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But, after a decade-and-a-half of reality, which resists exaggeration, it has become apparent that warming is indeed pretty modest. Jim wrote this in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2001:

“Future global warming can be predicted much more accurately then is generally realized … we predict additional warming in the next 50 years of 0.75 C [plus or minus] 0.25C, a warming rate of 0.15C [plus or minus] 0.05C per decade.”

This warming rate — the real one — is approximately 4 times less than the lurid top figure widely trumpeted by the United Nations and repeated ad infinitum in the press. And, just to drive my point home, here’s what Mr. Hansen wrote last month in his latest paper in the online journal Natural Science:

Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decisionmakers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue Now, however, the need is for demonstrably objective climate … scenarios consistent with what is realistic under current conditions. …

Which brings us back to S.139. It’s easy to run the numbers on how much warming it “prevents,” because it’s very similar to the Kyoto Protocol, whose futility is well-known. The effect of both is included in our figure. You may need glasses to see the difference between doing nothing and S.139. It’s 6/100 of a degree Celsius in 50 years. That’s the amount of climate change you experience, on the average, every 10 seconds.

Obviously, S.139 does nothing about climate, while intruding greatly into the economic life of this nation, as everyone voting for the Lieberman-McCain bill knows.

Patrick J. Michaels is senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute and author of “The Satanic Gases.”