CO2 Coalition Statement on HB 118 concerning the VA Clean Economy Act
Presented to the Virginia Legislature in support of HB 118 – Repeal the Virginia Clean Economy Act
Climate change and Virginia – Separating fact from fiction
Statement prepared by Gregory Wrightstone; executive director of the CO2 Coalition based in Arlington. He is a geologist and an expert reviewer for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Below is a summary of a paper prepared by a team of respected experts assembled by the CO2 Coalition. This landmark study reviews the scientific basis for the previous administration’s entry in the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA). The paper’s principal author is CO2 Coalition senior fellow, Dr. Patrick Michaels who was former Virginia State Climatologist. This paper has been provided to the committee in its entirety for your review.
Justifications for Virginia to impose increased regulations and taxation on fossil fuels and fossil fuel-generated energy are based on dire warnings of existing and future CO2-driven catastrophes. Within our paper we assess claims of looming disaster that have been used by former-Governor Northam and supporters of the extensive deployment of expensive and unreliable “renewable” energy sources. We show that assertions of current and future harm from emissions of carbon dioxide are unsupported by the facts.
Our finding is that Virginia’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is climatically meaningless, as is the overall VCEA program itself. But the costs and inconvenience imposed by VCEA would be economically very meaningful.
For overall context, I note that both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the World Meteorological Organization acknowledge that weather varies widely and that it is difficult at best to tie storms and the like to human activity. In fact, the meteorological organization says: “(A)ny single event…cannot be attributed to human-induced climate change, given the current status of scientific understanding.”
Rather than increasing as climate alarmists claim, severe weather events have been generally decreasing. In the case of heat waves, there is little dispute that their greatest frequency in both the United States and in Virginia occurred in the 1920s and 1930s. A full 68 percent of all record highs in the state were set in the period 1922 to 1941, and no records have been set in the last 20 years. There is no connection between heat waves and carbon dioxide emissions.
Local changes in sea level relative to shorelines often is increased by land subsidence. In Virginia the rise is amplified by the well-documented isostatic rebound along the eastern seaboard responding to glacial melt at the end of the last ice advance. Land-subsidence rates in the mid- and northeast Atlantic coastal regions are between two and five mm/year, which yields 21st-century sea level rises of 7.8 to 19.7 inches from non-climatic processes that cannot be arrested. However, despite increasing temperatures, there is no acceleration in the actual rise of sea level according to tide-gauge records.
Proponents of interventions like VCEA often raise the specter of agricultural decline driven by carbon dioxide-induced climate change. However, the reality is that Virginia, along with most of the globe, has seen a dramatic increase in crop production over the last several decades. Increased production is consistent with higher levels of carbon dioxide — an essential plant food — and moderate warming, both of which have contributed to an overall greening of Earth.
Using EPA’s own “Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Induced Climate Change”, If Virginia were to eliminate 100% of its carbon dioxide emissions, it would only reduce temperature by 0.0021degrees Celsius by the year 2100 (sensitivity of 2.0), a measurement so small as to be meaningless and well below our ability to even measure. The only thing meaningful about the Virginia Clean Economy Act is that it costs consumers and businesses a lot of money by increasing the price of energy.
Virginia should follow the science and withdraw from VCEA.