Bast: If There’s No Global Warming, There’s No Climate Change Problem

By Barbara Hollingsworth | July 9, 2014 | 1:37pm EDT

Joe Bast, president & CEO of the Heartland Institute, (Heartland Institute)

( –  With satellite data showing no global warming for 17 years and 10 months, and even the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) acknowledging a “pause” in rising temperatures, it’s time to stop talking about a climate change problem, says Joe Bast, president and CEO of the Heartland Foundation.

"Global warming is still at the heart of climate change. All the climate changes are attributable to the increase in temperature in the climate, so even if they might want to talk about sea level rise and heat being stored in the lower ocean and all these indirect climate effects, the engine for that, the cause of all that is global warming,” Bast told

“And if there is no global warming, or if it’s paused, or if it’s less than what they thought, or if the human impact is less than they thought, then that whole paradigm collapses. Whether you call it climate change or global warming, if there’s no warming going on, it’s not a problem.”

“I would say two years ago, we could have concluded that,” Bast added. “NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said 15 years was the cut-off date in an influential [2008] report…. But even the alarmists said that if there was no warming for 15 years, that that would invalidate the models that they were using. So it’s rare that the other side puts a date on something like that, but they did it this time, and I think we ought to hold them to it.”

Noting that the behavior of prominent climate change scientists is “characteristic of a movement that’s about to crash,” Bast pointed out that the “alarmists” invited to debate the “skeptics” at Heartland’s 9th Annual Conference on Climate Change in Las Vegas this week declined to defend their contention that the Earth is facing catastrophic warming and that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are to blame.

“We invited scores of scientists who are on the alarmist side of this debate to attend and present their ideas,” Bast told “In the past, we’ve had one or two willing to do that, and they’ve always been treated with great politeness and allowed to debate. But none of them this time agreed to take us up on our offer.”

“Why do you think that is?” asked Bast.

“I think they’re afraid to debate. They’re just afraid,” he replied. “They know in front of an audience of their peers that they will lose.”

On June 25, President Obama mocked those who challenge the theory that man-made global warming is causing catastrophic climate change, telling the League of Conservation Voters that it is a fact despite 17-plus years of evidence to the contrary.

"You can ignore the facts; you can't deny the facts," the president said.

President Obama addresses the League of Conservation Voters at a June 25, 2014 dinner in Washington. (AP photo)

But Bast criticized the Obama administration for doing just that by promulgating energy policies based on flawed computer models’ predictions of global warming, which actual temperature data have since proven to be wrong.

“I don’t think this administration’s policies are based on science at all, which is why they just ignore every report and every scientist who says they’re wrong on this,” Bast told

He also criticized Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) for claiming that “97 percent of scientists agree that [carbon dioxide] is leading to dangerous climate change that is affecting our families” at a June 18 hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee.

“The scientific community is deeply divided on some of the underlying science issues, like whether or not models can forecast future climate, and what the trade-offs, the feedbacks are in the environment, so there’s just tremendous uncertainty,” Bast said.

“This is one of the big unsolved scientific issues of our day, and for politicians to be saying 97 percent of all scientists agree on this is absurd.”

“Frankly, the science doesn’t matter to President Obama or to any of those Democratic senators. They’ve decided that they want to wage a war on fossil fuels, they’ve decided that they want to subsidize and promote a new energy industry, renewables, and global warming is just a handy excuse, or smoke and mirrors, that they can use to sell this agenda," Bast told

Asked whether most Americans are aware that the Earth has not warmed for close to 18 years, he replied:

“I think the people who are paying attention have figured this out. The American people see prominent left-wing politicians talking about this issue and the more they talk about it, the more the public understands that this is a political issue, not a science debate.”

Now that actual temperature data has confirmed the skeptics’ view that carbon dioxide is not causing catastrophic global warming, Bast says it’s time to move on, especially since billions of dollars have already been spent trying to stop a non-existent threat.

“I think the other side is just going to double down on ad hominen attacks and outrageous lies, like the 97 percent consensus and claims about the weather. They’re going to try to keep the focus away from what the real issue now should be,” he said.

“Going forward, the issue is: what do we do legislatively?  How should public policy be changed, now that we know global warming is not a crisis, now that we know the costs of trying to reduce emissions are enormous and would cause lots of negative consequences?”

“I would love to have that debate,” Bast continued. “We tried to start that debate a good 10, 15 years ago and people were so concerned about the science that they didn’t want to discuss how much it would cost to try to stop this thing. Now that the science has been thrown out, we need to be having a debate about what we should be doing.

“And that debate, I think, logically leads to we should start getting rid of all the subsidies to wind and solar and ethanol, we should start looking at ways of adapting to climate change regardless of whether it’s natural or man-made, and probably encourage innovation, both in the energy sector and manufacturing, because that’s where we have win-win solutions."

Former Democratic Vice President Al Gore. (AP)

Meanwhile, he pointed out, more and more scientists are quietly backing away from their prior claims that the Earth has a “fever,” as former vice-president Al Gore once put it.

“I think the IPCC in its last report kind of hit a dead end, and some very prominent folks are saying that. The editors of Nature editorialized that this should be the last report from the IPCC,” Bast said, characterizing the reports as “massive compilations of obsolete research” trying to prove “a broken paradigm.”

“Now the folks at Nature are still committed alarmists, although I think they’re walking that back, admitting that it’s more complicated, or that it might take longer, or that reducing emissions might not be the way to try to respond to the possible problems,” he said.

Even groups that have been “sitting on the sidelines, not willing to challenge the science,” are now speaking out publicly, he added, noting that the Heartland Institute has done so since its founding in Chicago in 1984.

“We took a lot of bullets, a lot of arrows for doing that,” Bast said. “But it’s great. I love the company.”

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