May/June 2009

Ad Campaign Takes on Global Warming Myths

Ad Campaign Takes on Global Warming Myths

More than 100 climate scientists challenge Obama’s claims

President Obama has said that “few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than fighting climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear.” Many scientists disagree with these supposed “facts,” their certainty, and their interpretation. More than 100 scientists signed a statement, circulated by the Cato Institute, disputing the climate change “consensus.” With the generous financial support of Cato Sponsors, that statement appeared as a full-page ad in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Washington Times, and Los Angeles Times on March 30.

Cato StimulusIn conjunction with the ad, the Cato Institute launched Climate Change Reality (www.cato.org/special/climatechange) to ensure that a fair reading of the climate science and its implications has a home on the internet. The page features news, commentary, and multimedia by Cato environmental policy experts Patrick J. Michaels, Jerry Taylor, and Peter Van Doren, as well as other leading experts. It also features Cato’s latest titles pertaining to climate change and its policy implications, including Climate of Extremes (2009) by Patrick Michaels and Robert Balling Jr. and The Improving State of the World (2007) by Indur Goklany.

A notable feature of the analysis of Cato scholars is that their disagreement is with policymakers pushing onerous new carbon taxes and cap-and-trade systems rather than with the science per se. While pointing out where climate models are inconsistent, or grandiose, Indur Goklany argues that even if such wild projections were accepted, it still doesn’t make economic sense to attempt to tackle low-probability far-off events associated with climate change now—rather than in a future in which the problems are more apparent and civilization is richer and more technologically capable. Unlike other skeptics, senior fellow Patrick J. Michaels admits that there has been a small amount of warming due to man-made emissions, but argues that climate change legislation won’t have any impact on future rates of warming, and represents a vast misallocation of resources. Cato senior fellow Jerry Taylor frequently takes aim at those who make the case for “revenue-neutral” carbon taxes, reminding economists who support such taxes of the public choice considerations that suggest such taxes will not be revenue-neutral at all.

In January, the Cato Institute published a similar full-page ad, this time against the stimulus bill, signed by more than 200 economists and appearing in the nation’s leading dailies (www.cato.org/fiscalreality).