In case you haven’t noticed, the wheels are close to coming off much of the case for global warming. Deep skepticism is now mainstream. Reason: The data have not fit the predictions. Surface temperatures have not risen, contrary to models and assurances of many leading climate scientists who are now rushing to try to understand that which they said earlier was beyond debate.

The Economist magazine rang the bell. Formerly a climate doomsayer, it said before the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference that failure there “means that mankind gives up on trying to save the planet.” But they’ve now largely backed off, recently writing that in “the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar.”  The reasons remain unknown, they now say.  Dr. James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute and a leading warming scientist, is quoted by The Economist saying  temperatures have been flat, and he has now proposed an alternative theory for why the planet is staying cool.

They might have added a couple more things. Global sea ice coverage is now well above its 30 year average.  You can see live, seasonally adjusted data here.  Britain recently forced global warming off the G8 agenda. Britain recognized, as Illinois should, that it has more pressing economic needs than unproven climate initiatives.

Set your own opinions about warming aside because this much is clear: Doubts about the strength of the link between carbon and global warming are now mainstream.  As The Australian put it, “the fact that global surface temperatures have not followed the expected global warming pattern is now widely accepted.”

What does this mean for insolvent Illinois? It does not disprove AGW, but surely it means that dozens of programs and regulations costing hundreds of millions — perhaps billions — of dollars should be put on hold and reviewed. State and local programs and rules to force reduction in carbon emissions now run through the entire fabric of the state. A list of some is below. Most importantly, Illinois has “25% by 2025” policy to wrestle utilities into supplying 25% of their energy from renewable sources by 2025. Electricity users bear most of the cost. A similar proposal in Michigan was defeated last year with opponents claiming it would cost $12 billion in higher rates.

Why pay billions trying to lower temperatures based on a correlation to carbon emissions that’s now so clearly dubious?

Ironically, that new theory suggested suggested by Dr. Hansen for why temperatures have not risen is that coal might be saving us. Yes, coal. There is harm in burning coal, but it may also help cool the planet and offset the warming, he thinks. Coal is a big and growing industry in Illinois. We have the third largest reserves of any state, valued at $48 billion.

A list of Illinois programs and regulations is below. Some of these may be fine because they are intended to address other problems beyond carbon emissions, like reduction of other pollutants. But shouldn’t we at least review them, identify which ones are supposed to lower temperatures by reducing carbon emissions, and put those on hold until we know what we are doing?


Green Building Incentive

Industry Recruitment/Support

Local Grant Program

Non-Profit Grant Program

PACE Financing

Performance-Based Incentive

Property Tax Incentive

Sales Tax Incentive

State Bond Program

State Grant Program

State Loan Program

State Rebate Program

Utility Loan Program

Utility Rebate Program

Rules, Regulations & Policies

Building Energy Code

Energy Efficiency Resource Standard

Energy Standards for Public Buildings

Generation Disclosure

Green Power Purchasing


Net Metering

Public Benefits Fund

Renewables Portfolio Standard

Solar/Wind Access Policy

Solar/Wind Permitting Standards

Mark Glennon

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7 years ago

Here’s a must-read article interviewing Freeman Dyson, a Princeton physicist, about global warming science.

7 years ago

I love the way that Economist article put it,which is that earth turns out to be more “insensitive” to carbon pollution. The planet is too insensitive, so it hasn’t cooperated with the warming scare!

7 years ago

The libs will never give up on this. No matter what new facts emerge on the science, the left is all-in on carbon reduction no matter how many billions get wasted.