NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

No Need to Panic about Global Warming

February 2, 2012

In September, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever made waves when he publicly resigned from the American Physical Society (APS).  In an explanatory letter, Giaever focused on the APS's inexplicable belief that the existence of global warming was "incontrovertible."  In so doing, Giaever joined a growing sect of scientists that has doubts about climate change, says an editorial signed by 16 scientists in the Wall Street Journal.

  • Strikingly, data over the course of the last decade shows no evidence that the globe is gradually warming.
  • Further beyond that, in the 22 years since the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warming has consistently been below projections.

The immediate question then becomes apparent: if there is little data to support the global warming claim, why would certain communities of scientists continue to insist on its existence?  The answer is that, though there is little evidence to suggest global warming's impact, many concentrated parties continue to benefit from a public that believes in it:

  • Academic research teams garner public funding to find effective solutions to the global warming "problem."
  • Businesses that specialize in maneuvering complex governmental tax and regulatory structures thrive in those environments while competitors flounder.
  • Nonprofit foundations can pull enormous private support for crusades against a nonexistent global force.

So long as private interests exist that benefit from this deception, and so long as scientists exist who will perpetuate its continuation with little data, this false alarmism will continue.

Furthermore, the costs of this ruse are not isolated to small private interests, but are diffused among the nation at large.  Politicians, who are pressured by the aforementioned private interests, demand costly policy solutions to a non-problem.  However, a recent study of a wide variety of policy options by Yale economist William Nordhaus showed that nearly the highest benefit-to-cost ratio is achieved for a policy that allows 50 more years of economic growth unimpeded by greenhouse gas controls.  This speaks to the lack of compelling data for the existence of global warming or its negative effects on the daily lives of humans.

Source: Claude Allegre et al., "No Need to Panic about Global Warming," Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2012.

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