Byline: Patrick J. Michaels, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
While there's been much carping about the pork-laden, recently enacted farm bill, it turns out to be small fry compared to current energy legislation. If passed intact, HR 4, the "Energy Policy Act of 2002," will begin the stealth enactment of the infamous Kyoto Protocol on global warming, wisely canned by President Bush a year ago.
Of particular concern is Title X, which requires industry to "voluntarily" report its total emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. "Require" and "voluntary" can only coexist in the goofy world of Washington, as the reporting of carbon dioxide becomes mandatory for all industry under this bill if 60 percent of the nation's total emissions aren't "voluntarily" reported.
Who's kidding whom? The purpose of Title X is to establish some type of baseline for carbon dioxide emissions so some type of arbitrary "cap" can be legislated. Think of this as a Corporate Average Fuel Economy program for me, thee and everything we own.
This is the deceptive atmosphere that pervades HR 4, which is based upon misleading "findings." If these "facts" are incorrect or incomplete, what does that say about the subsequent regulations? Let's examine just two of the many "findings" in HR 4, and propose some modest, more factual revisions.
Current "Finding No. 1": "The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded ... that most of the warming of the last 50 years is 'attributable to human activities' and that the Earth's average temperature can be expected to rise between 2.5 and 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit this century."
Missing Facts: The Earth's surface temperature has warmed a little more than 1 degree in the last 100 years. Half of that warming took place before humans could have caused it, and an additional 10 percent or so of the more recent warming has been caused by changes in the sun. Most of that recent warming is in the coldest air of winter, as predicted by greenhouse theory. In other words, the total warming caused by people is a shade less than a mere half of a degree.
The U.N. made 245 separate forecasts for the next 100 years, based on different assumptions about energy use. The one that warms more than 10 degrees predicts unprecedented changes in both per-capita emissions of carbon dioxide and the number of people on the planet. Both fly in the face of reality: Carbon dioxide per capita has been basically constant since we started measuring it nearly 50 years ago, and population projections are being scaled down rapidly as the world's economies …