Niskanen Center on Climate Sensitivity: The Science is Uncertain

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 29, 2020 1 Comment

“To refine our estimates of climate sensitivity will require breakthroughs in climate physics and more high-quality measurements…. Both outcomes likely lie a couple decades hence….”

Are Climate Model Projections too Hot?” Niskanen Center (downloaded January 19, 2020)

Climate activists, whether scientists or members of a nongovernmental organization (NGO), eschew direct debate. “The science is settled!” … “We must take action now!” … All to keep fossil fuels in the ground and let the consumers worry about energy affordability, reliability, and convenience.

But the holy grail of climate sensitivity to man-made emissions of greenhouse gases, the enhanced greenhouse effect, remains in stubborn dispute today as in the 1980s. The range of equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) is wide and not expected to come down soon.

The bottom end, as projected by models and accepted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is in net positive territory, according to leading climate economists.

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More Niskanen Center Misdirection: That Colorado Climate Lawsuit (Bookbinder, like Taylor, defining deviancy down)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- August 16, 2018 10 Comments
[Editor note: This recent post by Lea Giotto of Energy in Depth expounds on the controversial, sputtering involvement of the Niskanen Center and the Colorado climate lawsuit. Her title: “Contradictions Mount as Lawyer for Colorado Climate Lawsuits Struggles to Defend His Role.” For more on the policy shift of Niskanen founder Jerry Taylor from libertarian to climate/energy statism, see here.]


When David Bookbinder signed up to help Colorado municipalities sue the energy industry for the impacts of global warming, he claimed his purpose was not about climate change. But when he recently attempted to defend his role with those climate lawsuits, the Niskanen Center attorney not only contradicted himself, but may have undermined the broader climate litigation campaign.

Bookbinder – who was previously a climate-focused attorney with the Sierra Club – took an unconventional approach in his latest defense of climate litigation: he penned a guest commentary for the Federalist Society, an organization that has provided a forum for many who express skepticism about the validity of these cases.

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William Niskanen on Climate Change: Part VI, Conclusion, Postscript

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 21, 2018 4 Comments

“Some organizations and governments now appear likely to endorse an abatement strategy, largely for symbolic reasons, a strategy that will prove to be both costly and ineffective…. Until there is much better and broader understanding of this issue, a rush to judgement on the optimal response to the increase in global temperature is the greater danger.”

– William Niskanen, 2008

[Editor note: This completes a six-part series on the climate views of the late William Niskanen, taken from his Fall 1997 symposium essay, “Too Much, Too Soon: Is a Global Warming Treaty a Rush to Judgment?” as well as his 2008 postscript. Previous posts are:

  1. Part I: Key Questions
  2. Part II: Physical Science
  3. Part III: Moderate Warming Scenario
  4. Part IV: Why Regulate?
  5. Part V: Mitigation Issues


Conclusion (1997)

Scientists have been correct to alert political officials about the possibility that a continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide may increase average global temperatures. 

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William Niskanen on Climate Change: Part V, Mitigation Issues

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 20, 2018 No Comments

“A carbon tax of over $300 per ton would be necessary to reduce emissions to an annual rate consistent with stabilizing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”

“A number of leading economists … have made an effective case that the net cost of emissions controls could be much reduced by using the revenues from such taxes … to reduce the more misallocative provisions of our current tax code…. They are correct to make this point, but this is primarily a case for tax reform, not a case to finance this reform by large tax increases on fossil fuels.”

 – William Niskanen, Fall 1997

This excerpt in our series comes from Niskanen’s essay section, Would Governments Approve Effective Control Measures? The previous posts are listed in the footnote. [1]

The record to date does not provide a basis to expect the major governments to approve effective measures to control carbon dioxide emissions. 

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William Niskanen on Climate Policy: Part IV, Why Regulate?

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 19, 2018 1 Comment Continue Reading

William Niskanen on Climate Change: Part III, Moderate Warming Scenario

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 14, 2018 3 Comments Continue Reading

William Niskanen on Climate Change: Part II, Physical Science

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 13, 2018 4 Comments Continue Reading

William Niskanen on Climate Change: Part I, Key Questions

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 12, 2018 5 Comments Continue Reading

William A. Niskanen: Economist, Scholar, Foe of Political Capitalism

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 11, 2018 3 Comments Continue Reading

Taylor/Niskanen Wanted the Paris Climate Accord (really)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 5, 2018 No Comments Continue Reading