The Heartland Institute which is based in Chicago is holding their 2nd annual International Conference on Climate Change in Times Square this week.  Attendance at this years conference was estimated to be close to 800 which is double the number that attended the inaugural event last year.

So far attendees have heard from a host of speakers that included the Czech president Vaclav Klaus who has become a celebrity with the skeptics for his strong stand against global warming and the econmic costs of enacting a global cap and trade program.

In the Economics and Politics track the discussion ranged from discussions on the economic impact of energy rationing, the political outlook for cap and trade, morality of energy rationing and the Kyoto protocols.

Myron Ebell from the Competitive Enterprise Institute told the audience that McCain’s loss in November was actually a plus for opponents of cap and trade as he has been a major proponent of the legislation and that several pro cap and trade Senators lost as well and weren’t replaced by Democrats with the same viewpoint.  One of the best talks was delivered by Roy Innis from the Congress On Racial Equality.  Innis who is suffering from Parkinson’s disease said that he hoped that President Obama was correct when he announced the reversal of Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research and that those suffering from Parkinson’s and other diseases will find relief.  He also recalled a conversation that he had with a woman in Uganda whose child was suffering from malaria who told him that she would rather see her child suffer than see the environment harmed by the increased use of DDT.  It is unfortunate that the people of Africa who are dying from the lack of DDT would believe some spurious claim that it will hurt them more than help them.

In one of the last panels of the day, Tom Tanton of the Pacific Research Institute made the case that we don’t want to follow California’s lead when it comes to environmental legislation.  Tanton estimates that efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will cost the California economy $510 billion at a time when they can least afford it.

The conference has come under criticism by global warming proponents for the lack of scientific experts addressing the attendees,  and in that regard they are generally correct.  But then again even the most novice skeptic at the conference is still eminently more qualified than Al Gore to discuss the issue.