The Science of Climate Change

What would the Kyoto Protocol do to reduce global temperatures? Not much, according to three leading climate scientists.

Dr. Tom Wigley, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, found that if the Kyoto Protocol were fully implemented by all signatories, it would reduce temperatures by a mere 0.07 degrees Celsius by 2050. This is an amount so small that it cannot be reliably measured by ground-based thermometers.

Dr. Richard Lindzen, an MIT scientist and member of the National Academy of Sciences, who has specialized in climate issues for over 30 years, told the Environment and Public Works Committee on May 2, 2001 that there is a “definitive disconnect between Kyoto and science. Should a catastrophic scenario prove correct, Kyoto will not prevent it. If we view Kyoto as an insurance policy, it is a policy where the premium appears to exceed the potential damages, and where the coverage extends to only a small fraction of the potential damages.” Similarly, Dr. James Hansen of NASA, considered the father of global warming theory, said that the Kyoto Protocol “will have little effect” on global temperature in the 21st century. In a rather stunning follow-up, Hansen said it would take 30 Kyotos to reduce warming to an acceptable level.

Notably, the Climate Stewardship Act, sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman, and cosponsored by Sen. John McCain, would implement Kyoto unilaterally. What would its effect be in reducing global temperatures?