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E-M:/ Refuting the WEFA study

Enviro-Mich message from Vicki Levengood <vlevengood@voyager.net>

Some of you may have read or heard of the recent oil company funded
study detailing the supposed negative economic impact of the Kyoto
Protocol on global warming.  N.E.T. Washington has been investigating
the study and the WEFA organization, and you might find the following
press release helpful in rebutting those who cite it now and in the
future.  Also, if any of you spot articles or hear of coverage of the
WEFA study, I'm asking that you contact me so that we can make sure to
offer a timely response. Thank you!

Vicki Levengood
National Environmental Trust / Michigan
phone: 517.333.5786
fax: 517.332.0363

For Immediate Release                              Contact: Mike Casey
Tuesday, June 9, 1998                                       202-887-8832

Despite News Media Exposure of Their Plan To Fund Junk Science, Big Oil
Company Lobbyists Release Bogus Global Warming Study Today

   "The [industry-funded front group] will be funded at a level that
will permit it to succeed, including funding for research contracts that
may be deemed appropriate to fill gaps in climate science. 
   "These tactics will be undertaken between now and the next climate
meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in November 1998, and will be
continued thereafter, as appropriate."
     --Joe Walker, oil industry lobbyist, April 1998 internal strategy

WASHINGTON, June 9-Big oil company lobbyists at the American Petroleum
Institute (API) are moving ahead with their plan to fund junk science to
bolster their lobbying agenda against the global warming treaty.  Even
though their plan describing this tactic was exposed in a recent
front-page New York Times story (4/26/98), industry lobbyists will
release the first wave of their junk science studies today at the
National Press Club. 

This flawed study of supposed state-by-state economic impacts of the
treaty, produced by Wharton Econometrics Forecasting Associates
(WEFA)--which despite the name has no connection to the well-known
Wharton Business School--was paid for by the American Petroleum
Institute, according to the study's author. API is also partly or wholly
funding the promotion of this study.

"The big oil company lobbyists are borrowing a page from the cigarette
lawyers' playbook--paying for junk science by hired gun researchers to
bamboozle the public and advance their lobbying agenda," said Mike
Casey, NET spokesman.

If the funding sources aren't enough to discredit the study's
credibility, then flaws of WEFA's earlier critiques suggest shortcomings
in this latest offering. The study is not peer-reviewed and ought to be
before any of its results are taken seriously, according to Tufts
University global warming expert Bill Moomaw (617-627-5000, ext. 3645).  
In addition, WEFA Senior Vice President Mary Novak already gave Congress
basically the same critique three months ago, accompanied by testimony
in which she criticized the Kyoto treaty for reasons that do not and
will not exist.  In particular, her critique ignores how the treaty will
reduce dramatically U.S. costs of compliance through: 

-- an international pollution credit trading system, 
-- "joint implementation" projects with developing nations, 
-- benefits from planting forests to absorb global warming pollution,
-- "clean development" policies to promote the use of non-polluting

The old WEFA study being recycled today relies on virtually worst
possible assumptions to produce the scariest results.  In their
analysis, "The Costs of Climate Protection: A Guide for the Perplexed,"
Robert Repetto and Duncan Austin of World Resources Institute (WRI)
detail how approximately 80 percent of the results--from any model of
the economic impacts of global warming mitigation--rely on seven basic

The WEFA study assumes the worst in five of these seven assumptions, and
a midway point in the other two.  Thus, no matter what data is fed in,
WEFA's study is guaranteed to show negative effects from the global
warming treaty.

As eight Nobel economists and 2,500 of their economist colleagues have
stated on the attached Economists' Statement, many economic studies have
found by now that there are many potential policies to reduce emissions
for which the benefits outweigh the costs. 

According to these mainstream economists, the U.S. can save money by
increasing its energy efficiency, improve its productivity and
competitiveness, and create new jobs by selling the technology
involved-such as for more efficient appliances, cars, and furnaces-here
and abroad.

In addition, they say a pollution trading system will be a market-based
method of implementing the treaty "at minimum cost." Such a system is a
cornerstone of U.S. global warming policy, yet it is nowhere reflected
in the WEFA study.

For additional information, including a copy of the original American
Petroleum Institute lobbying memo, WRI's analysis of economic models,
and  the NET guide to how the global warming treaty will help the U.S.
economy, please contact David King at (202) 887-8800.


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