1998 (ca.) GCC Climate Change Primer

This Global Climate Coalition (GCC) memo summarized the group’s perspective of “the global climate change debate” around 1998. The industry-funded GCC 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.

In an internal 1995 draft primer on climate change, GCC’s Science and Technology Assessment Committee accepted anthropogenic climate change, debunked natural warming “contrarian theories,” and allowed those criticisms to be redacted from the final copy. This memo, published roughly three years later, still relied on aspects of natural warming to argue against anthropogenic climate change. For example, when considering the Kyoto Protocol’s six greenhouse gases targeted for emissions reductions, the GCC cited a table including natural sources. The memo stated, “[g]reenhouse gases are controversial in part because they are such a small part of the total atmosphere, most of them having both natural and manmade sources. The most prevalent greenhouse gas is water vapor.”

The GCC downplayed carbon emissions by emphasizing economic output, questioning the role of a greenhouse gas emissions trading system and warning that a carbon tax would ruin strong economic performance. The memo also included remarks from the Clinton Administration and a “Sense of the U.S. Senate Thus Far.”

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

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