Central to the courts ruling was the claim that NHTSA, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, had ignored the benefits of reducing emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2).
Whatever their legal acumen, Justice Betty Fletcher and her colleagues on the bench demonstrated they have little expertise in climate science. Tighter restrictions on CO2 emissions cannot produce the imagined benefits. Greenhouse gas emissions occur globally: The courts mandate will not measurably curb CO2 levels or global warming.
The court also assumed that human activity is the main cause of global warming. This has yet to be demonstrated by hard evidence.
The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) points to glacial melting, shrinking sea ice, and other consequences of global warming. But such evidence doesnt tell us whether the causes are natural or manmade. Other evidence, such as the claimed correlation between temperature and CO2, is circumstantial; during much of the 20th century the climate was cooling while CO2 levels were rising.
A forthcoming report by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), of which I am the editor, may provide needed balance. An independent organization, not sponsored by the United Nations, national governments, or industry, NIPCCwhich includes many IPCC authors and expert reviewerswas created to provide a second opinion on the IPCCs official findings, much as a physicians diagnosis may warrant a second opinion.
Drawing on peer-reviewed publications in major scientific journals, NIPCC examined the data used in IPCCs May 2007 climate-change assessment, as well as research ignored in the IPCC report or published subsequent to its release. NIPCC concludes that evidence to support public hysteria about human-caused greenhouse warming does not hold up to scrutiny. Among the findings, expected to be published early this spring:
* Human activitiessuch as transportation and industrial productioncontribute little to global warming. The claim that greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for rising global temperatures is based on computer models. But as NIPCC confirms, key temperature readings contradict the models. For example, while all greenhouse models show temperature trends rising with altitude in the tropical tropospherethe lowest portion of the Earths atmosphereweather balloon data show the opposite: a cooling trend. The models are wrong.
* Greenhouse warming has been significantly overestimated. NIPCC has found that the models exaggerate the warming effect of greenhouse gases by ignoring negative feedback fromthat is, the possible cooling effects ofclouds and water vapor. Taking this into account, greenhouse warming might amount to no more than one-half of 1 degree Celsius by 2100, well within the climates normal range of ups and downs.
* The leading cause of observed climate warming appears to be variability of solar emissions and solar magnetic fields. The U.N. panel ignored substantial recent research on the effects of solar activity on climate change. This evidence suggests climate changes are essentially unstoppable and cannot be influenced by controlling CO2 emissions.
* Government efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions will have little effect on the environment. The requirements of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the 2007 Bali Climate Declaration cannot influence the natural factors controlling the climate. Similarly, massive government efforts to replace fossil fuels with ethanol, biodiesel, and wind and solar power will little effect the climate. Besides, they are uneconomic and require large subsidies.
In view of these findings, the Justice Department should appeal the 9th Circuits ruling to the Supreme Court. Doing so would also provide an opportunity for the high court to revisit its April 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPAin which it ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate CO2 as a pollutant.
around, the White House should be better prepared to argue its case. Science
is on its side.
S. Fred Singer, an atmospheric physicist, is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, and former founding Director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service. He is author of Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warmings Unfinished Debate (The Independent Institute, 1997).
Dr. James L. Payne is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and Director of Lytton Research and Analysis and author of numerous books, including A History of Force: Exploring the Worldwide Movement Against Habits of Coercion, Bloodshed, and Mayhem,and he has taught political science at Yale University, Wesleyan University, Johns Hopkins University, and Texas A & M University.
Ernest C. Pasour is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Resource Economics at North Carolina State University, and author of Plowshares & Pork Barrels: The Political Economy of Agriculture (with Randy Rucker) and Agriculture and the State from the Independent Institute.
Randal R. Rucker is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, Professor of Agricultural Economics and Economics at Montana State University, and co-author (with E.C. Pasour, Jr.) of Plowshares & Pork Barrels: The Political Economy of Agriculture.
Charles V. Peña is Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute as well as a senior fellow with the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy, senior fellow with the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute, and an adviser on the Straus Military Reform Project.
William Ratliff is Adjunct Fellow at the Independent Institute, Research Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, and a frequent writer on Chinese and Cuban foreign policies.
Ivan Eland is Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute and Assistant Editor of The Independent Review. Dr. Eland is a graduate of Iowa State University and received an M.B.A. in applied economics and Ph.D. in national security policy from George Washington University. He has been Director of Defense Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, Principal Defense Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office, Evaluator-in-Charge (national security and intelligence) for the U.S. General Accounting Office, and Investigator for the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Full Biography and Recent Publications
Jonathan J. Bean is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, Professor of History at Southern Illinois University, and editor of the forthcoming book, Race and Liberty: The Classical Liberal Tradition of Civil Rights.
Gregory is a Research Analyst at The Independent Institute. He earned
his bachelor's degree in American history from the University of California
at Berkeley and gave the undergraduate history commencement speech in
2003. In addition to his work with the Independent Institute, he regularly
writes for numerous news and commentary web sites, including LewRockwell.com,
Future of Freedom Foundation, and the Rational Review.
Dominick T. Armentano is professor emeritus in economics at the University of Hartford (Connecticut) and a research fellow at The Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif. He is author of Antitrust & Monopoly (Independent Institute, 1998).
Alvaro Vargas Llosa is director of The Center on Global Prosperity at The Independent Institute. He is a native of Peru and received his B.S.C. in international history from the London School of Economics. He is widely published and has lectured on world economic and political issues including at the Mont Pelerin Society, Naumann Foundation (Germany), FAES Foundation (Spain), Brazilian Institute of Business Studies, Fundación Libertad (Argentina), CEDICE Foundation (Venezuela), Florida International University, and the Ecuadorian Chamber of Commerce. He is the author of the Independent Institute books The Che Guevara Myth and Liberty for Latin America. Full biography and recent publications.
Gabriel Roth is a transport and privatization consultant and a research fellow at the Independent Institute, where he is editing a book on private-sector roles in the provision of roads, Street Smart: Competition, Entrepreneurship, and the Future of Roads.
Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at The Independent Institute,
author of Against Leviathan and Crisis and Leviathan, and editor of the
scholarly quarterly journal, The Independent Review. Click
here for a bio on Dr. Higgs, the noted economist and historian.
William Marina is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif., and Professor Emeritus of History at Florida Atlantic University.
T. Beito is a Research Fellow at The Independent Institute, Associate
Professor of History at the University of Alabama, and co-editor of
the book, The
Voluntary City: Choice, Community and Civil Society.
For further information, see the Independent Institutes book on wasteful farm programs, Agriculture and the State: Market Processes and Bureaucracy, by Ernest C. Pasour, Jr.