The Heritage Foundation vs. Reality: Global Warming Edition

April 20, 2009 12:54 pm ET

On April 20, 2009, Heritage Foundation contributor Nick Loris wrote a blog post purporting that because public support for global warming preventive measures is falling, the government should rethink its climate change policies.

MYTH: If The Public Believes It, It Must Be True.  

Nick Loris wrote in a Heritage blog post: "Despite the lack of consensus and waning public belief that man-made activity is a significant contributor to global warming and that global warming is a serious belief, some politicians and the federal government still seem willing to enact very costly global warming regulations that will do very little [sic] affect global temperatures."

REALITY: "The Consensus Of Scientific Opinion Is That Earth's Climate Is Being Affected By Human Activities."

Science Magazine reported: "The scientific consensus is clearly expressed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environmental Programme, IPCC's purpose is to evaluate the state of climate science as a basis for informed policy action, primarily on the basis of peer-reviewed and published scientific literature."

Additionally, "in its most recent assessment, IPCC states unequivocally that the consensus of scientific opinion is that Earth's climate is being affected by human activities: 'Human activities ... are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents ... that absorb or scatter radiant energy. ... [M]ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.' IPCC is not alone in its conclusions. In recent years, all major scientific bodies in the United States whose members' expertise bears directly on the matter have issued similar statements." [Science Magazine, 12/3/04; emphasis added]

MYTH: Global Warming Speech "Fear Mongering" And "A Children's Ghost Story."

In the same Heritage blog post, Nick Loris called a recent speech in which Energy Secretary Steven Chu addressed the perils of global warming "fear mongering," adding that "...the most frightening thing about Chu's speech was the condescension with which it was delivered. Using phrases like 'very, very scary' and disappearing islands seem more appropriate to a children's ghost story than a policy discussion."

REALITY: When East Coast Sea Levels Have Risen 12 Inches In The Past Century, There Is Real Cause For Alarm.  According to a report issued by the EPA: "Sea levels on the United States' mid-Atlantic coast are rising faster than the global average because of global warming, threatening the future of coastal communities, the Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday." The EPA also reported that "sea levels along the East Coast rose about a foot over the past century." [Reuters; 1/16/09]