Greenhouse Gas Reductions: Not Warranted, Not Beneficial

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Increasingly, the debate over climate change is moving from alarmist global climate predictions, to alarmist regional climate predictions-reports purporting to predict the future climate impacts of rising greenhouse gas concentration on specific regions of the Earth, and calling for a laundry list of regulations long-favoured by old-school environmentalists. One of the latest alarmist reports of this nature, Confronting Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region, published by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Ecological Society of America, and bearing the imprint of the David Suzuki Foundation, offers an example of the new local thrust in climate change activism.

Among other dire predictions, the UCS report warns the American Great Lakes states and the province of Ontario of a host of environmental threats including: declining lake levels; loss of lake ice; changes in fish distribution; invasions by non-native fish species; nutrient depletion; changes in run-off patterns; drought; river flooding; wetland shrinkage; depleted food for migrating birds; greater crop growth; more crop pests; increased ozone levels; higher shipping costs; losses of winter recreation; and more. But regional climate modeling of this sort is highly flawed. Despite the assertions of scientific certainty, the evidence supporting claims of extreme man made climate change is limited and mixed. Climate scientists, even those within the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, disagree about the extent of climate change seen in the last 150 years, the cause of that change, and the risk it poses.

While the threat of rapid climate change is certainly one to be taken seriously, it is equally important to be sure that we understand what is really happening with the climate. We must know what the causes of observed changes are before we take actions that will divert scarce resources into potentially fruitless, or even harmful policies that hurt individuals by raising the costs of energy and forcing them into less safe technologies, and hurt societies by reducing their economic freedom and ability to compete in a global setting.

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