Morning Bell: What is the Bigger Threat? Global Warming or Global Warming Legislation

Conn Carroll /

Yesterday the White House released a report, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, finding that “[c]limate changes are underway in the United States and are projected to grow.” Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) told The Hill, “The findings released today add urgency to the growing momentum in Congress for legislation that cuts global warming pollution.” Do they really? Is there any evidence in the report that global warming legislation will prevent any of the changes the report identifies? Is there any evidence in the report that the costs of global warming legislation will be offset by its benefits? No and no.

The Obama administration climate report identifies a number of impacts from global warming including “increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level”; “increased heat, pests, water stress, diseases, and weather extremes”; and increased “heat stress, waterborne diseases, poor air quality, extreme weather events, and diseases transmitted by insects and rodents.” These are all bad. But how bad? The report does not put a price tag on any of these maladies. But the report does identify some benefits from global warming including “thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons”, and “earlier snowmelt.” As Manhattan Institute senior fellow Jim Manzi has noted, the U.S. should not expect any net economic damage from global warming before 2100. So the net threat for the United States from global warming over the next 90 years is essentially zero. (more…)