EPA wrong on warming
By Craig Rucker
Legal challenges by states and industry groups over the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases could and should be decided in the challengers’ favor. Whether that will happen in this highly politicized, semi-scientific matter of “dangerous manmade global warming and climate change” remains to be seen. Regardless of what the DC Court of Appeals decides, the case will almost assuredly return to the Supreme Court, where the outcome is equally uncertain.
In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court said EPA had the authority (but not the obligation) to regulate CO2 under the Clean Air Act’s “capacious definition of air pollutant.” EPA could do so, the court ruled, if its administrator concluded that GHG emissions “may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” In other words, the administrator’s opinion was not sufficient. The agency must conduct a scientific study and make a convincing scientific case for taking action.
Not surprisingly, Administrator Lisa Jackson decided that CO2 does endanger public health and welfare, and signaled her intention to regulate these emissions. However, there are serious problems with this.
First, EPA conducted no original research of its own. Relying on work by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other agencies, it merely selected existing studies and reports that supported its predetermined outcome – and ignored numerous studies that contradicted its decision.
Second, scientific opinion is sharply divided on the extent to which these gases might contribute to climate change. EPA chose to disregard this inconvenient truth – and continue the shoddy practice begun by the IPCC and alarmist climate scientists of refusing to discuss or debate the validity of computer models, assertions of imminent disaster, and evidence for and against the catastrophic AGW hypothesis.
Third, carbon dioxide simply is not a “pollutant” within the meaning of the Clean Air act. It is not an agent that fouls or contaminates the air, making it harmful to human health. In fact, CO2 is a natural component of Earth’s atmosphere and a key ingredient in photosynthesis. Without carbon dioxide all life on Earth would cease to exist.
Fourth, both the 2007 Supreme Court decision and the IPCC studies relied on by EPA predate the Climategate emails and other scandals that have revealed how contrived, questionable and perhaps even fraudulent global warming disaster “science” actually is. Had those documents surfaced prior to its 2007 deliberations, the Court’s decision might well have been very different.
Fifth, allowing EPA to impose its CO2/GHG regulatory regime would effectively put the agency in charge of every aspect of Americans’ energy use, economic activities and lives. EPA’s unprecedented and exorbitantly expensive rules will severely and adversely affect hydrocarbon use, energy prices, food production, manufacturing, transportation, jobs, home and office heating and cooling, hospital and school operations – and thus human health and welfare.
Finally, and most absurd of all, even eliminating every source of carbon dioxide in the USA – electricity generation, vehicles, industries, humans and animals – would do nothing to reduce other emission sources worldwide. While US carbon dioxide emissions are declining, those sources continue to raise atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Thus, despite their devastating impacts on America’s economy and living standards, EPA’s rules would do virtually nothing to forestall the harms that its pseudo-science predicts.
Into this legal, scientific and regulatory cesspool now comes yet another element, which may yet go down as a key turning point in the debate – more important even than Climategate: Peter Gleick’s February 14 transmission of several stolen documents and a forged memorandum to 15 environmental activists in the United States and possibly abroad.
Craig Rucker is a co-founder of CFACT and currently serves as its executive director.