NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Flawed Model Hides Costs and Exaggerates Benefits of Climate Legislation

November 21, 2014

A new report from Kevin Dayaratna, Nicolas Loris and David Kreutzer of the Heritage Foundation contends the Obama administration has ignored costs while exaggerating the benefits of climate change-related regulation. According to their calculations, the EPA's proposed regulation of greenhouse gases could reduce employment and lower GDP by more than $2.5 trillion over the next two decades.

Dayaratna, Loris and Kreutzer report that White House has misrepresented climate science and the need for expensive carbon regulations. When the U.S. Global Change Research Program issued its National Climate Assessment in May 2014, it claimed that human-caused (anthropogenic) global warming was already having negative effects in the United States, and it warned of increases in sea levels, extreme weather events and temperature. But Dayaratna, Loris and Kreutzer say the report was faulty:

  • The report claimed that there was a 97 percent consensus on anthropogenic global warming. However, that figure says nothing about the amount of warming that scientists believe should be attributed to humans, nor the degree of temperature acceleration or whether temperature increases would be catastrophic.
  • The report's concerns about sea level rise ignore that sea level rise has been slowing. In fact, sea levels have been rising since the end of the ice age but are rising at a much slower rate today.
  • The report's claims of more extreme weather events is at odds even with the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which concluded that the globe was unlikely to see an increase in extreme weather events.
  • Much has been said about melting ice caps, but the amount of global sea ice is actually above average, and Antarctica has record amounts of sea ice.
  • The report ignores more recent studies on how sensitive the climate is to carbon dioxide increases, thereby overstating climate predictions.

The authors cite research from Paul Knappenberger and Pat Michaels demonstrating that EPA climate regulations will only lower warming by 0.02 degrees Celsius by 2100.

Source:  Kevin D. Dayaratna, Nicolas D. Loris and David W. Kreutzer, "The Obama Administration's Climate Agenda: Underestimated Costs and Exaggerated Benefits," Heritage Foundation, November 13, 2014.


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