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Isolationist Republicans Don’t Believe in American Leadership

May 7th, 2009 · 1 Comment

The Minority Staff of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce has distributed a “dear colleague” letter from anti-science syndrome suffering Joe Barton arguing, based on this MasterResource analysis, that the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act would only reduced Global Warming by .09 degree Fahrenheit by 2050. Let us assume, graciously, that the analysis is 100 percent correct, that the modeling and full analysis is accurately done and would stand up to the sort of analytical scrutiny that I (for one) am unable to give it today. What is impressive about the Dear Colleague letter is the sentences from that blog post that were not included in the letter:

No matter what you try, altering only U.S. emissions will produce unsatisfying results if you seek to save the world by altering its climate.

Why does it matter? See that “only”? In other words, US action independent of world activity and movement by other nations will not be enough to stem global warming. It is, after all, Global Warming, not United States of America Warming.

Again, graciously, let us grant this blog analysis 100 percent accuracy. The United States, however, is only part of the world community. If the rest of the world continues a reckless endangerment BAU (Business As Usual) path, than there is only a .09 F reduction of global warming.

What happens if the United States isn’t a lone actor, if America takes a leadership role in world events.

The same blogger did take this next step. Rather than .09 F, what did they find in their analysis of global efforts?

If the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, Europe, and former Soviet countries all limited their emissions of greenhouse gases … avoid only a bit more than one-half of a °C of projected global warming (out of 4.5°C—or only about 10%)

Note the shift from F to C. That “only a bit more than one-half of a °C” translates into more than .9 degress F, or over 10 times the impact of the United States being the sole actor to pursue a clean energy future.

With all of the economic, security, and other benefits of pursuing a clean and efficient energy path, it does not seem likely that the US will be only nation to head down this path … even without considering the pesky little problem of climate change.

And, that is considering just the already developed world, without taking into account the developing world, where the majority of BAU growth in GHG (and other) pollution is expected to occur.

To make any significant in-roads to lowering the rate (and thus final magnitude) of projected global temperature rise, the bulk of the emissions reduction needs to come from other parts of the world, primarily Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East.

Actually, to be clear, it is not the bulk in emissions reductions from current levels, but reductions from projected levels. Thus, there is agreement: we (writ large We) must have an understanding that the United States is not a lone wolf, that this is Global Warming, and that the United Staets cannot act alone — but must work as part of, and lead, the world community toward a prosperous, climate-friendly energy system.

Now, “Master Resource” is a “free-market energy blog”, filled with climate skeptics and doubters. They are not, it seems, interested in taking action to mute climate change. Even with that perspective, they show that US action, combined with US leadership, can have tangible results at reducing Global Warming through this century, muting (reducing) the peak impacts and creating a path for rolling back Global Warming’s rising tides.

UPDATED: For another, more detailed perspective, see the Union of Concerned Scientists UCS Climate Bill Opponents Continue to Peddle Misinformation

Rep. Barton conveniently failed to cite the second part of the analysis, which indicates that global action would significantly reduce global warming, and that global temperatures would stabilize at approximately 2 degrees Fahrenheit above today’s average global temperature. According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, keeping the average global temperature increase at 2 degrees F or less likely would avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

… The scenario cited by Rep. Barton unrealistically assumes that no other countries would take action to address climate change and that clean technology deployed in the United States would have no impact on the rest of the world. In reality, many nations would benefit from U.S. innovation and would leapfrog toward cleaner technology, according to UCS. Additionally, if the United States acts, other countries are much more likely to make their own emissions reductions and are more likely to sign on to the next round of an international climate treaty.

Now, to provide perspective on the source of the material:

Rep. Barton’s misinformation comes from, a Web site run by Roger Donway, a senior research fellow at the Institute for Energy Research (IER). IER is the research wing of the American Energy Alliance (AEA), which has taken out ads spreading false information about the cost of climate and energy legislation.

The AEA ads misstate the findings of an MIT study that estimates the amount of money the government could raise from polluters by auctioning emissions allowances under a cap-and-trade system. Congressional opponents and AEA deliberately mischaracterize the revenues raised as a “tax on households.” John Reilly, a co-author of the MIT study, sent a letter to members of Congress asking them to stop misuing his analysis. Instead, opponents are now citing a discredited Weekly Standard article to continue to mischaracterize the MIT analysis.

Joe Romm at Climate Progress, Rep. Barton and other science deniers say the only way to stop a global pandemic is if everyone does nothing

Global warming deniers like Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) have long opposed U.S. participation in collective international action on global warming. And yet they have the chutzpah to now offer this absurd argument for why this country should do nothing to prevent catastrophic global warming: If we act by ourselves, it won’t solve the problem!

Romm continues with a brilliant analogy to handling of pandemic disease outbreaks.

The Dear Colleague note

Waxman-Markey Will Reduce Global Temperatures by only a Fraction of a Degree
From: The Committee on Energy and Commerce – Minority Staff
Sent By: [S Costello]
Date: 5/7/2009

Dear Colleague,

I would like to draw your attention to a recent analysis of the actual climate benefits of Waxman-Markey. According to the analysis, should the American people be forced to accept the crippling emission reduction requirement of 83 percent by 2050, our citizens and people around the world can expect to see a reduction in the projected 2050 temperature of approximately nine hundredths, or 0.09, of a degree. Putting aside momentarily the vigorous debate about the reliability of IPCC’s predictions, as well as the fact that the Earth has actually been cooling for the last 7 or 8 years, [NOTE: This is not a fact, but a distortion and, well, lie. ] this does not seem like much of a benefit. ! In exchange, the American people will be forced to pay the Federal Government hundreds of billions of dollars. [NOTE: There are many other benefits in this equation, from improved health due to reduced emissions, clean energy employment, etc …] Given the huge price tag for the taxpayer, the cost to our economy, and the negligible effects on the climate, it’s hard to imagine Waxman-Markey can stand up to any cost-benefit analysis. [NOTE: Well, Joe, if all you do is look at “cost” without considering any “benefit” than temperature impacts of isolated US action, they sure, guess that is the case with your “analysis”. It is, after all, There are Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics and Analyses from Anti-Science Suffering Global Warming Deniers.]



Joe Barton

Analysis: Climate Bill is ‘Scientifically Meaningless’ – Temp Reduction By 2050 of Only 9/100 of one Degree F – Avoids only 5 years’ worth of warming by 2100!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009By Marc Morano [NOTE: The favored publicist of global warming denial rears his head.]

For Master Resource’s complete May 6, 2009 scientific analysis see: “Climate Impacts of Waxman-Markey (the IPCC-based arithmetic of no gain)”

Key Master Resource Excerpts: Mr. Chip Knappenberger finds that in the year 2050 with a 83% emissions reduction (the aspirational goal of Waxman-Markey, the beginning steps of which are under vigorous debate), the temperature reduction is nine hundredths of one degree Fahrenheit, or two years of avoided warming. A more realistic climate bill would be a fraction of this amount. […]

No matter how the economic and regulatory issues shake out, the bill will have virtually no impact on the future course of the earth’s climate. And this is even in its current “pure” form, without the inevitable watering down to come. […]

By the year 2050, the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill would result in a global temperature “savings” of about 0.05ºC regardless of the IPCC scenario used—this is equivalent to about 2 years’ worth of warming. By the year 2100, the emissions pathways become clearly distinguishable, and so to do the impacts of Waxman-Markey. Assuming the IPCC mid-range scenario (A1B) Waxman-Markey would result in a projected temperature rise of 2.847ºC, instead of 2.959ºC rise— a mere 0.112ºC temperature “savings.”

Under the IPCC’s high-emissions scenario, instead of a projected rise of 4.414ºC, Waxman-Markey limits the rise to 4.219ºC—a “savings” of 0.195ºC. In either case, this works out to about 5 years’ worth of warming. In other words, a full implementation and adherence to the emissions restrictions provisions described by the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill would result only in setting back the projected rise in global temperatures by a few years—a scientifically meaningless prospect.

For Master Resource’s complete May 6, 2009 scientific [NOTE: Wow, “scientific”. That’s convinced me, Marc.] analysis see: “Climate Impacts of Waxman-Markey (the IPCC-based arithmetic of no gain)”

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Tags: analysis · climate change · republican party · truthiness

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  • 1 Twitted by ClimaTweets // May 7, 2009 at 8:01 pm

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