Fittingly, on December 7 (already a ???day which will live in infamy???), the Environmental Protection Agency (???EPA???) formalized its ???Endangerment Finding??? that certain atmospheric gases, most importantly carbon dioxide, ???threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.???
The timing of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson???s action was transparently political, aimed at giving President Obama some bargaining power at the Copenhagen Climate Summit.
With the finding, the Administration intends to bind the US to international agreements (short of actual treaties which will not pass the Senate) to reduce carbon emissions or involve us in international carbon trading schemes. The EPA will also endeavor to implement regulations, not just on cars, but on whatever industry becomes the political target of the day.
An unnamed top White House official told Fox News on Tuesday that if Congress doesn’t pass legislation to regulate greenhouse gases, then ???the EPA is going to have to regulate in this area. And it is not going to be able to regulate on a market-based way, so it’s going to have to regulate in a command-and-control way…???
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) called on President Obama to clarify the remarks and set the stage for a battle between Obama and Congress, Issa added ???Congress isn’t going to sit idly by and allow the Administration or other nations for that matter try and marginalize our legislative prerogatives.???
There will be at least one major lawsuit against the EPA (already announced by the Competitive Enterprise Institute) which should delay the implementation of regulations for months if not years.
Among the most damning pieces of evidence against EPA???s position is a March, 2009 report by EPA employee Alan Carlin. The 100-page report which Carlin intended to be his input into the ???internal EPA comment period??? is remarkable not only for what it says but also for the EPA???s reaction to it ??? particularly for EPA???s attempts to suppress the report during a critical comment period regarding the decision to declare carbon dioxide a public health risk.
Quoting from Carlin???s preface (p. 4):
EPA and others have tended to accept the findings reached by outside groups, particularly the IPCC and the CCSP, as being correct without a careful and critical examination of their conclusions and documentation??? Restricting the source of inputs into the process to these two sources may make EPA???s current task easier but it may come with enormous costs later if they should result in policies that may not be scientifically supportable.
In other words, the EPA, which employs thousands of scientists and analysts, has seen fit to rely on groups with clear political motivations, particularly the UN, as their source for scientific data. It is a glaring weakness in the EPA???s position.
But it???s not just the source of the science which Dr. Carlin shows to be troublesome, it is the error and bias within the science itself:
(T)he GHG (Greenhouse gas)/CO2 hypothesis as to the cause of global warming??? is currently an invalid hypothesis from a scientific viewpoint because it fails a number of critical comparisons with available observable data. Any one of these failings should be enough to invalidate the hypothesis; the breadth of these failings leaves no other possible conclusion based on current data. As Feynman (1975) has said, failure to conform to real world data makes it necessary from a scientific viewpoint to revise the hypothesis or abandon it??? Unfortunately this has not happened in the global warming debate??????
Carlin lists 7 areas in which real-world data do not match the alarmists??? climate models and then goes on to take apart the last UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (???IPCC???) report, upon which most of the EPA???s Technical Support Document (???TSD???) is based, noting that:
??? Global temperatures have declined for more than a decade despite atmospheric CO2 levels increasing,
??? New research shows the IPCC was wrong in predicting more frequent and intense hurricanes due to AGW (man-made global warming),
??? There is no evidence that Greenland is melting despite IPCC predictions,
??? The recent recession has cut greenhouse gas emissions, but the draft TSD doesn???t mention it,
??? New research shows that the climate probably operates with negative feedback rather than the positive feedback which IPCC models assume.
After taking apart the IPCC and TSD, Carlin offers his own thoughts on the issue (starting on page vii):
??? ???Changes in greenhouse gas concentrations appear to have so little effect that it is difficult to find any effect in the satellite temperature record, which started in 1978.???
??? Surface temperature measurements are suspect because they are so different from the satellite record, so ???it appears even more unlikely that GHGs have as much of an effect on measured surface temperatures as claimed???
??? ???Hence it is not reasonable to conclude that there is any endangerment from changes in GHG levels based on the satellite record, since almost all the fluctuations appear to be due to natural causes and not human-caused pollution as defined by the Clean Air Act.???
The initial reaction by EPA to Dr. Carlin???s report was to pretend it did not exist, and to try to get Carlin to do the same. Reached for comment for this article, an EPA spokeswoman offered this: ???The notion that there was any suppression is ridiculous. There was no pre-determined position on endangerment and Mr. Carlin’s work was not suppressed. Mr. Carlin has been welcome to share his ideas publicly in various forums, including EPA sponsored events and countless media interviews, and continues to do so.???
However, a series of internal EPA e-mails made public by CEI tells a different story: Dr. Carlin???s boss refused to forward Carlin???s comments to the appropriate group within EPA, told Carlin ???I don???t want you to spend any additional EPA time on climate change???, and forbade Carlin from talking to anyone outside his EPA department about endangerment issues.
A particularly damaging e-mail from Alan Carlin???s boss states ???Alan, I decided not to forward your comments. The time for such discussion of fundamental issues has passed for this round. The administrator and the administration has (sic) 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.???
In a June interview with the Heritage Foundation, Carlin said ???I???ve been involved in public policy since 1966 or 1967. There???s never been anything exactly like this. I am now under a gag order.???
Critics of Carlin???s report note that Carlin is an economist. However, they overlook that his undergraduate degree was in physics (from Cal. Tech, no less) and that he has written about climate change and other scientific issues frequently in the past. They also note that Carlin has admitted flaws in the document. Indeed he has, due to having to write 100 pages in 4 days, but he has never backed away from his fundamental conclusion that current alarmist theories about man-made, CO2-based global warming is based on junk science and that the EPA has a responsibility to do their own research.
Some defend the EPA by noting that EPA included Carlin???s report in official records. However, Carlin???s report was ???kept under wraps??? (Carlin???s words) by the EPA until CEI published a version of it on June 25, 2009. On June 26th, Carlin was given permission to post his report on his personal web page, but not on the EPA web site. It is implausible that the EPA???s intention was not the suppression of Dr. Carlin???s report and his ability to speak publicly about his ideas.
In a radio address last December, president-elect Obama offered this wisdom: ???The truth is that promoting science isn???t just about providing resources???it???s about protecting free and open inquiry. It???s about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics. It???s about listening to what our scientists have to say even when it???s inconvenient???especially when it???s inconvenient.???
Maybe somebody should inform EPA management and remind Barack Obama ??? who seems to have forgotten his own words ??? as the Administration blithely negotiates away American taxpayers??? dollars in Copenhagen while ignoring ClimateGate???s evidence that man-made global warming is a man-made hoax.
Al Gore might be the best leading indicator of the coming fate of global warming alarmism: He was one of the early prophets (and profiteers.) But following the ClimateGate e-mail release, Gore canceled an appearance in Copenhagen for which 3,000 people had bought tickets. Public support for the idea that climate change is caused by man continues to drop.
Perhaps America???s mass delusion has come to an end, everywhere except the White House.
Cartoon by Brett Noel