June 24, 2007

RALEIGH – North Carolina should avoid new regulations and taxes based on hype surrounding global warming. That’s a key conclusion in the John Locke Foundation’s new North Carolina Citizen’s Guide to Global Warming.

Click here to view and here to listen to Joel Schwartz discussing this Policy Report.

“Although it is important to keep monitoring the Earth’s climate to avoid both natural and human-caused climate surprises, the greatest threat we face from climate change is the danger of rushing into foolish and costly policies driven by ill-founded climate change hysteria,” said report author Joel Schwartz, visiting fellow with the American Enterprise Institute and JLF adjunct scholar.

The John Locke Foundation is releasing the Citizen’s Guide in conjunction with this week’s statewide Global Warming Tour. Schwartz will present his findings during public presentations from Charlotte to Wilmington. You’ll find the full report online after the tour is complete.

The JLF tour coincides with legislative debate about new taxes and tax penalties, restrictions on cost-efficient energy sources, new land-use regulations, and other policies linked to global warming concerns.

“Many climate scientists, journalists, and public figures, most notably Al Gore, have driven climate change to the top of the world’s political agenda,” Schwartz said. “The result has been a steady stream of scary headlines about hurricanes, floods, and other disasters of biblical proportions. Gore says the only way to avert these disasters is through a ‘wrenching transformation’ of our way of life. As the Citizen’s Guide shows, this brand of over-the-top climate hysteria has nothing to do with reality.”

Schwartz rebuts 17 claims from global warming alarmists in areas such as the scientific “consensus” about global warming, potential impacts, and the best ways to mitigate climate change.

For example, global warming alarmists misstate evidence about the impact of climate change on hurricanes, Schwartz said. “Observations in the tropical Atlantic show that the real atmosphere is behaving just the opposite of greenhouse warming predictions.”

Climate activists in North Carolina also claim greenhouse warming will flood the Outer Banks and wipe out the state’s coastal areas, Schwartz said. “But tide gauge data for North Carolina show little sea level rise during the last few decades,” he said. “For the last five years, average sea level has actually dropped a few inches below peak levels achieved in the 1990s.”

Acting alone or with other states, North Carolina cannot have a significant effect on greenhouse gas emissions, Schwartz said. “One might argue that you have to start somewhere,” he said. “But if unilateral action is guaranteed to have no discernable climate change benefits, it doesn’t make sense to shoot yourself in the foot by rationing energy and driving up energy costs.”

North Carolinians should reject arguments that reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be relatively inexpensive, Schwartz said. “Reducing emissions enough to reduce warming noticeably would require great sacrifices,” he said. “One of environmentalists’ main policy goals to address climate change is to make energy more expensive and less available.”

“Whatever the risks of future climate change, they pale in comparison to the risks of the ‘wrenching transformation’ sought by Gore and his environmentalist allies,” Schwartz said. “The restrictions they seek to force on the world would require us to give up the energy consumption that supports our prosperity, health, and comfort of life.”

Joel Schwartz’s Policy Report, “A North Carolina Citizen’s Guide to Global Warming,” is available at the JLF web site. For more information, please contact Dr. Roy Cordato at (919) 828-3876 or [email protected]. To arrange an interview, contact Mitch Kokai at (919) 306-8736 or [email protected].