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April: Global Warming

With the spring weather upon us, conservatives must prepare themselves for the seasonal influx of global warming propaganda. Conservatives must not forget that the debate over the existence, causes, and effects of global warming is far from over.

The earth has experienced both warming and cooling phases in the past – long before the mass production and consumption of the fossil fuels that many claim are the cause of global warming. The last century has even seen small warming and cooling trends within it. Scientists in the 1970's were also warning us about a drastic climate change: an ice age  

Partisan Bickering Marks Al Gore Appearance in Congress For Global Warming Hearing

March 21, 2007

 

WASHINGTON —  In the fiery environment of Capitol Hill, Al Gore pushed for bipartisanship Wednesday to solve what he called a "planetary emergency," while Republicans and Democrats argued over whether the former vice president was receiving special treatment.

In bickering that began with Republican lawmakers complaining about the late hour they received Gore's testimony and extended around the planet to the debate among climatologists and down to the degree to which the polar ice caps are melting in Antarctica, Gore's appearance made for lively debate.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., ranking member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and a leading critic of global warming claims, said Gore has made it an occupation to scare people with the message that "we're all going to die."

Referring to the claim that Antarctica might melt and raise sea levels to wipe out shorelines around the continents, Inhofe said, "This is a good one here, this scares everybody."

Some scientists say the overall ice mass is increasing, Inhofe argued.

Scientists agree that the planet is warming, but disputes remain over the degree to which manmade pollution is causing temperatures to rise and the practicality and cost of regulations aimed to reduce carbon-based pollution. Some Republicans presented a letter from Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, who argued that radical environmentalism is as great a threat to human freedom as was the communism under which he lived when the Soviets ruled his former country of Czechoslovakia.

Gore, calmly responding to the hard-charging Republicans, urged lawmakers to freeze carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. and begin sharp reductions of climate altering greenhouse gases.

Gore said he wants to cut carbon dioxide and other warming gases 90 percent by 2050 and require a ban on new coal-burning power plants that don't meet state-of-the-art carbon standards.

Gore delivered messages from more than 500,000 people saying "Congress must take real action now to stop global warming."

"What we’re facing now is a crisis that is by far the most serious we’ve ever faced. The way we’re going to solve it is by asking you on both sides of the aisle to do what some people have as you know begun to fear that we don’t have the capacity to do anymore," Gore said.

As he spoke, researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced a new system to track carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, to help in projecting future climate change and evaluating efforts to reduce releases of carbon.

Tracking carbon dioxide release and absorption will improve understanding of its impact, said said Richard Spinrad, head of research at the NOAA, noting that one-third of the economy is weather and climate sensitive ranging from agriculture to transportation to insurance and real estate.Inhofe claimed Gore's positions are full of inaccuracies and misleading statements.

After questioning the Oscar winning writer of the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," Inhofe didn't wait for his answers, saying Gore had 30 minutes to speak, and he had 15 minutes of questions.

Inhofe also got into repeated spats with committee chairwoman Barbara Boxer. After complaining that he wanted his 15 minutes, Boxer, D-Calif., held up her gavel and responded: "Elections have consequences. ... You don't still have this. I make the rules."

After an equally combative morning hearing on the House side of Congress, Gore said he wasn't deterred by the skeptics.

"I did enjoy listening to the other side, and I thought a lot of them on both sides made some great points today," Gore told FOX News Radio. "I think that bipartisanship is one of the real goals that we need to shoot for in getting a solution to this, to this climate crisis."

Gore arrived late for that morning hearing after deciding not to sit through Republican opening statements expressing skepticism at the science he uses to warn against global warming.

But when Gore did appear 30 minutes after the start of the hearing, he pushed for government action on his signature issue.

"The planet has a fever. If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor. If the doctor says you need to intervene here, you don’t say, 'Well, I read a science fiction novel that tells me it’s not a problem,'" Gore told House lawmakers. "If the crib’s on fire, you don’t speculate that the baby is flame retardant. You take action."

Knowing Gore's plan to be tardy, Republican members waived their five minutes each for opening statements and saved their comments for the question-and-answer session with Gore.

Prior to the opening statements, however, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, the ranking Republican at the joint hearing held by two subcommittees of the House Committees on Science and Technology and Energy and Commerce, questioned Democratic colleagues over their failure to enforce a rule that requires witnesses to submit their written testimony 48 hours in advance of their appearance.

Republicans received Gore’s testimony at 7 a.m. EDT on Wednesday.

“How are we supposed to prepare questions for our esteemed witness when we are basically given the testimony two hours before he shows up?” Barton asked.

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said he waived the requirement.

Boxer, speaking before Gore's testimony, called it a “silly thing” to debate the timing of his submission of testimony.

“He only submitted about five minutes of testimony because he doesn’t need to read a statement, as others do on this subject, he knows it so well,” Boxer told FOX News.

Boxer said global warming is real and science proves it. She referenced a report released in February by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.N. group, that found a greater than 90 percent probability that humans are responsible for the increase in global warming. The report’s finding hikes its 2001 estimate, which put the probability at 66 percent.

Doubters argue that even if humans have added to global warming, that contribution is only a fraction compared to natural factors beyond human control.

Gore previewed his testimony to Congress by calling for support for the virtues of long-term investing in a socially responsible manner and urging pension-fund executives and trustees to look beyond the impulse to reap immediate gain.

In an unusual move for witnesses, upon arrival at the hearing room in the Rayburn House Office Building, Gore went up to dais and shook hands with Democratic committee leaders, some of whom he served with while a congressman in the 1970s and 1980s.

All the attention given to Gore as as result of his latest successes has raised the chatter about whether he will run for president again. Asked about his ambitions, Gore told FOX News, "I have no plans to run for president again, I don't intend to, and I don't expect to."

Frequently Asked Questions About Global Warming

 

There has never been much doubt that the release of carbon dioxide, a natural constituent of the atmosphere and a byproduct of fossil fuel combustion, has some warming effect on the planet. But the impact of man-made emissions of this greenhouse gas may be minor. The real issues are whether or not the release of carbon dioxide is a significant factor relative to natural temperature variability, what the likely consequences of warming would be, and what should be done about it. To better explain these issues, this paper provides answers to frequently asked questions about global warming.

Q: Is global warming unprecedented?

No. The earth's average temperature has increased over the last 30 years, and many point to this as evidence of a dangerous human-induced warming. But temperatures have risen and fallen many times before that. The Medieval Warm Period (c. 1100-1450) and earlier periods were likely as warm or warmer than the present. The earth was cooling as recently as the period from the 1940s to the 1970s, giving rise to fears of a coming ice age, until temperatures began to increase in the mid-1970s up through the present day. While it is likely that mankind's activities have made a contribution to warming, current temperatures are within the range of natural variability.

Q: Is global warming catastrophic?

Far from it. Given that the current upward trend in temperatures is not unprecedented, it stands to reason that minor warming will not lead to unprecedented catastrophes, and scientific evidence confirms this. According to recent research, the planet and its inhabitants are much more resilient to temperature variability than had been previously assumed, and the warming over the last few decades has not been particularly harmful to humans or the environment. Virtually all of the alarming rhetoric surrounding global warming is speculative and lies outside the scientific consensus. In fact, several respected economists believe that any likely future warming would have benefits (such as increased crop yields) that outweigh the modest adverse impacts in the U.S.

Q: Didn't global warming cause Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters?

No. Natural disasters are just that, and occur with or without global warming. Many activists have tried to link each natural disaster as it occurs—hurricanes, heat waves, droughts, floods, wildfires, crop failures, disease outbreaks, and even snowstorms—to global warming. Although the theoretical link between warming and some natural disasters is plausible, the scientific evidence points away from anything more than a small connection. There is no consistent long-term pattern in the frequency of these events. For example, while Hurricane Katrina was part of a worse-than-average 2005 hurricane season, the 2006 hurricane season was an unusually weak one.

Q: Could the Kyoto Protocol or other measures to fight warming do more harm than good?

Yes. For example, consider hurricanes. Vast amounts could be spent trying to mitigate global warming as an indirect means of reducing future hurricane damage—even though there is no consensus about a global warming–hurricane link. The resources used in this effort would not be available for improvements in warning systems, flood control, building codes, evacuation plans, relief efforts, or anything else that could have actually made a difference with Hurricane Katrina. Also consider the one big success story in Katrina—the million or more people who got into the family car and drove out of harm's way in the days before the storm hit. If Kyoto-style energy restrictions had made automobiles and gasoline prohibitively expensive for some (as is very likely), more people would have been stranded in New Orleans and other coastal cities.

Q: Are we facing 20-foot sea level rise because of global warming?

This is highly unlikely and not part of any scientific consensus. In his book and documentary An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore chose to focus on the catastrophic impacts of an 18 to 20 foot sea level rise, including numerous highly populated coastal areas falling into the sea. The recently released summary of the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, however, estimates a sea level rise of only 7 to 23 inches over the next century, and there are reasons to believe that even that may be overstating things.

Q: Shouldn't we "play it safe" and take tough preventive measures against global warming?

Not necessarily. There are risks to global warming, but there are also risks to global warming policies. Fossil fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas—provide the world with most of its energy. It will be costly to ratchet down emissions from fossil fuels enough to make even a modest dent in the earth's future temperature. The Kyoto Protocol, the multilateral treaty that places a cap on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, will actually accomplish very little. If fully implemented, its energy rationing provisions could cost hundreds of billions of dollars annually but would, according to its proponents, avert only 0.07 degrees Celsius of warming by 2050. The costs of capping carbon dioxide are large and immediate, but the benefits are small and remote. And a poorer world, which Kyoto would give us, would have less ability to deal with whatever challenges the future brings.

Q: Wouldn't the costs of Kyoto fall on industry and not on the public?

The notion that the costs of rationing energy under Kyoto will be borne by a relative handful of corporate fat cats and that the rest of us will get a free ride is mistaken. Any measures strong enough to make a measurable dent in carbon emissions would have a profound effect on the economy and on family budgets. Electric bills and gasoline prices would rise, as well as the cost of most other goods which require energy to make and transport. Manufacturing jobs would likely leave the country in large numbers and go to nations like China that have announced that they will do nothing to cap energy use. At the very least, proponents of Kyoto and similar measures should be up front with the American people about the likely costs.

Q: Don't we owe it to the people in developing nations to save them from global warming?

First and foremost, the developing world needs to develop, not to adopt costly first-world environmental measures that would halt economic progress. The consequences of severe poverty are no less fearful than even the most far-fetched global warming doomsday scenarios. Energy rationing to combat warming would perpetuate poverty by raising energy prices for those who can least afford it. The last thing the 2 billion who currently lack access to electricity or safe drinking water and sanitation need are global warming policies that would place these and other necessities further out of reach.

Q: Isn't the Kyoto Protocol a success in Europe?

No. The European Union nations that have signed onto the Kyoto Protocol—and regularly criticize the U.S. for failing to join them—are falling considerably short of its requirements. Despite the caps on carbon dioxide emissions, nearly every Western European nation has higher carbon emissions today than when the treaty was signed in 1997, and these emissions increases show no signs of leveling off. Compliance with Kyoto's looming 2008–2012 targets will be all but impossible for most of these countries, and many are actually seeing their emissions rising faster than those in the U.S.

Q: Is the U.S. doing nothing about global warming?

No. The current administration has taken a very sensible approach to global warming. Rather than engage in extremely costly efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing sources, the administration has wisely steered clear of carbon caps. Congress has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, nor has it (yet) enacted Kyoto-like programs to ration energy. Instead, Washington has focused on research into new technologies that may be able to produce energy with fewer carbon dioxide emissions in a cost-effective manner. The administration's Climate Change Technology Program Strategic Plan describes the federal government's ongoing research efforts in this regard. And its six-nation Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate is an agreement by which both developed and developing nations can coordinate the creation and deployment of these technologies within the context of continued economic growth and poverty reduction. This approach will lead to economically practical solutions that could be employed if they prove to be necessary, rather than economically ruinous immediate measures imposed whether or not they are needed.

Get the Facts:

What do Americans think about Affirmative Action?

A Time/CNN Poll conducted by Harris Interactive on January 15th and 16th, 2003 asked the following question:

“Do you approve or disapprove of affirmative action admissions programs at colleges and law schools that give racial preferences to minority applicants?”

Approve: 39%

Disapprove: 54%

Not Sure: 7%

Resolved: A majority of Americans do not believe that racial preferences should be made in college admissions.

What do Minorities think about Affirmative Action?

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, himself an African American, has been outspoken against Affirmative Action and has voted in several cases against its use including: Grutter v. Bollinger, 2003 and Gtratz v. Bollinger, 2003                                     

Many other influential African Americans are outspoken against Affirmative Action. Two examples are: Bob Parks (former Republican congressional candidate) and Thomas Sowell (author)

The graduation rate for underrepresented students: (African-American, American Indian, Hispanic) went from 56.1% in 1986 to 69.1% in 1996 (after Proposition 209 had been passed in California which essentially banned many Affirmative Action processes).

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