Arkansas Dispatch

by William Yeatman on January 26, 2009

Last week at the state capitol in Little Rock, Arkansas, lawmakers on the Joint Committee on Energy heard expert testimony from scientists and policy experts, including CEI’s Chris Horner, who challenged conventional views on global warming and the real world experience of global warming policies.
Dr. Richard Ford, an environmental economist and member of the Governor’s Commission on Global Warming, had originally requested the hearing. He and several other members of the GCGW opposed some of the recommendations in the Commission’s recently-released policy report. The report recommended that Arkansas lawmakers support a carbon tax, a regional “cap-and-trade” scheme, and renewable energy portfolio mandates for Arkansas utilities.
In his opening remarks, Ford told lawmakers the Commission hadn’t followed the intent of its statutory charter, which required it to “study the scientific data, literature and research on global warming to determine whether global warming is an immediate threat to the citizens in the state of Arkansas.”  He also explained that none of the policy recommendations included a cost-benefit analysis. 
Climatologist Paul Knappenberger and Robert Ferguson, both from the Science and Public Policy Institute, laid out the evidence to show that climate in Arkansas hadn’t changed for over 100 years. Knappenberger specifically challenge GCGW’s policy recommendations claiming that if enacted into law, they would not appreciably reduce greenhouse gases or do anything to stabilize global climate change.
Dr. Roy Spencer, climate scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, presented lawmakers with his technical findings from his work on the NASA’s Aqua satellite, which point to natural—as opposed to man-made— causes of global warming.
In the hearing’s final presentation, Chris Horner reviewed Europe’s experience with cap-and trade. He cautioned lawmakers that its net effect has been to drive jobs off the continent while having little, if any, impact on lowering carbon emissions. In fact, he showed how covered EU emissions actually rose even while economy-wide emissions dipped.
The only audible response from lawmakers during the presentations came when Horner read from e-mails from his former boss, Enron’s CEO, Kenneth Lay, a tireless advocate of a U.S. cap-and-trade system.   Lay, Horner explained, had hoped that now-defunct energy giant could profit from a cap-and-trade scheme once it was up and operational.
After the hearing, one lawmaker commented that he was glad the other side of the science on global warming was given a fair hearing. What isn’t known at this point is how much, if any, of the GCGW’s recommendations will show up in legislation.

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