May 1998

Washington DC: At a press conference today sponsored by the “Cooler Heads Coalition,” a subgroup of the National Consumer Coalition, policymakers, citizens groups, scientists and state petitions and resolutions were released that oppose the U.S. signing the global climate treaty.

With Earth Day approaching the President may be preparing to sign the Kyoto Protocol which calls for dramatic reductions in energy use in the U.S., the groups noted.

The press briefing was led off by Thair Phillips, CEO, The Seniors Coalition, who displayed 7,000 individual petitions from their members asking the Administration not to sign the Kyoto Protocol. Phillips said the drastic cutbacks in energy use would have severe effects on Americans’ standard of living. Those on fixed income could be hurt the hardest, Phillips said. He noted that many seniors signing petitions are concerned about the UNs influence on US energy policy.

John Meredith, Legislative Director, the American Policy Center, brought with him citizens petitions against the U.S. entering into the treaty. People from all over the country are beginning to learn that they will bear the consequences of global warming policies, Meredith said, and they would like their voices to be heard.

A petition signed by 15,000 scientists who dispute the science of global warming and oppose the treaty was revealed by Dr. Jane Orient, president, Doctors for Disaster Preparedness. Signatories include approximately 2,100 physicists, geophysicists, climatologists, meteorologists, and environmental scientists who are especially well qualified to evaluate the effects of carbon dioxide on the earth’s atmosphere and climate.

John Shanahan, Director of Legislative Affairs, the American Legislative Exchange Council, discussed model legislation just approved by ALEC that would prohibit state environmental agencies from reducing greenhouse gases to implement the Kyoto Protocol before it is signed and ratified. He noted that bi-partisan legislators in five states have committed to introducing bills based on this model, with many more expected to follow. Resolutions opposing the treaty have already been passed in 10 states.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s vice president, William Kovacks, referred to the issues of sovereignty and national defense, which will be covered at an upcoming Chamber conference.

The “Cooler Heads Coalition” is a subgroup of the National Consumer Coalition organized and coordinated by Consumer Alert. Members of the Coalition are non-profit groups including the following: American Policy Center, Americans for Tax Reform, Association of Concerned Taxpayers, Center for Security Policy, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Consumer Alert, Defenders of Property Rights, Frontiers of Freedom, Heartland Institute, Heritage Foundation, National Center for Policy Analysis, National Center for Public Policy Research, Pacific Research Institute, 60 Plus, Reason Foundation, The Seniors Coalition, Small Business Survival Committee, The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition

An essay for the State of the Climate Report 1998 by Stanley A. Changnon, University of Illinois professor of atmospheric sciences and geography, analyzes insurance and the weather. A recent study he participated in “performed an extensive analysis of temporal fluctuations in severe weather conditions based on two insurance data sets, one for crop insurance and one for property insurance.”

The study found that though there are large regional fluctuations in crop-hail losses,
“No statistically significant long-term trend of decrease or increase in [national] crop-hail loss costs exists.” For weather-caused insured property losses the study found that the increased weather-related losses that have occurred since 1950 “were directly related to population growth.” Other studies have confirmed this result.

The principal finding of the study “was that population (reflecting the changing property target and increasing and increasing sensitivity to damaging storms), frequency and intensity of extra-tropical storms, and annual temperatures explained 98 percent of the historical fluctuations in catastrophes.” Population growth alone accounts for 85 percent of increase in weather-related losses.

UN Readies “Buenos Aires Mandate”

The UN Conference on Trade and Development has developed recommendations for the proposed Buenos Aires Mandate to be completed at the November 1998 climate treaty Conference of the Parties. The UNCTAD plan would provide for voluntary developing country participation in a global emissions trading scheme. The proposals were released at a London forum co-sponsored by the UN Environment Program and the Earth Council, an NGO directed by environmental power broker Maurice Strong.

Among UNCTADs proposals: 

  • Limit developing country emissions growth, but impose no emissions cuts 

  • Allow developing countries to choose different base years  

  • Consider regional groupings of developing countries as one emissions unit, like the “EU bubble” 

(BNA Daily Environment Report, May 7, 1998)

Ashcroft Bill to Block Kyoto Implementation Without Ratification

On April 30, U.S. Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO) introduced a bill to prevent the Clinton Administration from implementing the Kyoto Protocol prior to Senate ratification. The bill, S. 2019, reads in part, “Federal funds shall not be used for rules, regulations, or programs designed to implement, or in contemplation of implementing, the Kyoto Protocol . . . unless or until the Senate has given its advice and consent to ratification.” Sen. Ashcrofts bill also states that “no Federal agency shall have the authority to promulgate regulations to limit the emissions of carbon dioxide.” According to Sen. Ashcroft, “This legislation will protect the American economy, our jobs and incomes, and it will uphold important constitutional values. Having given away far too much to get a bad agreement in Kyoto, the Administration is seeking to put salt into this wound by sneaking the Kyoto terms past the Senate and the public.”

Several groups responded to the proposed legislation. Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute pointed out that the Clinton administration has committed to take unilateral steps to cut emissions independently of a climate treaty. One of the ways that the Administration is surreptitiously implementing the treaty is through “Post Kyoto” conferences for State and local environmental agency officials and air quality regulators that took place in January and April. “Through such networking exercises, the Administration is recruiting pro-Kyoto lobbyists in bureaucratic power centers immune from Senate oversight,” Lewis remarked at the press conference where Sen. Ashcroft released his bill.

The American Farm Bureau Federation also strongly supports the bill. “The Kyoto Protocol is a bad deal for American farmers,” said Minnesota Farm Bureau President Al Christopherson. “It will dramatically increase production costs and reduce net farm income.” Phil Clapp, president of the National Environment Trust, was less complimentary. “New technology and energy savings can only benefit our economy,” Clapp told reporters. Preventing energy efficiency programs “would fly in the face of common sense and prudent government policy,” he said (BNA Daily Environment Report, May 1, 1998).

Clinton Kicks Off Efficiency Crusade

On May 4, President Bill Clinton called for an “American crusade” to stop global warming as he officially kicked off the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH). Joined by actor-environmentalist Ed Begley, Jr. and National Association of Home Builders president Don Martin, Clinton outlined a new program to cut energy use in new homes by 50 percent over the next ten years. It would fund improvements in 15 million existing homes and cut energy costs by 30 percent. “If we achieve that goal, it means by the year 2010 well save consumers $11 billion a year in energy costs, the President said. The PATH project is intended to utilize energy-saving technologies and home designs that would reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs.

The National Association of Homebuilders endorsed PATH, which has already dedicated $70 million in subsidies for the homebuilder industry to encourage research and testing of energy-saving technologies. Clinton has asked that another $100 million for the program for next year as part of the $6.3 billion tax credit and spending plan that will face opposition in Congress (Washington Post, May 5, 1998).

President Clinton used the event, which took place in storm-wracked California, to warn about the potentially catastrophic effects of global warming. “If you liked El Nino for the last several months, you will love the 21st century if we keep on the path we’re on,” he said. For one of the first times, however, the President acknowledged scientific doubt about climate change. “There is virtually unanimous not complete, but virtually unanimous opinion among scientists that the globe is warming at an unacceptably rapid rate.” The President also claimed that “We know that if the climate, in fact, continues to heat up, through the excessive emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, we will have more extreme, dramatic weather events such as those youve experienced so frequently in California in the last few years.”

More on Petition Project Controversy

 In our last issue we reported on the Petition Project, which has garnered the signatures of more than 17,000 scientists opposing the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, and critical news reports on the petition drive. Since then more information has come to light. Writing in Access to Energy (April 1998), Arthur Robinson, President of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, which sponsored the petition, says that of the thousands of petitions returned only 1.4 percent were negative responses. Ninety percent of the negative responses “consisted solely of profanity scrawled across the petition card, usually with the name of the writer removed,” Robinson wrote.

Environmentalists have attacked the review article that accompanied the petition because it is not peer-reviewed. As Robinson points out, however, “review articles are often not peer reviewed at all, since they do not contain original research and do contain complete references to the peer-reviewed literature for all of their data.” Moreover, states Robinson, “the 8-page review was written . . . to communicate the fully referenced facts on both sides of this issue to scientists, so that they could easily locate the information needed to reach their own objective conclusions.” Nothing in the petition mailing indicated that the article had been peer-reviewed or published in any scientific journal.

Robinson also responded to one of his more ardent critics, University of Chicago atmospheric chemist Raymond Pierrehumbert, who is quoted in various news accounts. Pierrehumbert is a prolific contributor to Internet newsgroups where he pontificates on a wide range of subjects, Robinson reported. Based on these postings, Pierrehumbert opposes sports utility vehicles, currently installed refrigeration, incandescent lights, short and medium-distance air travel, nuclear power, strategic defense, logging, private gun ownership, and fuel-bearing transport. Pierrehumbert once wrote: “On balance the U.S. doesn’t produce ANY of the world’s goods. We are a net importer of other peoples goods . . . Therefore, I propose that a large fraction of China’s CO2 emissions should be attributed to the U.S., in the Kyoto discussions. Japan’s too.” A member of the Union of Concerned Scientists “Sound Science Initiative,” Pierrehumbert has argued that cold water evaporates faster than warm water.

Mercury Rising

In what some now view as a never-ending quest to destroy the coal industry, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is once again considering regulating mercury from coal-fired power plants. In mid-April the EPA proposed that all coal-fired power plants measure and report mercury levels on a weekly basis. Some utilities will be required to measure the amount and type of mercury emitted from each smokestack and report on a quarterly basis. Since regulators need statistics to control an activity, this is the first step towards regulation. The most effective way to reduce mercury emissions is to switch from coal to gas. Thus many fear that this is the beginning of the end for the coal industry (The Electricity Daily, April 27, 1998).

Thirty One Nations Ink Kyoto Pact

Representing 38.5 percent of global emissions, the following countries have signed, but not necessarily ratified, the Kyoto Protocol. For the treaty to enter into force, Annex I countries accounting for at least 55 percent of 1990 CO2 emissions must ratify. (Global Climate Coalition)

Antigua Argentina


Austria Britain
Belgium Denmark
Canada France
Finland Greece
Germany Italy
Grenadines Luxembourg
Japan Marshall Islands
Maldives Monaco
Micronesia Norway
Netherlands Saint Lucia
Portugal Samoa
Saint Vincent Spain
Seychelles Switzerland



Dont Bite the Hand That Feeds You

Environmental lobby groups are quick to criticize the private sector for investing in “dirty” industries such as oil refining, coal mining, and auto manufacturing. The same level of scrutiny is not applied to the philanthropic foundations that provide tens of millions of dollars every year to support the environmental lobby, according to independent newsletter The Climate Change Report. Charitable grant-makers such as the Pew Charitable Trusts, the MacArthur Foundation, and the W. Alton Jones Foundation invest heavily in some of the very industries the Green lobby is out to destroy. Their portfolio includes numerous emitters of greenhouse gases, including corporations represented in the Global Climate Coalition.

Pew donated almost $4 million for global warming advocacy last year, yet it also earned $250,000 from $6.6 million in energy-related investments the previous year in companies such as Atlantic Richfield, Phillips Petroleum, Texaco, and Unocal. Pew invested over $1.5 million in auto companies Chrysler and Ford, and $6.7 million in electric utilities.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the sixth largest contributor to environmental causes nationally, profits from investments in the Big Three auto manufacturers plus Exxon, Alcan Aluminum, and Imperial Oil. Likewise W. Alton Jones, which supports Environmental Defense Fund and Ozone Action, invested substantially in Atlantic Richfield and Mobil.

National Environmental Trusts Philip Clapp urged that attention not be focused on his benefactors: “The real issue is what the oil industry is doing.” Ironically, the bull market in blue chip stocks is helping to finance the Green campaign against energy use (The Climate Change Report, April 29, 1998).

Is 20th Century Climate Man Made?

Using a comprehensive compilation of proxy evidence such as sediment, ice core and tree ring data, a new article in the April 27 Nature claims that the 20th century is the warmest in the last 600 years and that the warming is due to manmade greenhouse gases. According to one of the authors, University of Massachusetts at Amherst climatologist Michael E. Mann, “Our conclusion was that the warming of the past few decades appears to be closely tied to emission of greenhouse gases by humans and not any of the natural factors,” while the changes of the previous five centuries examined by the researchers can be attributed to natural factors such as solar radiation and volcanic haze.

Dr. Mann admits, however, “We do have error bars. They are somewhat sizable as one gets farther back in time, and there is reasonable uncertainty in any given year. There is quite a bit of work to be done in reducing these uncertainties.” Others point to additional problems. Dr. Thomas Wigley, a climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, said, “I don’t think we’re ever going to get to the point where [the proxy data is] going to be totally convincing.” Dr. Philip Jones of the University of East Anglia in England, questions the validity of combining proxy data and thermometer data (The New York Times, April 28, 1998).

Several problems with the study have emerged. First, the time period used by the researchers is suspect. They begin their study towards the front end of the Little Ice Age. It is not surprising that the current century is the warmest given that the Little Ice Age ended at the turn of this century. Second, the article puts forward the claim that manmade greenhouse gas emissions best explain the climate change of the 20th century. Other researchers disagree with that conclusion. We reported in our last issue about promising new evidence regarding the influence of solar activity on the earth’s climate. Jasper Kirby of the European particle physics center CERN in Geneva says that “A striking correlation has been observed between global cloud cover and the incident of cosmic rays [which are influenced by changes in sunspot activity]. . . causing estimated changes in global temperatures that are comparable to all the warming attributed to greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution” (Reuters, May 5, 1998).

Precautionary Principle Pitfalls

Many who advocate restricting energy use to prevent global warming concede that there are many uncertainties yet to be resolved with the global warming hypothesis. Yet they insist that we should act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, that it is better to be safe than sorry. Meteorologists have discovered, however, that this precautionary approach is flawed and carries with it dangers of its own. In the late 1980s and early 1990s with the advent of Doppler radar meteorologists felt that they could better predict and track tornadoes. They have increased the percentage of tornado warnings from 44 percent of all twisters in 1992 to 59 percent in 1997 and the lead time between warning and touchdown has also increased form 6.2 minutes in 1992 to 10 minutes in 1997.

There is a downside, however. There has been a massive rise in false alarms. In 1997, of the 2,592 tornado warnings 2,022 of them were false alarms. False alarms for severe thunderstorms, which are considered precursors to tornadoes, reached a whopping 10,475, an increase of 50 percent since 1992. “That’s crying wolf way too often,” according to Joseph Shaefer, a meteorologist at the weather service’s center in Oklahoma. And just like the villagers in The Boy Who Cried Wolf people are tuning out the National Weather Service. People living in tornado prone areas who buy special radios that emit an alarm when a tornado warning is issued have begun to turn the radios off because they are “frustrated by the constant beeping from false alarms.”

The problem, according to Brian Peters, a meteorologist in the Birmingham office of the National Weather Service, is that “We’ve got this wonderful piece of technology giving us lots of information, but we don’t have the ability to interpret it allIt’s not quite reading tea leaves, but it is a close kin.” It is becoming more and more difficult in all scientific fields to determine when a scientist should report potentially worrisome information. Yet Americans continue to “have the attitude that if we have information, we have to act now — even if its meaning isn’t clear,” says Louise Russell an economist at Rutgers University and the author of Educated Guesses: Making Policy About Medical Screening Tests. This would be an apt description of the global warming debate.

Just as with global warming science, meteorologists are learning that what they thought they knew about tornadoes is incorrect. For example, meteorologists believed that mesocyclones resulted in tornadoes 50 percent of the time. So when these disturbances appeared they would issue immediate warnings. They have since discovered that a tornado results only 10 to 20 percent of the time, and even these numbers are very uncertain, says E. DeWayne Mitchell, a meteorologist at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma (The Wall Street Journal, May 5, 1998).

What can we learn from this? That acting on partial information has risks. Global warming is no exception. Restricting energy use based on inadequate knowledge will be costly and may bring us few benefits. Climatologists have said that waiting another 10 to 15 years before acting would make little difference but would give us valuable time to learn more about whether man is warming the planet.


The Competitive Enterprise Institute has produced a book and a highlights video based on The Costs of Kyoto conference held in July 1997. Both the book and the video are available for $15 or buy both for $25. To order call CEI at (202) 331-1010, or e-mail to

Thomas Gale Moore, a member of CEIs board of directors, has written Climate of Fear: Why We Shouldn’t Worry About Global Warming published by the Cato Institute. Call 1-800-767-1241 to order.

The Institute of Economic Affairs in London has published Climate Change: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom. The book can be ordered via e-mail:

The European Science and Environment Forum (ESEF) has published Global Warming: The Continuing Debate. It can be ordered for $25 from CEI or contact ESEF at

Anti-Kyoto Science Petition Tops 17,000 Names

A petition circulated to scientists urging lawmakers to reject the Kyoto Protocol has been signed by over 17,000 individuals including over 2,000 physicists, geophysicists, climatologists, meteorologists, oceanographers and environmental scientists. An additional 4,400, according to the petitions sponsors, are qualified to assess the effects of carbon dioxide upon the Earths plant and animal life and most of the remaining signers have technical training suitable to understanding climate change issues.

The petition letter is a strongly worded statement that goes beyond rejecting the Kyoto Protocol. It denies the existence of any scientific evidence that manmade greenhouse gases will cause catastrophic warming and even goes so far as to say, “increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

Environmentalists are attacking the petition on the grounds that it was distributed with an article that was formatted in a manner that resembles a reprint from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A cover letter from Dr. Frederick Seitz, former president of the National Academy of Sciences, which also accompanied the petition added to the confusion, they claim.

According to Raymond Pierrehumbert, an atmospheric chemist at the University of Chicago and staunch environmental activist, “The mailing is clearly designed to be deceptive by giving people the impression that the article, which is full of half-truths, is a reprint and has passed peer review.” Arthur Robinson, president of the OISM and lead author of the article admits that he used the Proceedings as a model, “but only to put the information in a format that scientists like to read, not to fool people in to thinking it is from a journal” (Science, April 10, 1998). More importantly, the article is formatted in the same style as Robinsons newsletter Access to Energy which he has published for years.

The whole controversy is moot, however, unless one is willing to believe that the thousands climatologists and meteorologists who signed the petition are completely unfamiliar with the scientific literature on global warming and just blindly signed a petition based on one article that arrived by mail.

Ozone Action, the environmental group who did their own petition drive urging lawmakers to accept the Kyoto Protocol that attracted only 2,600 signatures, attacked the petition saying that, “Several members of the scientific community have looked over the signatories listed on the petitions Web site, and they did not recognize a single scientist known for work on climate change” (The Washington Times, April 24, 1998). Yet Ozone Action cried foul when it was pointed out that only about 10 percent of their list of 2,600 scientists had the expertise to qualify them to speak on the issue of attribution. Nearly 100 disciplines, according to Ozone Action, are “aware of the wide-ranging, day-to-day impacts of climate change” (The Washington Times, March 8, 1998). Their list, however, included anthropologists, psychologists, veterinarians, a gynecologist and many who didnt even have advanced degrees.

“Ambitious” Industry Plan Exposed

A front-page story in the New York Times (April 26, 1998) by environmental reporter John Cushman “exposes” a plan by industry opponents of the Kyoto Protocol. According to Cushman, representatives from “big” oil companies, trade associations and conservative think tanks have been drafting an “ambitious proposal to spend millions of dollars to convince the public that a 1992 environmental accord [the Framework Convention on Climate Change] is based on shaky science.”

The memo outlining the plan was acquired by the National Environmental Trust (NET) and leaked to the Times. Phil Clapp, president of NET, says that exposing the plan will probably make it impossible to raise money to carry it out.

Apparently only an “ambitious” industry plan would seek to educate the public about the science (or lack thereof) behind the Kyoto Protocol. NET officials were alarmed that the American Petroleum Institute was planning to distribute “a global climate science information kit to the media which include . . . peer-reviewed articles throwing doubt on the conventional wisdom.”

Its worth remembering that this is the same group which ghost wrote various op-eds for business and government officials at the time of the Kyoto conference, including one for Enron Corporation CEO Kenneth Lay (as reported in our March 18, 1998 issue). Enron produces natural gas. The Kyoto Protocol would hurt Enrons competitors (Detroit News, April 30, 1998).

Portraying legitimate participation in the democratic process by educating the public, media and lawmakers as a sinister plot only suggests that proponents of the Kyoto Protocol are concerned that the scientific case for a treaty is not as strong as they claim.

Third World Participation a Must

A report by the U.S. Department of Energy shows that without participation from developing countries the Kyoto Protocol will do little to slow the buildup of greenhouse gases. Absent third world involvement, carbon dioxide emissions will grow by 32 percent above 1990 levels by 2010, as opposed to 44 percent under business as usual. By 2020 emission will grow by 60 percent above 1990 levels, even if the developed countries fully comply with the treaty.

Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) said this is bad news for the administration. “Its [the Kyoto Protocol] even deader than it was before in the Senate, if thats possible,” he said. “For a 10 percent swing in emissions, the reward is not worth the effort. Why would you do the kind of damage to your economy and competitiveness and national sovereignty, if in fact youre not going to get any results?” Hagel asked.

Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright had announced on April 21 in New York City that the Administration would begin a “full-court press” to gain participation from the developing world. But, says Hagel, Chinas representatives told him at the Kyoto conference that they had no plans to sign the treaty. China and other developing countries even demanded that language allowing for voluntary participation be struck from the treaty (The Washington Times, April 23, 1998).

The same report stated that world emissions of carbon dioxide will rise by 79 percent in 2020 from 1995 levels due to an unexpected 75 percent increase of global energy consumption (Asia Intelligence Wire, April 23, 1998).

Wisconsins Global Warming Plan

Wisconsins Climate Change Committee, composed of representatives from state government, industry, and environmental groups, has agreed upon a broad outline for a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The plan, which was partially funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will rely on reduction of electricity consumption by end-users through energy efficiency measures. It will also improve fuel efficiency and increase use of clean fuel and renewable energy sources. State agencies will purchase fuel efficient and alternative-fuel cars in an attempt to develop markets for these technologies. Those parts of the plan that effect the private sector will be limited to voluntary, no-regrets measures. This is just one of the ways in which the Clinton administration will try to comply with the Kyoto Protocol without Senate ratification (The Climate Change Report, March 30, 1998).

Automobiles Under Attack

A new study by the Environmental Protection Agency calls for tougher auto-emission controls on diesel engines, light trucks and sports utility vehicles by 2004. The study claims that improved catalytic converters and other emission reducing devices are technologically feasible and will add a mere $161 to the costs of each vehicle.

Even though new cars are 97 percent cleaner than their counterparts from 1970, the EPA fears that the increasing number of cars on the road and the move to larger vehicles will lead to an inability to meet national air standards. Auto makers say that the technologies listed in the study will all require very low sulfur levels in gasoline but the study makes no mention of this. Automobile and oil industry representatives argue that reducing sulfur content in gasoline on a national level is very expensive and unnecessary.

Paul G. Billings, and official with the American Lung Association, is pleased with the study. He is disappointed, however, that the EPA did not push for sulfur removal. “EPA needs to stop being a referee between big oil and big auto and become an advocate for big health,” he said.

Charles Kitz, head of environmental planning for Chrysler Corp., says that the auto industry is being “regulated on both sides.” On the on hand the Clinton administration is pressuring the auto makers to curb carbon dioxide emissions pushing the auto makers towards more fuel efficient diesel engines but new restrictions of soot particles called for in the EPA study may “preclude the use of diesels,” Kitz said.

The study says that the EPA may use flexible guidelines such as those used in California that use different guidelines for different classes of vehicles. This says the study will lead to greater technological innovation (Wall Street Journal, April 23, 1998).

Opposition to Emission Trading

In a speech to members of the European Unions Global Legislators Organization For A Balanced Environment, Frank Joshua, a researcher with the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development, criticized the EU for its opposition to emission trading. As of now it looks like the EU will not agree to emission trading at the November meeting in Buenos Aires. If this happens the U.S. will probably try to form a trading bubble with Russia whos emissions have dropped by 30 percent since 1990. Since the Kyoto Protocol only commits Russia to keep its emissions at 1990 levels it will have a lot of excess permits for sale.

The European Commission and environmentalists, however, are arguing that Russia should not be able to trade its permits with the U.S. or any other industrialized country since that would allow countries to meet their targets without domestic action. Peter Jorgensen, environment spokesman for the European Commission has called countries that want emission trading “the guys in black hats” and “immoral” (BNA Daily Environment Report, April 24, 1998).

International News

Japan became the first major industrial nation to sign the Kyoto Protocol on April 28. Japans target is to reduce greenhouse gases 6 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. The European Union followed suit the next day. Its signature commits EU countries to reduce emissions by 8 percent (AP Online, April 29, 1998).

President Clinton and Chilean President Eduardo Frei issued a joint statement on April 16 saying that developing countries “should participate meaningfully in efforts to address climate change, taking on emission targets whenever possible” (BNA Daily Environment Report, April 17, 1998).

The Good Side of El Nio

El Nio has been blamed for just about every negative weather occurrence this year. But it also has many beneficial side effects. “For the most part,” says Chris Landsea, a meteorologist with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “El Nio is a good guy. But we have seen the bad side.”

According to climate experts, every adverse event caused by El Nio brings benefits to another part of the world. Kenyan farmers who produce the araciba coffee bean, for example, have been devastated by heavy rains while Brazilian coffee growers are benefitting from the El Nio induced dry weather. On the other hand, Kenyan growers of macadamia nuts will benefit from a shortage that results from a drought in Hawaii, the worlds leading grower. Meanwhile, Indonesia and Singapores tourist industry is suffering from severe smog conditions that are caused by forest fires exacerbated by drought and Australian vintners are experiencing record harvest of high-quality grapes, all thanks to El Nio (AAP Newsfeed, April 20, 1998).

Patrick Michaels, a climatologist with the University of Virginia, argues that the warmer weather experienced in the U.S. saved energy consumers $5 billion in home heating costs. El Nio also suppressed hurricane activity in the Atlantic Ocean saving as much as $1.25 billion in storm damage costs. Michaels estimates that El Nios total benefits may be as high as $15 billion. Compare this to the $700 million in weather related losses in California and $100 million in tornado related losses in Florida and El Nio doesnt look so bad (State of the Climate Report, 1998).

More Disease or Total Baloney

Paul Reiter is the chief of the entomology section for the Centers of Disease Control’s Dengue Branch and a foremost expert in the field of vector-borne disease. He was recently interviewed for the State of the Climate Report (1998). Here is an excerpt from that interview.

SOC: People are going around glibly stating that dengue fever is spreading because of global warming. What evidence are they citing for their argument?

Reiter: Truly, I challenge you to find anyone who knows anything about dengue who doesn’t laugh at this supposition. There is absolutely no evidence for it whatsoever. The resurgence is quite clearly the result of the resurgence of the vector, the movement of people all over the world, the breakdown of public health services, and the increased urbanization of the tropics.

SOC: A few months ago, Science magazine noted many epidemiologists were complaining that global warming was being blamed for this, though it isn’t the cause. What implications does this have?

Reiter: I ran a symposium of the [2,500 to 3,000 member] American Society of Tropical Medicine, and there was virtually no dissent to the position that this whole business is total baloney. The only dissent I heard were people who came to me afterwards and suggested I might be hurting other people’s grant money.

Climate as a Pedulum

Deep ocean floor sentiments recovered over a two month period in 1995 reveals that the last 1.5 million years has experienced sharp climate changes over short periods of times. Massachusetts Insitute of Technology researcher Maureen Raymo says that if one of the swings experience in the past were to occur today, New England would experience weather like Florida for a 25 year period.

“Ten years ago, we had no idea that climate could change this quickly,” says Raymo. Temperature swings of as much as 10 degrees C within a few decades are not restricted to glacial periods of the last 800,000 years but go back much further in time. The researchers involved in the project state in their April 16 article in Nature that “Our results suggest that much of millennial-scale climate instability may be a pervasive and long-term characteristic of Earths climate rather than just a feature of the strong glacial-interglacial cycles of the past 800,000 years.” Raymo admits that “What causes climate variations on this time scale is a black box for scientists right now” (Electricity Daily, April 21, 1998).


The Competitive Enterprise Institute has produced a book and a highlights video based on The Costs of Kyoto conference held in July 1997. Both the book and the video are available for $15 or buy both for $25. To order call CEI at (202) 331-1010, or e-mail to

Thomas Gale Moore, a member of the Competitive Enterprise Institutes board of directors, has written a book, Climate of Fear: Why We Shouldn’t Worry about Global Warming published by Cato Institute. Ordering details will be forthcoming at Catos website at

The Institute of Economic Affairs in London has published a book, Climate Change: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom. The book can be ordered by contacting IEA by e-mail at

The European Science and Environment Forum (ESEF) has recently published Global Warming: The Continuing Debate. It can be ordered for $25 from CEI or by contacting ESEF at