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IER's Bradley calls global warming a red herring, warns of "open-ended journey" paved with cash.
There is an even bigger problem for California than the $3 billion alleged cost of meeting the Kyoto Protocol (see "Knocked out by Kyoto Protocol?" Public Utilities Fortnightly, Oct. 1, 1998). Kyoto does virtually nothing to stabilize climate. Thomas Wigley of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (National Science Foundation) had documented that perfect compliance with the Kyoto Protocol would reduce anthropogenic warming by less than 0.1 degree C by 2050 and less than 0.2 degree C by 2100 under all model warming scenarios. This impact, warns Wigley, means that "the influence of the Protocol will be undetectable for many decades."fn1 Regarding a sea level rise from a model-assumed warmer world, Kyoto would be good for about a one-inch reduction by the year 2100, leaving about 17 inches of alleged man-made increase for future Kyotos to address under an activist agenda.fn2
Jerry Mahlman of Princeton's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory told Science last December that "30 Kyotos over the next century" would be needed to control man-made global warming.fn3 This is somewhat exaggerated given the precise calculations of Wigley, but the point is clear. The Kyoto Protocol is not "precautionary" or "buying a little insurance." It is an open-ended journey to an ambiguous destination, the first steps of which are paved with good money. This is why the seemingly moderate message for "early action" on the non-ratified Kyoto Protocol is a bait-and-switch strategy.
Recent scientific developments suggest that global warming is a false alarm, economic and political issues aside. The warming estimates of the general circulation models underscoring the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change (Rio Treaty, now Kyoto Protocol) have been revised downward. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change "best guess" of year 2100 warming from man-made activities has come down nearly 40 percent in five years.fn4 The range of predicted warming has dropped as well. Further declines in the forthcoming IPCC-1999 report may result from several recent developments. One, the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is one-half the rate of growth predicted a decade ago.fn5 Second, the warming power ("radiative forcing") of CO2 appears to be 15 percent less than thought due to a spectroscopy revision.fn6 These discoveries are not surprising given that the revised models are still overestimating the observed surface warming given a 50-percent buildup of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to date. Further downward revision is needed to reconcile theory with observation, including that of satellites and balloons that are not picking up the "greenhouse signal" where it should be the strongest (the lower troposphere).
Evidence also continues to mount that what appears to be a small amount of man-made surface warming is benignly distributed with minimum temperatures increasing more than maximum temperatures.fn7 There is also growing evidence that higher CO2 concentrations are "greening" planet Earth through enhanced photosynthesis and increased water efficiency for biomass.fn8 (This is related to less greenhouse gas buildup in the atmosphere since carbon sinks are growing with carbon sources.) A doubling of CO2 in the