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August 2001 Rant

"Global Warming Costs"

It's the middle of summer and thoughts turn to global warming at this hot time of year. When I recently saw an article in the paper about global warming I decided to check out the web sites listed in the article to find out how much money was being spent to study this problem. It didn't take long to find the web site of the United States Global Change Research Program (www.usgcrp.gov - might as well take a look…your tax dollars are paying for the web site and a whole lot more).

I quickly found that this program published a yearly report complete with budget. I checked out the 2001 report and I was stunned. President George W. Bush; the man who went back on his campaign promise to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, who has expressed publicly his misgivings about global warming and the Kyoto Treaty; has asked Congress to increase the budget of this program by $47 million dollars to a total of $1.74 BILLION dollars! This is the budget for only ONE YEAR! If you add the budget amounts spent in 1999, 2000 and the funds asked for in 2001, the total is over $5 BILLION DOLLARS!

This amount is only for the last three years. This program was created by the Global Change Research Act of 1990 (same year George senior signed the Clean Air Act). In this act it states that global change is occurring and man is causing it. So much for the debate about whether global warming is for real or not. Congress has already decided it is for real.

And what is this money spent for? About half of it goes to NASA to create and launch satellites that will study the earth. Every penny goes to scientific research of global warming. Departments such as Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, EPA, National Science Foundation, Smithsonian Institution as well as NASA, get funding to study global warming. And even more money is spent by the Department of Defense but those research activities are defense related and not in the budget. I guess that means they're classified. Maybe the defense department is working on one of those weather machines I've seen in movies. Instead of sending planes and ships to a nasty section of the world they can just send a few tornados and a couple of hurricanes.

But seriously what are they spending the money on? Just research is the answer. And what good does this do us? The only item I could find in the report was that observations made of El Nino and La Nina may have helped to prepare people for storms and that may have helped prevent the loss of lives and property. That was back in 1997-1998. In other words a bunch of people are being paid to study global warming at the tune of nearly 2 billion bucks of your tax dollars a year and they're not coming up with much other than we need more money to do more studies.

The article in the paper that got me started on the budget search was one about a couple of scientists that worked at NASA who were puzzled by some computer models. It seems that these genius scientists had failed to take into consider clouds in their calculations. I thought everyone knew that cloud cover on a summer day lowers outside temps. I also thought everyone knew that cloud cover on a winter night can help hold in heat. Apparently the scientists didn't know these facts. But then if you wanted your high paying research job to last until retirement you might have to make a few errors to keep the paychecks coming.

The US is not the only country spending bucks on global warming research. The United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization formed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988 (www.ippc.ch). A number of countries do research and make reports on what they find (we need more research!). I couldn't find how much money this organization spends. The contact person is in Switzerland. Unlike the US they may not be required to list their budget.

So here's the sum total of what has been found so far:

  1. The average global temperature has gone up by 0.7 to 1.5 degrees F since 1860. (Why not an exact figure?)
  2. The USGCRP expects the global temp to go up more in the next 100 years than it has in the last 10,000 years. (I think they got that info from the psychic hot line.)
  3. They need more money (tax dollars) to do more research to study global warming.
What a bargain! It has only cost us several billion dollars to learn all this valuable information.

This just in! Since this article was written President Bush has announced even more money will be spent on studying global warming. He plans to up NASA's global warming budget to $120 million dollars. And in Bonn, Germany a climate treaty meeting was held. Diplomats from 178 countries were trying to determine a way to decrease the production of greenhouse gases. The US refused to go along with the treaty and the other "leaders" booed the US delegate. The US emits about one-fourth of all greenhouse gases and will not curb the production of them, but the money available to study this continues to grow.

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