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Climate Change

 

The Issue

The debate over global warming is the most consequential public policy debate taking place today in the United States and around the world. The stakes are enormous.

According to some scientists, stabilizing the climate would require reducing carbon dioxide emissions 80 percent or even more by the middle of the century. Rationing access to energy and forcing a transition to alternatives to fossil fuels would reduce the quality of life of billions of people around the world, squander one of America’s greatest comparative advantages among the world’s nations, and cause the premature death of millions of people.

Most scientists do not believe human greenhouse gas emissions are a proven threat to the environment or to human well-being, despite a barrage of propaganda insisting otherwise coming from the environmental movement and echoed by its sycophants in the mainstream media. Surveys and article-counting exercises alleged to show a “consensus” invariably ask the wrong questions (e.g., is climate change happening, rather than whether a human impact is likely to be dangerous) or are methodologically flawed. More reliable research shows the science community is deeply divided and unsure about the causes and consequences of climate change.

Our Stance

The Heartland Institute has participated in the global debate over climate policy since 1993, when it published an influential book titled Eco-Sanity: A Common-Sense Guide to Environmentalism. Our position has always been that if human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases pose a threat to the natural world and human health, then actions to avoid the threat would be necessary. But if the best-available research shows there is little danger or that there is nothing we can do to prevent climate change, then we should oppose legislation adopted in the name of “stopping” global warming.

Featured Subtopics

Flourishing corn crop
The evidence is overwhelming that rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have will continue to help plants thrive, leading to greater biodiversity, shrinking deserts, expanded habitat for wildlife, and more food for a growing human population.
Woman with questioning look
The claim of “scientific consensus” on the causes and consequences of climate change is without merit. There is no survey or study showing “consensus” on any of the most important scientific issues in the climate change debate.
Chart showing upward economic growth
Economics can show committed environmentalists how they can better achieve their goals by recognizing fundamental economic principles such as the need to make trade-offs, to measure costs and benefits, and to take into account such economic concepts as discount rates and marginal costs.
Kids studying science in a lab
Overwhelming scientific evidence suggests the greenhouse gas-induced global climate signal is so small as to be embedded within the background variability of the natural climate system and is not dangerous. At the same time, global temperature change is occurring, as it always naturally does.

Additional Subtopics

  • Adaptation
  • Alarmism
  • Carbon Sequestrian
  • Climate Change Regulation
  • Climate Models
  • Human Effects
  • IPCC
  • Media Bias
  • NIPCC
  • Private Initiatives
  • Realism
  • Temperatures

Videos

Title: Climate Challenge LIVE-STREAM: Bright Lights, Big City ... Bigger Debate
Description: It's time for both sides to make the case: What is happening to our climate and what can we do about it? On September 23 in the Big Apple – on the same day and in the same city the United Nations will convene its Climate Summit before it's General Assembly session – The Heartland Institute will host a debate on what is happening to our climate and what we can do about it. That's a debate long-delayed, but never more important than now. We've cordially invited some of the country's most-prominent advocates for taking immediate action on climate change: Kevin Trenberth, Michael Mann, Don Wuebbles, Katherine Hayhoe, Brenda Ekwurzel, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They blame human activity for global warming, insist it will be catastrophic to life on Earth, and demand big changes to the way Americans live, work, eat, travel, and build. If those claims are correct, then it's time to make the case to the American people – who are skeptical of the scope of the problem and have not been asked their consent to those proposed solutions. The Heartland Institute will bring a team of scientists, policy experts, and (maybe) a public official to represent the "climate realist" side of the debate. Doesn't the wholesale reordering of our society demand at least a little bit of public debate? We think so. This debate will be live-streamed from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET at Heartland.org. Tune in so you can make up your mind for yourself.

Climate Change Experts Team

The Heartland Institute's experts on climate change/global warming re available for legislative testimony, speaking engagements, and media interviews.

Staff & Fellows Policy Experts