Haynes is an Assembly member representing Riverside and
He serves on the Appropriations and Budget Committees. [go to
Assembly Member Haynes
website at California Assembly][go to Haynes index]
Bunch of Hot Air
State Global Warming Lawsuits...
[Ray Haynes] 12/23/03
Whenever I hear politicians start to whine about global warming,
I get suspicious. Since most of us (at least during an election
year) are not much more than a bunch of hot air anyway, it could
probably be argued that we are more responsible for causing global
warming than you are.
So, when I read that a number of elected attorneys general in
a variety of different states were suing the federal government
to get more regulations over more of our life in order to do
something about the perceived problem of global warming, I got
worried. These attorneys general, in eleven states including
California, have sued the federal government seeking to have
the Environmental Protection Agency enact stringent new rules
on emissions into the atmosphere.
While the suits each vary a bit in details, at their heart they
all seek to force the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.
Another common trait they all share is that they are founded
on shaky science and could cost you your job, or your car, or
any other of a number of the nice things to which you have become
accustomed in this technologically advanced society.
phrase “global warming” first burst onto
the public scene a few years ago, it was based on computer models
of temperature change over the centuries. Scientists thought
that the overall temperature of the Earth was rising and that
this is caused by the so-called greenhouse gases like carbon
dioxide which are being emitted due to human activity such as
driving our cars and operating our factories (once again, excluding
big-mouthed politicians). Self-named environmentalists quickly
embraced these conclusions. But even a first-year computer science
student knows that a computer model is just that – a model.
If faulty data is plugged into the model, faulty results emerge
(garbage in-garbage out). In recent years, more and more scientists
have come to question the assumptions about global warming and
mankind’s role in it – if any – that these
computer models lay out.
work of scientists skeptical about global warming has not disproved
the theory, it has certainly raised enough
questions to make fair-minded public policy experts wary of rushing
headlong into fixing something when we don’t really know
if it needs fixing in the first place. At a minimum, more recent
scientific work shows that assumptions and conclusions on which
these lawsuits are based are questionable and shaky.
What is not shaky is the fact that stiff new regulations such
as those called for in these lawsuits would have an adverse impact
on our economy (and, consequently, your job).
by the Energy Information Administration of global climate
that America’s gross domestic
product – an overall measure of our total national economy – would
be reduced by almost $400 billion by 2010 if such regulation
were to be implemented. That is a lot of jobs for a lot of people.
A similar study by the Heartland Institute found that a national
program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by seven percent below
1990 levels by 2010 would increase gasoline prices by at least
65 cents per gallon, which means if it costs you $150 per month
to drive to work now, it will cost you over $200 per month to
drive to work if the government gets its way.
the big, national numbers. What does it mean for you and your
To answer that question, keep in mind that “adverse
economic impact” is just an economist’s way of saying “job
loss.” This same Heartland Institute study estimated that
2.4 million jobs would be eliminated in America if the type of
wide-spread greenhouse gas emissions control envisioned by the
states’ attorneys general lawsuits were enacted. That,
in turn, translates into an average household income reduction
of $3,372 per year. That is like an increase of $3400 in your
taxes, not to mention the other extra costs you would incur,
all for a questionable theory based on questionable science.
Unfortunately those hurt the most by these proposed regulations
would be senior citizens and low-income families trying to heat
their homes in the winter or cool them in the summer.
adds up to only one thing in my view: These lawsuits rest on
a weak foundation
of questionable law, questionable science
and questionable application of facts. All of us want clean air,
fresh water and a healthy atmosphere for our families to live
in. I would hope that politicians would actually do things that
would help us achieve those things. That would require some politicians,
like our own Attorney General Bill Lockyer, however, to stop
emitting their own greenhouse gases. Maybe we can get the federal
government to regulate their emissions. That would cool off the
atmosphere, and help us achieve some level of peace and security.
It’s also probably too much too hope for.