October 1, 2006
RALEIGH – “My impression is that the general discussion of global climate change has moved beyond Kyoto because both sides seem to agree that even full implementation of Kyoto would have a relatively small impact on greenhouse gas emissions or global climate change.”
That quote marks an interesting development in North Carolina’s debate over global warming, according to a John Locke Foundation analyst. “Was this statement made by a global warming skeptic, possibly an industry shill for Exxon Mobil?” asked Dr. Roy Cordato, JLF Vice President for Research and Resident Scholar. “No. In fact, these are the words of George F. Givens, Counsel to the N.C. Legislative Commission on Global Climate Change.”
Givens included the comment in a September 26 e-mail letter to Sen. Robert Pittenger, R-Mecklenburg, a member of the global climate change commission. “This shows that there really is a consensus on global warming,” Cordato said, “namely that even drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions will have no significant impact on the climate.”
The consensus offers no surprise to Cordato. Scientists already have outlined for the N.C. commission flaws in common global warming theories, he said. Those theories include proposals tied to the United Nations’ original Kyoto global warming treaty.
“Every climatologist who has spoken to the commission has made the same argument: Kyoto would have no impact on global warming,” Cordato said. “The argument is based on a famous study by Dr. Thomas Wigley, a climate scientist, who demonstrated that over a 100-year period Kyoto would reduce the increase in global temperatures by 0.26 degrees Fahrenheit over what would occur if nothing were done.”
Cordato highlighted the Wigley study in a Spotlight report distributed to the commission earlier this year. Arizona State University climatologist Robert Balling testified in March that North Carolina could reduce CO2 emissions to zero, and the effect on global climate would not be noticed.
“In fact, none of the scientists who have spoken before the climate change commission have claimed that any policy that North Carolina could implement would affect global temperatures,” Cordato said.
The global climate change commission should consider Givens’ quote as it meets again Tuesday in Raleigh, Cordato said. “In acknowledging Kyoto’s lack of impact, Givens is admitting that nothing the commission ultimately proposes will effect current or future rates of climate change,” he said. “Givens is implicitly acknowledging that Kyoto-type reductions in CO2 emissions for North Carolina would be all cost with no climate change benefits.”
The U.S. Energy Information Agency found that mandatory CO2 reductions similar to those required by Kyoto would result in hundreds of thousands of jobs lost in North Carolina, plus an 83 percent increase in electricity prices, a 53 percent increase in gasoline prices, and a 147 percent increase in natural gas prices.
“Hopefully, Givens is not recommending even more stringent controls and, therefore, higher costs on North Carolinians than the United Nations would require,” Cordato said.
“I would like to think that, in pointing out that the discussion has ‘moved beyond Kyoto,’ Givens is suggesting that the commission now recognizes that Kyoto-style greenhouse gas reduction policies are futile,” he added. “If this is the case, then there is hope that the Commission’s recommendations will be consistent with sound climate science.”