Senate GOP criticizes past global warming claims ahead of hearing

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Senate Republicans have released a report undercutting catastrophic predictions made about global warming ahead of a hearing planned by Democrats on the issue.

“Over nearly four decades, numerous predictions have had adequate time to come to fruition, providing an opportunity to analyze and compare them to today’s statistics,” reads the report from Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

The report examines the 15-year break from global warming, sea level rises, extreme weather, and the unilateral regulations proposed by the Obama administration.

“The entire north polar ice cap will be gone in 5 years.” former Vice President Al Gore predicted in December 13, 2008.

However, there has been a pause in global warming for about the past 15 years or so, according to the report, which cites Professor Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

“Attention in the public debate seems to be moving away from the 15-17 year ‘pause’ to the cooling since 2002,” Curry stated in June of this year, adding that, “This period since 2002 is scientifically interesting, since it coincides with the ‘climate shift’ circa 2001/2002 posited by Tsonis and others. This shift and the subsequent slight cooling trend provide a rationale for inferring a slight cooling trend over the next decade or so, rather than a flat trend from the 15 year ‘pause.’”

The Economist reported that “temperatures have not really risen over the past ten years” and that “[o]ver the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat.”

“Since 1998, there has been an unexplained ‘standstill’ in the heating of the Earth’s atmosphere,” BBC News reported last month.

Republicans also noted that the Environmental Protection Agency has yet to provide them with supporting data to back up claims made by President Obama that global temperatures were rising faster than predicted. EPA officials twice dodged attempts to justify the president’s remarks, instead saying that they rely on UN climate data, which Republicans argue violates the  Data Quality Act and the agency’s own internal policy.

“The American public should be deeply troubled to learn that EPA is actively working to increase energy prices based on predicted global temperature increases without first undertaking efforts to determine if temperatures are actually increasing to the extent predicted by the climate models they are using,” reads the report.

The report also addresses dire predictions made about rising sea levels and extreme weather made in the media by politicians and activists.

“The newer analyses that have been done since the [UN climate authority] report came out, indicate that the upper limit for the year 2100 is probably between 1 and 2 meters, and those are the numbers that I now quote, because they are the latest science.” said White House science advisor John Holdren in February 2009.

“Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods — all are now more frequent and intense.” President Obama said in February of this year.

According to the report, data from the National Atmospheric Administration shows that sea level rises from 2005 to 2012 were “on the order of millimeters per year.” Furthermore, the the report argues that sea level has actually been declining.

“When compared to NOAA’s data on sea level rise from 2005-2012, the 1.1 — 1.3 mm/year rate is below the rate from 1954-2003, indicating that the rate of sea level rise continues to decline,” reads the report.

Regarding extreme weather, the report cites the “skeptical environmentalist” Dr. Bjorn Lomborg of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and the Copenhagen Business School.

Lomborg writes: “Historical analysis of wildfires around the world shows that since 1950 their numbers have decreased globally by 15%… The world has not seen a general increase in drought. A study published in Nature in November shows globally that ‘there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.’”

Furthermore, the U.N. Climate Panel found in 2012 that “Some regions of the world have experienced more intense and longer droughts… but in some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia.’”

The report also quotes remarks from Roger Pielke, Jr., environmental studies professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder: “The U.S. is currently experiencing the longest absence of severe landfall hurricanes in over a century—the last Category 3 or stronger storm was Wilma, more than seven years ago… While it’s hardly mentioned in the media, the U.S. is currently in an extended and intense hurricane ‘drought.’”

Republicans also look at how Obama’s plan to target emissions from coal-fired power plants and cap carbon emissions would be undermined as developing nations, such as China and India, ramp up coal production. They also cite studies that say that policies like a carbon tax would hurt the economy.

“Imposing a carbon tax on corporations and private business, which ultimately impacts consumers, is no wiser than unilateral regulation,” reads the report. “Furthermore, there exists zero evidence that carbon trading schemes in the EU, much less the United States, are having any impact on climate nor are they resulting in positive economic impacts or job creation in those regions.”

The report even calls into question the motivations behind the global warming agenda, citing notable activists themselves.

The report quotes former Colorado Democratic Sen. Timothy Wirth stating, “We have got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”

Senate Republicans also point to a statement made in 1988 by the former Canadian Minister of the Environment to the Calgary Herald: “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony…climate change [provides] the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”

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