change continue to advocate CO2 reduction strategies, Cordato said. “They’re pushing for forced reductions in full knowledge that they will not benefit a single citizen of North Carolina – either those who are now living or those yet to be born,” he said. “This is equivalent to the drunk looking for his lost keys under the nearest streetlight, not because that’s where he lost them but because that’s where the light is.”

Cordato also takes aim at the science that underlies the commission’s work. “There is a consensus on global warming, but it is not the consensus that environmental alarmists suggest,” he said. “The true undisputed consensus is that no public policy now considered to restrict CO2 emissions – at any level of government, including the state of North Carolina – would have a measurable impact on the climate. No policy would lead to short-term benefits. None would have an impact in the next century.”

North Carolinians should put the state commission’s work in perspective, Cordato said. Even the international Kyoto Protocol would produce negligible benefits. “The definitive study on this treaty suggests that over the next 100 years – even with 100 percent compliance – global temperatures would be only 0.26 degrees Fahrenheit lower than they would be with no change in policy.”

The Tar Heel state’s proposals would not even approach that miniscule level of global warming impact, Cordato said.

One member of the global climate change commission draws special scrutiny in the report. Cordato says Dr. William Schlesinger, dean of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, suggests North Carolina should go well beyond Kyoto greenhouse gas reduction requirements.

“Schlesinger acknowledges Kyoto’s lack of impact on global climate change, then urges an alternative that would stabilize CO2 concentration in the atmosphere in the next couple of decades,” Cordato said. “The problem is that every person in the world would have to cut fossil fuel consumption by 75 percent.

“In other words, we would have to go back to the level of CO2 emissions from the early 1950s,” he added. “That was a world with no computers, no microwave ovens, no air conditioning. Few people had televisions, and their homes were about half the size they are today.”

North Carolina can take one positive step, Cordato said. “Since the beginning of mankind, people have overcome extreme heat, cold, snowstorms, and hurricanes thanks to prosperity,” he said. “The best thing lawmakers can do to address climate change is help create an economic environment – through the tax code, regulations, and protection of private property rights – that will allow researchers and entrepreneurs to react to future conditions with as much flexibility as possible.

“To pursue global warming prevention is tantamount to doing nothing to help real people deal with real problems associated with the vagaries of weather.”

Dr. Roy Cordato’s Spotlight report, “The Science Is Settled: North Carolina Can Have No Impact on Climate Change,” is available at the JLF web site. For more information, please contact Cordato at (919) 828-3876 or [email protected]. To arrange an interview, contact Mitch Kokai at (919) 306-8736 or [email protected].

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About John Locke Foundation

We are North Carolina’s Most Trusted and Influential Source of Common Sense. The John Locke Foundation was created in 1990 as an independent, nonprofit think tank that would work “for truth, for freedom, and for the future of North Carolina.” The Foundation is named for John Locke (1632-1704), an English philosopher whose writings inspired Thomas Jefferson and the other Founders.

The John Locke Foundation is a 501(c)(3) research institute and is funded solely from voluntary contributions from individuals, corporations, and charitable foundations.