November 2004

Global warming could cause polar bears to go extinct by the end of the century by eroding the sea ice that sustains them, is the dire warning contained in a new report from an international group of “researchers” called the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment.

Im not quite sure what the future holds for polar bears, but it doesnt appear that any alleged manmade global warming has anything to do with it.

The report, entitled Impacts of a Warming Arctic, pretty much debunks itself on page 23 in the graph labeled, Observed Arctic Temperature, 1900 to Present.

The graph shows that Arctic temperatures fluctuate naturally in regular cycles that are roughly 40 years long. The Arctic seems currently to be undergoing a warming phase similar to one experienced between 1920-1950 which will likely be followed by a cooling phase similar to the one experienced between 1950-1990.

The reports claim that increased manmade emissions of greenhouse gasesare causing Arctic temperatures to rise is debunked by the same graph, which indicates that the near surface Arctic air temperature was higher around 1940 than now, despite all the greenhouse gas emissions since that time.

Also self-debunking is the reports statement, Since the start of the industrial revolution, the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration has increased by about 35 percent and the global average temperature has risen by about 0.6 degrees Centigrade.

So despite all the greenhouse gases emitted by human activity over a period of 200 years were supposed to worry, and even panic, about a measly 0.6 degree Centrigrade rise in average global temperature during that time?

Even if such a slight temperature change could credibly be estimated, it would seem to be well within the natural variation in average global temperature, which in the case of the Arctic, for example, is a range of about 3 degrees Centigrade. Remember, global climate isnt static its always either cooling or warming.

Even though manmade greenhouse gas emissions and warmer temperatures dont seem to be a problem in the Arctic according to their own data, the researchers nevertheless blamed them for causing supposed 15 percent declines in both the average weight of adult polar bears and number of cubs born between 1981 and 1998 in the Hudson Bay region.

The 1999 study in the science journal Arctic that first reported apparent problems among the Hudson Bay polar bear population suggested that their condition may be related to the earlier seasonal break-up of sea ice on western Hudson Bay a phenomenon that seems to correlate with the 1950-1990 Arctic warm-up. But, as mention previously, the 1950-1990 Arctic warming period seems to be part of a natural cycle and not due to manmade emissions of greenhouse gases.

Moreover, the notion of a declining polar bear population doesnt square well available information.

A Canadian Press Newswire story earlier this year reported that, in three Arctic villages, polar bears are so abundant theres a public safety issue. The local polar bear population reportedly increased from about 2,100 in 1997 to as many as 2,600 in 2004. Inuit hunters and international agreements since 1972.

The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report has spurred a new round of calls for a clamp-down on carbon dioxide emissions. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., told the Associated Press that the dire consequences of warming in the Arctic underscore the need for their proposal to require U.S. cuts in emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

Fortunately their call will likely get a chilly response from President Bush, who reiterated through a spokesman last weekend that he continues to oppose the international global warming treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol.

Steven Milloy is the publisher of, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and the author ofJunk Science Judo: Self-Defense Against Health Scares and Scams(Cato Institute, 2001).

On September 24, Californias Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted a plan to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new cars and trucks starting in 2009. To sell cars in California, automakers will have to reduce fleet average GHG emissions by 22 percent in 2012 and 30 percent in 2016. CARBs rulemaking is a raw deal for auto dealers in California and any other state that mimics Californias plan.


Unscientific. To justify its rule, CARB cites the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes (IPCC) scary forecast of a 2.5F to 10.4F warming over the next 100 years. However, the IPCC forecast is junk science. The IPCCs warming estimates presuppose ridiculous economic growth rates in developing countries (i.e., most of the world). For example, even the IPCCs low-end (2.5F) forecast assumes that underachievers like North Korea, Libya, and Argentina grow so rapidly their per capita incomes will surpass U.S. per capita income in 2100! CARBs rule has no credible scientific rationale.


Unlawful. California Assembly Bill 1493, the enabling legislation, directs CARB to achieve maximum feasible emission reductions. However, CARB cannot do so without forcing automakers to increase the average fuel economy of their fleets. Unsurprisingly, CARBs list of recommended GHG-reducing technologies closely matches the National Research Councils inventory of fuel economy-enhancing technologies. Yet the federal Energy Conservation and Policy Act prohibits states from enacting laws or regulations related to fuel economya prohibition necessary to ensure economies of scale and a competitive U.S. auto industry. CARB will surely be challenged in court.


Unaffordable. AB 1493 also stipulates that CARBs plan must be cost effective. CARB claims that fuel savings from the technologies automakers deploy to reduce emissions will substantially exceed the increase in vehicle sticker price. Of course, this is a tacit confession that the rule is a de facto fuel economy program.


Sierra Research, Inc., in a report written for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, finds multiple problems in CARBs cost-effectiveness calculation. CARB inflated vehicle costs in the 2009 baseline (no regulation) case by assuming general adoption of expensive technologies such as 5- and 6-speed automatic transmissions. CARB knocked down by 30 percent its own contract researchers cost estimates based on nothing more specific than staffs experience and the potential for unforeseen innovations. CARB assumed that consumers benefit from fuel savings years after most cars are sold or scrapped.


Whereas CARB projects a net lifetime consumer saving of $1,703, Sierra estimates a net loss of $3,357. The rule will reduce vehicle sales and put the brakes on the chief source of air quality improvementreplacement of older vehicles with newer, cleaner models. CARBs rule is bad for the environment!


Raw Deal. If implemented, CARBs plan will hammer California auto dealers. The rule applies to automakers, not auto owners or operators. Unless CARB is prepared to build a wall around California, it cannot stop people from importing less regulated, more affordable cars from out of state.


Dealers elsewhere would be unwise to celebrate, however, because California is a trend setter. Any state that adopts Californias rule (seven Northeast states may do so) will similarly hobble its auto dealerships.    


Marlo Lewis

Senior Fellow, Environmental Policy

Competitive Enterprise Institute, Washington, D.C

Tony Blair is, in a way, as polarizing a figure in the United Kingdom as President George W. Bush is in the United Stateswith one crucial difference.  While President Bush has his Republican critics, he incurs nothing like the venomous hatred hurled at Blair from the left wing of his own Labor Party, a party he has led to successive landslide election victories.


Americans may be about to see why. Blair, having been the president’s chief ally in Iraq, may soon become his chief antagonist over the issue of climate changeand his likely tactics will cause his supposed friends no end of pain.


The Labor left wing’s disdain for Blair is based as much on style as on policy — a style of which Americans would be wise to be wary.


Blair’s world view has been described as “messianic.”  After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he became convinced that the world needed to change for the better, by force if necessary.  In an extraordinary and in many ways brilliant speech to his party conference in October 2001which he wrote himselfthe prime minister sang the virtues of liberal interventionism. He praised intervention in Kosovo and Sierra Leone, regretted inaction in Rwanda, and warned against letting crises in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe to go unabated. 


No objections or other considerations may interfere when Blair is in messianic mode.  Consider his support of President Bush’s plans to liberate Iraq.  It was for Blair, quite simply, the right thing to do. But now reports from various government inquiries show that Blair’s office ignored or overrode legitimate questions over the quality of the intelligence he was receiving. The prime minister, having convinced himself that Saddam Hussein not only possessed weapons of mass destruction, argued that Saddam was capable of launching them against British interests at a mere 45 minutes’ notice.  It was on the basis of this questionable claimthat Saddam was an imminent threat, as opposed to the American contention that Saddam should be disarmed before he became an imminent threatthat the British Parliament backed the use of military force in Iraq.


Similar things have happened with Blair’s domestic policies. The Blair government, convinced that the House of Lords was an unjustifiable anachronism, decided that the revered old institution had to go. The government ignored the peers’ principled objections, and only a last-minute compromise kept 1,000 years’ worth of history and tradition from being swept away. Recently, Blair decided to ban foxhunting as uncivilized, despite the almost unanimous opposition from country dwellers that led to the largest anti-government demonstration in British history.


The latest target of the prime minister’s messianic gaze is climate change.  He has been convinced by his chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, a chemist by training, that global warming is the greatest long-term danger facing the planet. Blair has announced that, along with Africa, global warming will be the focus of Britain‘s presiding roles over the Group of Eight (G8) and European Union this year. As with the Iraqi intelligence, the Blair government has ignored troublesome but legitimate questions in making this decision.


During his visit to Washington this week, the prime minister will likely strongly pressure the president to acknowledge the supposed problem of global warming and to commit America to do something about it beyond current policies. He has already committed Britain to reducing greenhouse gas emissions well below the targets demanded by the Kyoto Protocol, despite the fact that independent experts say his vision of a hydrogen economy will require covering an area the size of Wales in wind turbines. What he will demand of America is anyone’s guess; in his recent speech, he stopped short of calling on the United States to ratify Kyoto, but Russia‘s politically motivated ratification of the treaty may breathe new life into that futile process.


Blair will certainly pitch this in moral terms, deploying the sermonizing style that led satirical magazine Private Eye to portray him as a busybody Anglican priest. Blair probably won’t refer directly to Americans’ sinful love of “unhealthy” fast food and gas-guzzling SUVs, but he will likely seek to make Americans feel guilty for consuming a quarter of the world’s resources while having such a small fraction of the world’s population (an argument his close Parliamentary ally Stephen Byers uses frequently).


Such moral hectoring must be met with moral arguments. When Blair asks America to restrict its greenhouse gas emissions, American policy makers should respond that he is calling for more unemployment, higher heating prices for the elderly and reduced aid to developing countriesand that he is calling for all of this on the basis of projections that have little basis in reality.  In the run up to the Iraq war, Blair’s anti-war critics accused his government of “sexing up” its findings on Iraq to increase their impacta criticism that seems even more apt to describe Sir David King’s alarmist pronouncements that global warming is worse than terrorism.


While recognizing the immense value of Tony Blair’s support in the war on terror, the newly re-elected Bush administration should respond resolutely to any attempts to get the United States to change course on climate policy. This will require a firm diplomatic hand and a steadfast refusal to compromise settled policy. In short, the administration should act just like Blair in rebuffing his global warming entreaties.

[Full study available as a pdf.]



Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) likens his push for another vote on the Climate Stewardship Act (S. 139), which the Senate rejected 55 to 43 in October of last year, to his seven-year crusade to limit campaign fundraising and political advertising: Its an old strategy of mine, he said. Force votes on the issues. Ultimately, we will win. [[i]] Or, ultimately, he will lose. But this much is undeniable: McCain, chief co-sponsor Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), and their advocacy group allies are on offense. They aggressively seek opportunities to publicize their message, expand their support base, and advance their agenda.


The same aggressive approach characterizes the climate alarmist camp generally. At home and abroad, in courts and legislatures, in the media and regulatory bodies, alarmists are on the attack:


         Environmental activist groups endlessly lambaste President Bush for withdrawing the United States from the Kyoto global warming treaty. [[ii]]

         The British Governments Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir David King, in an attempt to influence U.S. policy, called climate change the most severe problem that we are facing todaymore serious even than the threat of terrorism. [[iii]]

         European Union politicians relentlessly pressed Russian leaders to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. [[iv]]

         Twelve state attorneys general (AGs), 14 advocacy groups, and three cities are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for rejecting a petition to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from motor vehicles. [[v]]

         State legislators introduced at least 60 bills in 2004 proposing some form of CO2 regulation. [[vi]]

         New York Governor George Pataki and nine other Northeastern governors plan to cap CO2 emissions from their states electric power sector. [[vii]]

         Six New England governors formed a compact with five Eastern Canadian Premiers to reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2010 and 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. [[viii]]  

         The California Air Resources Board approved its plan to implement AB 1493, a state law mandating maximum feasible reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles. [[ix]]

         The AGs of seven states plus the New York City corporation counsel are suing Americas five largest electric power producers to require each company to cap its CO2 emissions and then reduce them by a specified percentage annually for at least a decade. [[x]]

         The National Academy of Sciences published a study predicting apocalyptic climate impacts in California, such as an 8.3C (14.1F) increase in average summertime temperatures by 2100, unless urgent action is taken to reduce emissions. [[xi]] The NAS published the study even though its dire forecasts derive from discredited emissions scenarios [[xii]] and a climate model (the U.K. Met office Hadley Centre model) found to be incapable of replicating past U.S. temperature trends regardless of the averaging period used (five-year, 10-year, or 25-year). [[xiii]]

         The Sydney Centre for International and Global Law published a report arguing that Australia has a legal obligation, under the 1972 World Heritage Convention, to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and, indeed, to cut greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. [[xiv]]


Despite this surge of activism, alarmists have scored few if any victories at the national level:


         Senate leaders kept climate language out of the Senate energy bill. [[xv]]

         As already noted, the Senate rejected the McCain-Lieberman bill. Despite pro-Kyoto activists high-profile efforts to depict President Bush as an environmental criminal, [[xvi]] the environment was not a key issue in the November 2004 elections, and the Senate lost four supporters of McCain-LiebermanTom Daschle (D-SD), John Edwards (D-NC), Bob Graham (D-Fla.), and Ernest Hollings (D-SC). In the House, legislation of the McCain-Lieberman variety has no chance of passing or even of coming to a vote.

         Kyoto remains in such disfavor with most Americans that the Democratic Partys 2004 platformin sharp contrast to the partys 2000 platformdid not even mention the climate treaty negotiated by former standard-bearer Al Gore.


         The Bush Administration backed away from its proposal to award Kyoto-type emission credits to companies registering voluntary greenhouse gas emission reductions. [[xvii]]

         When EPA rejected the petition to regulate CO2 emissions from motor vehicles, it also disavowed, as no longer representing the agencys views, statements by Clinton administration officials claiming authority under the Clean Air Act to adopt regulatory climate policies. [[xviii]]


Supporters of pro-growth energy policy have, in short, done a reasonably good job of fending off several major thrusts by climate alarmists during the past 18 months. However, in politics, as in war, staying permanently on defense rarely leads to victory. A purely defensive posture cedes the initiative to ones opponents, allowing the other team to generate the headlines, capture the public imagination, and frame the terms of debate.


The battle over climate policy is a protracted struggle. To win it, the friends of economic liberty, scientific inquiry, and affordable energy must advance their own vision and compel alarmists to react to it. Taking a leaf out of McCains playbook, they should introduce their own Sense of Congress resolution on climate change, recruit co-sponsors, and force votes on the bill, year after year, until it passes.


What kinds of information and ideas should a sensible climate bill include? Read on.



[i] McCain/Lieberman still fighting for climate amendment floor time, Energy & Environment Daily, July 7, 2004.

[ii] In reality, Bush did no such thing. The United States continues to send official representatives to the Kyoto negotiations, and the President has not renounced Americas signature on the treaty.

[iii] King, D. A. 2004. Climate Change Science: Adapt, Mitigate, Ignore?  Science 303: 176-177.

[iv] Brian Stempeck, Pressure to ratify Kyoto is undeclared war against Russia, official says, Greenwire, July 19, 2004.

[v] Brian Stempeck, Attorneys general outline argument in major CO2 litigation, Greenwire, June 23, 2004.

[vi] American Legislative Exchange Council, Sons of Kyoto: 2004 Summary of Greenhouse Gas Legislation in the States, June 2, 2004.

[vii] States take independent action on clean air plans, Greenwire, July 8, 2004.

[viii] New England Governors/Eastern Canadian Premiers, Climate Change Action Plan 2001, August 2001,

[ix] California Air Resources Board, Climate Change, September 24, 2004, 

[x] Brian Stempeck, States lawsuit demands utilities reduce CO2 emissions 3 percent per year, Greenwire, July 22, 2004.

[xi] Hayhoe, K., et al. 2004. Emissions pathways, climate change, and impacts on California. PNAS   vol. 101, no. 34: 12422-12427.

[xii] See finding (17).

[xiii] Testimony of Patrick Michaels, The U.S. National Climate Change Assessment: Do the Climate Models Project a Useful Picture of Regional Climate? House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, July 25, 2002.

[xiv] Sydney Centre for International and Global Law, Global Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef: Australias Obligations under the World Heritage Convention, September 21, 2004,

[xv] Darren Samuelsohn, Domenici drops climate change title until floor debate, Energy & Environment Daily, April 10, 2003.

[xvi] Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and his Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Democracy (New York: HarperCollins, 2004).

[xvii] Marty Coyne, Bush administration backs away from GHG credits, Greenwire, December 3, 2003.

[xviii] Memorandum of Robert E. Frabricant, General Counsel, to Marianne L. Horinko, Acting Administrator, EPAs Authority to Impose Mandatory Controls to Address Global Climate Change under the Clean Air Act, August 28, 2003.

For the third time in a month and fifth time in just over two years, media are breathless with Russia‘s purported ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. 

While this act seems likely to ultimately consummate as soon even as next spring, Russia continues to withhold what is in fact the only relevant step in determining whether it ratifies the “global warming” treaty covering about 35 countries.

That step is submission of Russia‘s instrument of ratification to the United Nations’ office in Bonn, which is the sole Russian act which can bring the treaty in effect.  Recently, “ratification” has been hailed with each internally meaningful, but internationally meaningless, individual step of Putin “approving” the 1997 treaty, the Duma voting in favor, the Federal Council voting in favor, and Putin signing the voted-upon act.  Previously, even passing comments prompted news articles declaring Kyoto‘s birth (e.g., August 2002).

Very soon all expect Russia to submit its ratification, an event which will prompt another in a series of increasingly self-parodying news articles declaring Kyoto in effect.  This will be followed by an identical spate of stories changing only minor details, 90 days later (according to the treaty’s terms), hailing for (it is hoped) the final time that Russia has brought the ailing treaty into effect.

At that point, however, Europe must face what it has created:  a selective treaty with which only 2 of the EU-15 will comply, leaving all EU countries by the agreement’s terms to fend for their own commitment or face sanction.  Given that certain countries, e.g., Spain, are so far over their agreed ration that compliance is beyond fantastic, this will likely prompt a collision between the cities Kyoto and Lisbon

Both agreements bearing these names have remained fictional, though one is about to at minimum come into force while the other appears ever smaller in the rear view mirror of the EU’s rather sputtering economic vehicle.

Negotiations over certain Kyoto details resume in Buenos Aires in December, though the first formal “Meeting of the Parties”at which the details of what exactly has been “agreed” are to be hammered outwill not occur until approximately one year later.

Even the BBC now acknowledges Russia‘s apparent agreement was in return for EU acquiescence to Russia‘s WTO membership (  The U.S. made clearas did both of its major candidates for presidentthat Kyoto is not the answer and that, having refused to ratify Kyoto, it is now certain to continue on its own path of reducing “greenhouse gas intensity”.

With the EU out of compliance, amid continued Russian expressions of concern over what energy emission rationing will do to its recovering economy, and the bulk of the world’s countriesand emissionsremaining happily and steadfastly exempt, the idea of Kyoto as written succeeding even if it goes into effect seems a pipe dream.

These realities make upcoming Kyoto negotiations important, but the real game is now how the EU addresses both its conflict between Kyoto promises and Lisbon‘s failure, and how it will address most of the world rejecting Kyoto‘s restrictions.

Many of the scientific papers that have contributed to global warming alarmism over recent weeks (such as the study that predicted the ruin of Californias wine industry or the more recent study predicting stronger hurricanes by 2080) have depended on models that assume atmospheric increases of carbon dioxide concentrations by one percent per year from 1990 to the end of the century.

This assumption is not backed up by the evidence, which has seen concentration increase by only 0.4 percent per year since 1990. University of Virginia climatologist Patrick Michaels drew attention to this problem in a Cato Institute op-ed published on October 6 (“Debunking the Latest Hurricane Hype,” available at

He commented, “Because carbon dioxide increases have been bouncing around four-tenths of a percent per year for three decades, why do climate modelers insist on using the wrong number? It seems peculiar that people who have the equivalent of doctorates in applied physics (which is what climate science is) would somehow be perfectly happy to do something they know is wrong.

“I began asking that question at scientific meetings a decade ago. At that time, I asked Kevin Trenberth, a highly visible atmospheric scientist from the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, who often testifies to Congress on climate issues. He told me it was done because it was convention. That answer doesnt set well with me, because its awfully easy to program a computer to increase a variable by half a percent instead of 1 percent per year.

“That leads to the final, nagging question. There are literally hundreds of scientific papers out there in which climate models use this wrong number. Each of those papers gets sent to three outside peer-reviewers. The fact that 1 percent continues to be used only means one thing: when it comes to global warming, hundreds of scientists must prefer convention to truth.”