1994 GCC “Issues and Options: Potential Global Climate Change”


This document is a report by the Global Climate Coalition (GCC) titled, “Issues & Options: Potential Global Climate Change.” The GCC was an industry-funded organization that opposed greenhouse gas regulations through direct engagement and collaboration with affiliated climate deniers from 1989 to 2002. Its membership spanned across the automotive, utility, manufacturing, petroleum, and mining industries.

After exploring “Climate Science,” “Economic Issues,” and “Policy Analysis” in three distinct sections, the report concluded that “the claim that serious impacts from climate change have occurred or will occur in the future has not been proven” and “consequently, there is no basis for the design of effective policy action that would eliminate the potential for climate change.”

The report cited climate deniers such as Patrick Michaels, Richard Lindzen, and Robert Balling as advancing “evidence supporting the view that the greenhouse effect has been strongly overstated.” In a section titled, “Recent Critiques of Global Warming Hypotheses,” the report highlighted their work stating:

“These scientists cite records of past climate change that are distinctly at odds with model results. They point out that other factors, such as solar variability, could be dominant agents of past and future global change. They call attention to the point that many impacts of climate change could be positive … Many of these arguments have received far less attention than they deserve in past assessments of climate change … Even though these hypotheses and arguments do not eliminate concern…they are extremely relevant for future scientific research and policy analysis.”

These arguments and individuals have been repeatedly touted in GCC publications. Mobil Corporation’s Lenny Bernstein would eventually discredit both Lindzen’s and Michaels’ work in an internal GCC draft primer on climate change as “not convincing.”

The following excerpts from the report either undermined the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change, downplayed predicted consequences of warming, or advocated for little to no action to address carbon emissions.

Discrediting climate science and anthropogenic warming:

  1. “There is no evidence of a warming trend that can be traced to man-made emissions.” link
  2. “Scientific understanding indicates great uncertainty about the extent of any future climate change, and observations have not yet confirmed evidence of global warming that can be attributed to human activities.” (emphasis added) link
  3. Direct observations do not confirm any climate change attributable to human action. During the last century, global average temperature is estimated to have risen between 0.3C and 0.6C, entirely within range of the natural climate variability. Furthermore, the pattern of global average temperature changes over this period does not correlate with the pattern of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.” (emphasis added) link
  4. “However, it is not known whether changes in global temperature have led to changes in greenhouse concentrations (for example, by stimulating plant growth or altering ocean chemistry) or vice versa.” link
  5. “The overall pattern of warming is inconsistent with the trend of the buildup of GHG’s over time. Despite the rapid increase in anthropogenic GHG emissions that has occurred over the last 50 years, most of the warming since the 1850s occurred prior to 1940 and the trend from 1940 through the late 1970s indicated global cooling. Some point to the global average temperature rise in the 1980s as an indication of global warming. However, this slight rise is well within the range of normal temperature variation and does not confirm a long-term trend in global average temperature.” (emphasis added) link
  6. “The claim that serious impacts from climate change have occurred or will occur in the future simply has not been proven. Observations have not confirmed changes in climate from increases in GHGs and descriptions of future changes rest on results from unvalidated and seriously incomplete models. Claims of an impending catastrophe rest on little more than speculation. Consequently, there is no basis for the design of effective policy action that would eliminate the potential for climate change.” link

Challenging the validity of climate models and downplaying the predicted consequences of climate change:

  1. “Impacts will vary by region; some could even be beneficial. For example, CO2 increases may stimulate plant growth and reduce their water demand.” link
  2. “While these predictions about the impact of a 1 meter sea level rise imply serious consequence, they are based on a hypothetical case and unvalidated model results.” (emphasis added) link
  3. “Scientific models are currently incapable of providing reliable forecasts of the magnitude, timing or regional impacts of future climate change.” link
  4. “But even in the moderate and high potential sectors [for climate impacts], it is not certain that the economic impact of climate change would be negative. Warmer winters could reduce construction downtime due to frigid weather. Certain crops may be harmed but others may be favored by climate changes.” (emphasis added) link
  5. “People and businesses adjust to much wider variations in temperature and weather over the course of a day or season than is likely to occur with climate change.” link
  6. Societies have adapted to a range of temperature and climate that far surpass the potential range of temperature differences outlined in the IPCC reports. People successfully exist in a wide variety of climate zones ranging from the frigid Arctic plains to the deserts of the Middle East to the tropical rain forests.” (emphasis added) link
  7. “The point is not that adaptation to climate change 50 or more years from now will be costless or frictionless, but that the impacts on people are likely to be overshadowed by political, economic and technological changes unrelated to climate changes.” link
  8. “People have successfully existed in a wide variety of climate zones, and technological innovations have outweighed climate differences. Moreover, climate has little impact upon industrialized economies. For example, less than 5% of the U.S. economy- primarily agriculture- shows large climate sensitivity.” link

Opposing policy action to address climate change concerns:

  1. “While it may be that the need for more stringent actions to control GHG emissions will be established scientifically in the future, it is hardly clear that a delay will make the effort more difficult.” link
  2. Greater resources focused on uncertain future climate issues will divert international attention for more certain and immediate problems of poor countries, and, in the U.S., efforts to improve competitiveness, health care and education reform, and the already full and costly environmental agenda.” (emphasis added) link
  3. “Imposition of a carbon tax…will disrupt the economy and lead to unemployment, serious sectoral and regional dislocations, and reduced economic growth. Efforts to make major changes in fundamental human activities- power generation, transportation, manufacturing, housing, heating and cooling, and agriculture- would most assuredly have significant macroeconomic repercussions. After the passage of enough time, economies eventually would adjust to the changed policy and return to full employment, but at lower levels of income and rates of GDP growth as investment is diverted toward reducing emissions.” link
  4. “The use of command and control regulations, instead of a carbon tax…would generate implicit costs that must be paid and would retard economic performance in the same manner as a carbon tax. Moreover, because of a lack of information necessary for government planners to identify least-cost actions and because of political influence that regularly overrides economics, the cost of command and control regulations would be much higher than the estimates found in the [carbon tax] studies cited below.” link
  5. It may well be that adaptation to some future climate change would have a smaller impact on economies and societies than would the vast expansion of government powers that some would advocate for an immediate and drastic reduction in fossil fuel use. Mitigation, adaption, carbon sequestration and geoengineering efforts should all be considered if science later establishes that significant climate changes will occur.” (emphasis added) link
  6. “Waiting for scientific knowledge to advance could very well avoid the need to move toward the centrally planned government intervention, at both the national and international levels, that many are advocating.” link

Interested in more GCC documents? See more in the full Global Climate Coalition collection.

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