The national debate on climate change has been marked by vehement disagreement between those who believe that global warming is a severe problem requiring urgent solutions and skeptics who argue that the scientific evidence on climate change remains inconclusive. Only the passage of time and the collection of additional data will settle the issue.

Meanwhile, Florida has joined the ranks of states exploring a state-level response. In 2007 Gov. Charlie Crist appointed a task force — the Governor’s Action Team on Energy and Climate Change (GATECC) — to study the issue. In November 2007, the group published a report on Phase I of its work. That report focused on findings and recommendations related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which some scientists believe are causing— or exacerbating — global warming.

GATECC’s report on Phase II is expected to be published in October. In this study by Paul Bachman of the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University, the author outlines serious methodological flaws evident in Phase I of the GATECC report and cautions against repeating those errors in the report on Phase II.

The major responsibility for those errors rests with an out-of-state organization — the Center for Climate Strategies (CCS) — that GATECC consulted for guidance. As the author demonstrates, CCS has used the same flawed analyses in other states.

Florida cannot afford to ignore the potential adverse impact of those errors because accurate assumptions and credible data are central to a fair evaluation of the costs and benefits of implementing recommendations for reducing greenhouse gases. Overstating the benefits and underestimating the costs is a formula for economic woes.

Read the Backgrounder here.