The Obama administration doesn’t want to hear inconvenient truths about global warming. And they don’t want you to hear them, either. As Democrats rush on Friday to pass a $4 trillion, thousand-page "cap and trade" bill that no one has read, environmental bureaucrats are stifling voices that threaten their political agenda.
The free market-based Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington (where I served as a journalism fellow in 1995) obtained a set of internal e-mails exposing Team Obama’s willful and reckless disregard for data that undermine the illusion of "consensus." In March, Alan Carlin, a senior research analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency, asked agency officials to distribute his analysis on the health effects of greenhouse gases. EPA has proposed a public health "endangerment finding" covering CO2 and five other gases that would trigger costly, extensive new regulations of motor vehicles. The open comment period on the ruling ended this week. But Carlin’s study didn’t fit the blame-human-activity narrative, so it didn’t make the cut.
On March 12, Carlin’s director, Al McGartland, forbade him from having "any direct communication" with anyone outside his office about his study. "There should be no meetings, e-mails, written statements, phone calls, etc." On March 16, Carlin urged his superiors to forward his work to EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, which runs the agency’s climate change program. A day later, McGartland dismissed Carlin and showed his true, politicized colors:
"The time for such discussion of fundamental issues has passed for this round. The administrator and the administration has decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision. … I can only see one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office."
Contrary comments, in other words, would interfere with the "process" of ramming the EPA’s endangerment finding through. Truth in science took a back seat to protecting eco-bureaucrats from "a very negative impact."
In another follow-up e-mail, McGartland warned Carlin to drop the subject altogether: "With the endangerment finding nearly final, you need to move on to other issues and subjects. I don’t want you to spend any additional EPA time on climate change. No papers, no research, etc, at least until we see what EPA is going to do with Climate."
But, of course, the e-mails show that EPA had already predetermined what it was going to do — "move forward on endangerment." Which underscores the fact that the open public comment period was all for show. In her message to the public about the radical greenhouse gas rules, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson requested "comment on the data on which the proposed findings are based, the methodology used in obtaining and analyzing the data, and the major legal interpretations and policy considerations underlying the proposed findings." Jackson, meet Carlin.
The EPA now justifies the suppression of the study because economist Carlin (a 35-year veteran of the agency who also holds a B.S. in physics) "is an individual who is not a scientist." Neither is Al Gore. Nor is energy czar Carol Browner. Nor is cap-and-trade shepherd Nancy Pelosi. Carlin’s analysis incorporated peer-reviewed studies and, as he informed his colleagues, "significant new research" related to the proposed endangerment finding. According to those who have seen his study, it spotlights EPA’s reliance on out-of-date research, uncritical recycling of United Nations data and omission of new developments, including a continued decline in global temperatures and a new consensus that future hurricane behavior won’t be different than in the past.
But the message from his superiors was clear: La-la-la, we can’t hear you.
In April, President Obama declared that "the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over." Another day, another broken promise. Will Carlin meet the same fate as inspectors general who have been fired or "retired" by the Obama administration for blowing the whistle and defying political orthodoxy? Or will he, too, be yet another casualty of the Hope and Change steamroller? The bodies are piling up.