Science & Public Policy Institute

The Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI) is a nonprofit advocacy organization that seeks “sound public policy based on sound science.” The Institute focuses its research efforts on climate change, particularly on investigations of whether climate change is induced by mankind, and to what degree. In wading through this politically charged and controversial debate, SPPI aims to ensure its recommendations are untainted by any form of bias, noting that effective policies can only be developed “through science and factual information, separating reality from rhetoric.”

SPPI was founded in mid-2007 by Robert Ferguson after he left his post as executive director of the Center for Science and Public Policy (a project of Frontiers of Freedom). SPPI publishes original papers on climate change as well as mercury in the environment. Additionally, SPPI profiles all 50 states for observed climate change, and for the impacts and costs of climate-change measures.

Stirring the pot on global warming

The Institute promotes the view that climate change has always been occurring throughout history, and that future warming will almost certainly not be harmful. The real problem, according to SPPI, is that sources of energy like fossil fuels are running out.

SPPI argues that the claimed “scientific consensus” on global warming is more of a rhetorical ploy to shut off debate about climate change. A number of papers published on climate change come to differing conclusions. For example, of the 1,100-plus documents of peer-reviewed literature between 1993 and 2003 that dealt with global climate change, only 1 percent were found to explicitly endorse a “consensus.”

An analysis by SPPI also found that, contrary to assertions that 4,000 scientists support the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s claims about a significant human influence on climate, explicit supporters of this theory only number about 60.

In 2007, NASA’s top administrator told National Public Radio that he doubted global warming was a problem that people must wrestle with. In the controversy that arose following his comments, SPPI noted that many scientists agreed with this point of view.

Challenging Al Gore

SPPI has issued a standing challenge to former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, to debate SPPI Chief Policy Advisor Lord Christopher Monckton on whether global warming is a crisis. Gore has consistently declined this challenge.

Monckton identifies 35 scientific errors in An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore’s 2004 documentary film. Among the errors Monckton highlights are claims that sea levels will rise 6 meters, that carbon dioxide is driving global temperatures, and that Hurricane Katrina was caused by global warming.

Monckton also notes that the earth cooled (not warmed) between 2001 and 2009. In 2007, a judge in the United Kingdom ruled that Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth contained nine scientific errors. Monckton called the ruling “a fantastic victory.”

Arguing against emission caps and taxes

U.S. legislation proposed in 2009, termed “cap and trade,” is a major centerpiece of potential future U.S. energy policy. Supporters claim the system will reduce carbon emissions by legally capping them.

In contrast, Monckton comments that the proposed legislation “even if fully implemented, would make no measurable difference” to the climate. Monckton also calculates that the Waxman-Markey “cap and trade” bill would insignificantly decrease temperatures by a mere .04 degrees Celsius by the year 2050.