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[Illustrations, footnotes and references available in PDF version]
Summary for Policy Makers
This report provides a review of Alabama’s climate history and reveals that there is no observational evidence of unusual long-term climate changes taking place that could be linked to anthropogenic “global warming” — despite scientifically unsupportable claims and frequent prognostications of gloom and doom.
Instead of rising temperatures, the state’s annual average temperature has declined over the past century.
When the statewide average temperature history for Alabama is broken down into the four seasons, it can be seen that the same general patterns persist throughout the year. The warmest decades were typically prior to the mid-20th century, and recent decades show nothing unusual — fluctuating from year to year on either side of the long-term average.
Instead of an increasing frequency of drought, the state’s moisture conditions have improved over the long run.
Instead of failing crops, the state’s agricultural yields have been increasing.
Natural cycles in the state and regional climate can largely explain changes in patterns of hurricane activity and vector-borne disease outbreaks.
The rate of future sea level rise is not projected to be largely different from the on-going rate of sea level rise along Alabama’s coast — a rise that has been well-adapted to as Alabama’s rising coastal development and population attests.
Further, any efforts to mitigate future climate change by curtailing greenhouse gas emissions (energy use) from Alabama are doomed to fail — no matter the selected level of targeted emissions reductions or their time-tables.
Even a complete halt to all greenhouse gas emissions from Alabama would result in no detectable change in future rates of global temperature or sea level rise.
This is so because the global year-over-year increase in greenhouse gas emissions is more than seven times the total emissions from Alabama. This means that a complete cessation of all greenhouse gas emissions from Alabama — now and forever — would be totally subsumed by global emissions growth in less than two month’s time; by China’s emissions growth alone in less than three months. Clearly, any plans aimed at merely reducing emissions to some arbitrary, incremental level short of 100% will fare even worse.
But far more troublesome is that while emissions reduction plans would have no impact on Alabama’s or global climate, they would have a large and negative impact of the state’s economy and citizens’ liberties. Such fear-driven, ill-thought through mitigation plans are a perfect policy recipe for disaster — they are all pain and no gain. As writer Frank Herbert observed, “Fear is the mind-killer.”