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If stabilization cannot be defined, then it would seem that the targets of climate-change legistion are totally arbitrary (not to mention economically destructive).

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‘Stabilization’ Undefined

If stabilization cannot be defined, then it would seem that the targets of climate-change legistion are totally arbitrary (not to mention economically destructive).

Just what exactly is “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”? And at what level should we “stabilize” greenhouse gas emissions to prevent it? These, of course, are the fundamental questions of the global warming debate.

Not surprisingly, champions of Kyoto and similar energy suppression policies believe they know the answers to both. Indeed, those answers, at least in theory, provide the roadmap–of which the Kyoto Protocol and the McCain-Lieberman climate change bill are part–for averting future catastrophic climate change. “If we can just get to stabilization,” the alarmists chant, “no more droughts, no Biblical flooding, no terrifying heat waves!”

To some, a 50 to 60 percent reduction in global emissions by 2050 (or about 550 parts per million) is sufficient to achieve the goal (Kyoto, notably, achieves a 2 percent reduction). Recently, Margot Wallstrom, the European Union’s Environment Minister, said stabilization would occur with a 70 percent reduction in global emissions by 2050. To others, well, they’re just not sure, positing the answer as somewhere between a “safe” range of 350 ppm and 600 ppm.

FACT: In its December statement titled “Human Impacts on Climate,” the American Geophysical Union effectively defenestrated the idea that stabilization, at least at this point, is knowable or quantifiable. “AGU believes that no single threshold level of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere exists at which the beginning of dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system can be defined.”

To put it mildly, this is devastating to supporters of Kyotoesque “solutions” to global warming. For, if stabilization cannot be defined, then it would seem that targets under Kyoto and McCain-Lieberman are totally arbitrary (not to mention economically destructive and environmentally useless).

Why, for example, do we need to reduce emissions to 2000 levels, or 1990 levels, or to 550 ppm? What is the scientific foundation underlying these targets?

Alarmists ignored this, stressing instead vague statements from the AGU–“Human activities are increasingly altering the Earth’s climate”–in the increasingly desperate attempt to keep climate alarmism alive.

Written By

Mr. Catanzaro is Communications Director for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

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