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Speakers at Climate Conference Flood Washington, D.C. with Facts

August 6, 2019

Speakers at the 13th International Conference on Climate Change discussed climate science, energy and climate economics, and whether various policy options were likely to harm or promote economic prosperity while maintaining a healthy environment.

An international lineup of 24 speakers at The Heartland Institute’s 13th International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC 13) in Washington, D.C. presented the scientific evidence indicating a climate crisis is not occurring and explained why policies like the Green New Deal and carbon taxes would do more harm than good for people and the environment.

More than 300 attendees and 8,000 online viewers watched the July 25 event as experts from the federal and state governments and representatives of academia, industry, and think tanks discussed climate science, energy and climate economics, and whether various policy options were likely to harm or promote economic prosperity while maintaining a healthy environment.

Comparing Models to Reality

The first science panel featured presentations by David Legates, Ph.D., a professor of climatology at the University of Delaware; Nir Shaviv, Ph.D., an astrophysicist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and Roy Spencer, Ph.D., principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Spencer showed climate modelers build incorrect assumptions into their models, which then produce false results suggesting humans will cause dangerous climate change.

“Climate models’ global average temperature projections are what proposed energy policy changes are based upon, but they produce twice as much warming as is actually measured by global satellites and the average of four reanalyses,” Spencer said. “Reanalyses are global data sets [which include] all the observations they [scientists] can find—surface temperatures, weather balloons, commercial aircraft, ship [measurements], buoys, a variety of satellites. …

“The reanalysis data sets agree with the satellites that the climate models are producing too much warming,” said Spencer.

Benefits of Fossil Fuels

On a second science panel, Craig Idso, Ph.D., founder and chairman of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change; Patrick Michaels, Ph.D., past president of the American Association of State Climatologists; and meteorologist Anthony Watts, a senior fellow with The Heartland Institiute, which publishes Environment & Climate News, documented the use of bad data to promote the idea humans are causing dangerous climate change.

Michaels showed researchers have adjusted land and ocean temperature data to make past temperatures appear consistently cooler than what was recorded and recent temperatures consistently warmer than recording systems report, making the past century’s warming appear steeper than it actually was.

Watts presented research showing the vast majority of land-based temperature recording network sites are badly compromised, being located near artificial sources of heat or concrete and buildings that absorb and radiate heat, making their recorded temperatures invalid.

Idso cited data showing people in countries that use fossil fuels at higher rates experience less hunger and malnutrition, achieve greater food production, and have longer lifespans, lower infant mortality rates, and significantly higher per capita GDP than those in countries with less access to fossil fuels.

“Countries with lower per capita CO2 emissions have lower per capita GDP, whereas countries with higher per capita CO2 emissions have higher per capita GDP,” said Idso. “Fossil energy use is fundamentally linked to economic growth.

“As countries have embraced and increased their production and use of fossil energy, their citizens have been amply rewarded with increased economic development and growth,” Idso said.

Economics of Carbon Dioxide Cuts

The speakers on the Energy and Climate Economics panel were Roger Bezdek, Ph.D., president of the energy and environmental research firm MISI; Kevin Dayaratna, Ph.D., senior statistician and research programmer in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis; and Benjamin Zycher, Ph.D., a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Zycher and Dayaratna said the Green New Deal (GND) proposed by freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and sponsored and endorsed by more than 100 Democrat or Independent members of the U.S. House and Senate, including every senator currently vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, would cost trillions of dollars and provide little to no benefits.

Zycher said the GND would require an authoritarian takeover of the economy, and Dayaratna said his research indicates the trillions of dollars and millions of jobs lost would have a negligible impact on the climate.

“[GND] would result in a peak employment shortfall of over 5.3 million jobs, … [and] a typical family of four would experience $8,000 in lost income per year, amounting to a total loss of $165,000 [per household] through 2040,” Dayaratna said. “Yet, even eliminating carbon dioxide  emissions from the economy completely … would produce less than 0.2 degrees Celsius temperature mitigation by the end of the century [and] less than 2 centimeters of sea level rise reduction.”

‘Not a Winning Political Issue’

Speaking on the panel on Winning Public Policy Options, James Taylor, director of The Heartland Institute’s Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy, said Republicans who embrace carbon taxes and increasing subsidies for renewable energy production are committing political suicide.

“A watered-down Green New Deal is a losing policy for Republicans,” said Taylor.

Polls show the public does not rank climate change high among its list of concerns and people are unwilling to pay much to combat it, said Taylor.

“Republicans who have said we need to take action on climate change and the way to win votes of voters in the future is to show that concern,” have consistently lost elections, Taylor said. “They were unable to win over the far Left … but what they are doing is [losing] me and people like me who say there is no way I’m going to cast a ballot for somebody who is going to [restrict fossil fuel use].

“Going to the left on climate change is not a winning political issue,” said Taylor.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. (hsburnett@heartland.org) is a research fellow at The Heartland Institute.

INTERNET INFO

13th International Conference on Climate Change, The Heartland Institute, July 25, 2019: https://climateconference.heartland.org/

Author
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
hsburnett@heartland.org