[Illustrations, footnotes and references available in PDF version]
Summary for Policy Makers
In this report we provide a review of Mississippi’s climate history and show that there is no observational evidence of unusual long-term climate changes taking place that could be linked to anthropogenic “global warming”—despite the frequent prognostications to the contrary, often accompanied by doom and gloom scenarios. Instead of rising temperatures, the state’s annual average temperature has declined over the past century. 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 regional climate can largely explain changes in patterns of hurricane activity. Changes in flood characteristics owe more to artificial changes to the river’s natural flow channel than to changes in the weather. Vector-borne disease outbreaks are more a matter of extant climate and social conditions than climate change. And the rate of future sea level rise is not projected to be largely different from the on-going rate of sea level rise along Mississippi’s coast—a rise that has been well-adapted to as Mississippi rising coastal development and population attests.
Further, we also show that any efforts to mitigate future climate change by legislation to curtail greenhouse gas emissions from Mississippi are doomed to fail—no matter how great the proposed emissions reductions. Even a complete halt to all greenhouse gas emissions from Mississippi will result in no detectable change in the future rate of global temperature or sea level rise. In fact, the global year-over-year increase in greenhouse gas emissions is fifteen times the total annual emissions from Mississippi. This means that a complete cessation of all greenhouse gas emissions from Mississippi—now and forever—would be totally subsumed by global emissions growth in only about three week’s time. Clearly, any plans aimed at merely reducing emissions to some arbitrary level will fare even worse.
But what’s worse is that while emissions reduction plans will have no impact on the state’s climate, they will have a large and negative impact of the state’s economy. Such plans are a perfect recipe for disaster—they are all pain and no gain.