TCS Daily

Bush right to oppose treaty

By Sallie Baliunas - July 25, 2001 12:00 AM

President Bush, by standing against the Kyoto Protocol, stands by sound economics and, even more, by sound science. Faced with withering European criticism for rejecting the flawed protocol, Bush can find comfort in admissions by Clinton administration economists and in scientific reports.

Economists who worked for President Clinton admitted they low-balled the cost of the Kyoto Protocol to the U.S. economy. That reinforces Bush's contention that the treaty would hurt America's economy, and by extension, the world's poor.

The National Academy of Sciences' latest report underscores the unsettled nature of climate science. Repeatedly, it highlights the shortcomings of the computer simulations that forecast climate, the assumptions used to calculate climate change and even the way global temperatures are measured.

Global surface temperatures have increased about 1-degree Fahrenheit this past century. But that warming seems a natural recovery from the Little Ice Age of the 14th-19th centuries.

The surface temperature rose sharply between 1900 and 1940, before human actions contributed much carbon dioxide to the air. Then temperatures dropped until the 1970s, leading some scientists to forecast a new Ice Age. By decade's end, surface temperatures began rising again. But by 1979, satellites started to get the most precise temperatures for the lowest layer of air. That superior record shows no significant warming trend, as forecast by the computers. According to those computer models, both the surface and the lower atmosphere must warm to attribute warming to humans.

The basis for Kyoto is that fossil-fuel emissions, particularly carbon dioxide, caused recent surface warming. Yet advances during the past decade show such fears are exaggerated.

Even the inflated forecasts say that at best the Kyoto Protocol would accomplish an insignificant reduction in CO2 and a cooling of less than 0.5-degree Fahrenheit by the 22nd century.

So Bush has plotted the wisest course: more research to define the impact of human-made warming, which appears to be inconsequential. By standing firm, Bush can lead the world toward sound science and solutions that make more sense than the fatally flawed Kyoto Protocol.


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