The climate alarmist community loves computer models, especially those that predict, with certainty, that the Earth will become uninhabitable by as early as 2050. This of course, unless human production of CO2 is drastically reduced, if not eliminated altogether. A sixteen year old Swedish schoolgirl, a former Vice President of the United States, a member of the British Royal Family, a freshman member of Congress and others actually believe that Armageddon will happen much earlier than 2050. But we will ignore celebrity Apocalyptics for the moment and focus this discussion on the reliance by Alarmists on computer models.

These models are represented by what the UN calls General Circulation Models (GCMs). There are more than 100 of them, mostly produced in the early 1980s. So far, they have proven to be spectacularly wrong, drastically over estimating the increase in observed global temperaratures. Almost as soon as they were created, these predictions ran afoul of satellite data, which replaced land-based thermometers that for years had been “adjusted “ (fudged) by scientists at NOAA and other official organizations in order to support the man-made global warming narrative.

The UN, its sister agency, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) believe that these computer projections are correct. After all, they were produced by the best scientists in their fields, weren’t they?

So, human-caused CO2 has to be reduced. But how much reduction is enough to save the planet? Some True Believers advocate taxes on “carbon” (True Believer-speak for carbon dioxide), which might reduce man-made CO2 50% in the US by 2050. Other True Believers argue that reduction needs to be 100%. Moreover, if a “climitate crisis” is truly to be averted, that reduction must occur immediately.

This reduction could be accomplished, Tue Believers maintain, by the total elimination of the use of fossil fuels for transportation, electricity, manufacturing, agriculture, and building construction.

Therefore, in order to accomplish this reduction now, there cannot be any more fossil fuel powered trucks, cars, or tractors. No more coal, natural gas, or oil electric generating plants. No more buildings, farming equipment, and even plastic straws, as we know them.

But what impact would such a scenario – as physically, practically, politically and fiscally impossible as it may seem – actually have on world temperature?

We are glad you asked that question.

Just as with the General Circulation Models, the UN and the US Government have developed a computer model which is designed to actually tell us the answer. The name of this model is the Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Induced Climate Change – MAGICC. (We’re not making this up.) MAGICC was developed by a US Government agency called NCAR – the National Center for Atmospheric Research – the same agency which provides the IPCC with the computer models that it uses to support the GCMs. Located in Bethesda, MD, NCAR is the go-to agency for the US Government and IPCC climate modelers to determine the impact of CO2 on world climate.

Moreover, the MAGICC Model projects what exactly would be the impact on the temperature of the Earth if the United States, or any other political subdivision on Earth, ceased the burning of all fossil fuels now– not at some distant time in the future.

Scientists and data experts at the Heritage Foundation, lead by Kevin Dayaratna, Senior Statistician and Research Programmer, ran the numbers using the MAGICC model, and inputted the same temperature and CO2 data utilized by the IPCC, to obtain the results.

Here is the answer.

No matter what assumptions are used for the amount of or increase in fossil fuel generated CO2 in the US, from small amounts to very large ones, complete elimination of all fossil fuels in the US immediately would only restrict any increase in world temperature by less than one tenth of one degree Celsius by 2050, and by less than one fifth of one degree Celsius by 2100.

What? Say that again. If the US eliminated all fossil fuel use tomorrow, it would have virtually no measurable impact on world temperature.

So, this means that if the US developed some kind of carbon tax that would reduce fossil fuel use by, say, 50% by 2050, it would have even less of an impact on world temperature than if all fossil fuel use were elimininated immediately.

Whoa. Stop right there. Something must be wrong with this model. Heritage must have misinterpreted the model sensitivities. NCAR must be mistaken. The impact really couldn’t turn out be that minuscule.

Actually, no, no, no and yes. Nothing is wrong with the inputs or the model, and nothing is wrong with the conclusion that it reaches.

So all this sturm und drang ln Congress about legislation needed to lower fossil fuel use is really much ado about nothing.? The US could, in fact, have a policy of doing nothing about fossil fuels, and the Earth’s temperature would still be the same as if we passed legislation eliminating all fossil fuels – which coincidentally would have the effect of destroying our modern way of life.

Why didn’t someone tell Congress this before? Could it be that agenda-driven True Believers have something to hide?

It sure seems that way. MAGICC is never mentioned by True Believers. MAGICC is ignored by policy makers gatherings in Amsterdam, Paris, and Madrid. MAGICC lies buried in a huge IPCC data pile.

But if one believes in MAGICC, maybe Congress could now stop worrying so much about climate change and focus on real problems – like immigration, the economy, taxes, education, poverty, and similar problems – issues which it could actually do something about.

And maybe the adults who shamelessly manipulate and exploit a certain sixteen year old Swedish girl can allow her go back to school and obtain the education she so clearly needs.

In short, MAGICC blows the argument for the immediate elimination of fossil fuels in the US, and even the gradual elimination through a tax on carbon, out of the water.


  • Johnson has spent the last four decades working in the public and private sectors in Virginia, primarily in the fields of project finance and maritime transportation. He began his career in public service as Chairman of the Board of the Virginia Port Authority. He was appointed by President George W. Bush, and confirmed by the Senate, as a member of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and most recently, as Administrator of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. In that capacity, he became knowledgeable in the field of climate and its impact on the Great Lakes. He currently serves on CFACT's Board of Advisors. Johnson holds a B.A. degree from Yale University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia.