by Myron Ebell, Director, Center for Energy and Environment
Competitive Enterprise Institute
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA.) and several senior Republicans announced on February 11 that they were going to introduce four bills to address climate change. On the bright side, none of the bills includes a tax on carbon dioxide emissions or mandatory targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
On the darker side, the four bills propose to waste a lot of taxpayer dollars, extend subsidies for commercially uncompetitive technologies, and create new domestic tree-planting programs as part of the global Trillion Tree Campaign. Taken together, they concede the point that greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced and therefore that global warming is a serious problem, but then don’t propose anything serious—that is, any policies that would significantly reduce emissions. The bills are merely virtue signaling to what some Republican pollsters have identified as an important segment of voters—suburban Republicans, mostly women, who worry that Republican office holders don’t care enough about climate change or the environment in general…
For those who think the global mean temperature is too high, Steve Milloy of JunkScience.com has some bad news. He has pointed out that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2019 Special Report on Climate Change and Land concluded that deforestation causes global cooling. Thus reforestation will cause global warming, even though forests are carbon sinks. The reason is that forests darken the Earth’s surface (technically, have a low albedo) and thereby absorb more of the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation, which then causes more infrared radiation to be reradiated into the atmosphere to be captured by greenhouse gases.