Writing a book is an adventure: it begins as an amusement, then it becomes a mistress, then a master, and finally a tyrant. -- Winston Churchill
“We must get the science right or we shall get the policy wrong. There is no manmade “climate crisis”. It is a non-problem. The correct policy approach to a non-problem is to have the courage to do nothing.”
The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, 3 July 2008
Major event of the week: EPA proposed rulemaking to control CO2 emissions – with adverse comments by White House and Executive Departments. Here is a short editorial:
The Supreme Court decision of April 2007 required the EPA to treat CO2 as a pollutant under section 202 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) or explain why it should not do so. An interesting dynamic has now developed with the release of the EPA’s draft Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR).
The document of more than 500 pages was
first sent to the OMB, which refused to open it. It is said to be the work of the EPA staff
and not the policy of the administration.
It carries critical comments from all the executive departments affected
by the proposed rulemaking. So it is
clearly an attempt by the EPA staff to put into effect an ambitious control
program – one that would have disastrous consequences for the
It is also clear that by setting the response period to 120 days, the White House has put the burden on the next administration to deal with this issue. Since both candidates, McCain and Obama, have announced their general support for CO2 mitigation, it will be interesting to see how they will handle this situation.
But the best solution would be for Congress to amend the Clean Air Act promptly. There are several possibilities: They could simply declare that CO2 is not a pollutant under the CAA. Or they could go deeper and explain why CO2 increases would not have negative impacts on health and human welfare. Or they could deny that CO2 increases have any significant effect on climate -- in accord with more recent scientific results. Or they could amend the CAA in a fundmental way and require cost-benefit analyses; at present, the CAA may not consider costs.
Thus, the key player to save the nation from a certain economic disaster may be John Dingell (D-Mich.), the widely respected author of the original Clean Air Act. -- SFS
1. EPA announcement, and analysis of disastrous consequences -- by Phil Kerpen
2. Analysis of EPA-ANPR in Science mag
3. Analysis by Myron Ebell
4. Wash Post story, based on EPA staff leaks
5. NY Times story and editorial – predictable
6. Sen. Inhofe comments on EPA-ANPR
7. Cap & Trade leads to income redistribution -- WSJ
8. More evidence against human contribution to climate change
9. New hope for Global Warming deniers
NEWS YOU CAN USE
“T. Boone Pickens is half-right: Phasing out natural gas for electric generation is a good idea – but substituting it with wind power is not.” SFS
Petroleum-driven power plants generate less than 2% of our electricity. Decreasing the use of petroleum to produce electricity to absolute zero would do practically nothing to affect “addiction” or “foreign dependence” on petroleum. Suggesting that giant Solar or Wind Farms represent an Alternative Energy solution for “petroleum addiction” is a sham solution that shows a basic ignorance of the Electricity Sector. “Energy is not a fungible commodity.” -- T.B Horgan
(And that is true whether you believe in Global Warming or not.)
Gore faces a major challenge shoring up his fellow
Democrats as nearly 30% of Senate Dems opposed the recent Lieberman-Warner
global warming bill. See: http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.Facts&ContentRecord_id=91BCFE7A-802A-23AD-409F-F852F0C562E9
Democrats question inconvenient timing of Gore's DC global warming speech as gas prices soar
(Norway), the 1973 Nobel Prize winner for physics (superconductivity): “… global warming has become a new religion.
We frequently hear about the number of scientists who support it. But the
number is not important: only whether they are correct” http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/3784
'Our leaders are in carbon-cloud cuckoo land' -- Christopher Booker
Prominent hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel reconsiders global warming's impact, finds warming does not increase hurricanes http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/tech/news/5693436.html - Emanuel was not disappointed that the research seemed to undercut his old results. "One gets used to being mistaken, and we follow the evidence and sometimes the evidence is contradictory and then we have to sort it out." http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=909e4b84-eb40-4088-950e-e7ed8200e880
Another hurricane expert reconsiders view: Study says global warming not worsening hurricanes =: http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/05/19/hurricanes-to-global-warming-link-blown-away/ What makes this study different is Tom Knutson, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fluid dynamics lab in Princeton, N.J. He has warned about the harmful effects of climate change and has even complained in the past about being censored by the Bush administration on past studies on the dangers of global warming. He said his new study, based on a computer model, argues “against the notion that we’ve already seen a really dramatic increase in Atlantic hurricane activity resulting from greenhouse warming.”
Tony Snow, RIP a good friend, who died much too young, of cancer. Our friend Ken Smith, deputy editorial page editor of the Washington Times, a position for which Snow, when he was editor, hired him, was only 44 when he perished in 2001. We have lost two good men.
1. THE EPA'S BLUEPRINT FOR DISASTER
Washington, D.C. - July 11, 2008) Today EPA released an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) soliciting public input on the effects of climate change and the potential ramifications of the Clean Air Act in relation to greenhouse gas emissions.
"The ANPR reflects the complexity and the magnitude of the question of whether and how greenhouse gases could be effectively controlled under the Clean Air Act," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson.
Today's action is in response to the April 2, 2007 Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, which found that greenhouse gas emissions could be regulated if EPA determines they cause or contribute to air pollution that may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare. With the ANPR, EPA is evaluating the broader ramifications of the decision throughout the Clean Air Act, which covers air pollution from both stationary and mobile sources.
The ANPR solicits public input as EPA considers the specific effects of climate change and potential regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. In the advance notice, EPA presents and requests comment on the best-available science, requests relevant data, and asks questions about the advantages and disadvantages of using the Clean Air Act to potentially regulate stationary and mobile sources of greenhouse gases. The ANPR also reviews various petitions, lawsuits and court deadlines before the agency, and the profound effect regulating under the Clean Air Act could have on the economy.
The notice's publication in the Federal Register begins a 120-day public comment period.
Read the ANPR: http://www.epa.gov/epahome/pdf/anpr20080711.pdf
Fact sheet: http://www.epa.gov/epahome/anprfs.htm
The EPA's Blueprint for Disaster: A new regulatory regime from our environmental bureaucrats would grind the economy to a halt.
By Phil Kerpen
http://article.nationalreview.com/? q=ZmEwNmFmNTllMDU2NTBkOGY2YWZkMTFlNjU xZDZmZTQ=
Opponents of massive new energy taxes and regulations breathed a small sigh of relief last month when the Lieberman-Warner climate-tax bill went down in flames on the Senate floor. Even 10 Democrats broke from the party line and voted against it, writing that they would have opposed the bill on final passage. Unfortunately, power-mad bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency remain undaunted.
The EPA is expected today to release a document that blueprints a dizzying array of greenhouse-gas regulatory programs under dozens of different provisions of the 1970 Clean Air Act. The document, called an "Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking," will formally begin the process of implementing restrictions more draconian than those in the Lieberman-Warner bill - all without a single vote of Congress.
A 5-4 Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA opened the door to this mischief, although that ruling was limited to motor-vehicle regulation. The EPA blueprint, judging by various leaked versions, goes far beyond that. At more than 200 pages, along with an appendix of more than 800 pages, it is a radical plan for reordering the entire U.S. economy.
Not only would motor vehicles be regulated in the EPA's new rules - and to a much greater degree than they are in new regulations coming from the Department of Transportation - so would light-duty trucks, heavy-duty trucks, buses, motorcycles, planes, trains, ships, boats, tractors, mining equipment, RVs, lawn mowers, fork lifts, and just about every other piece of equipment that's got a motor in it. The new regulations in many cases could require complete equipment redesigns and operational changes.
The EPA also hopes to regulate stationary-source emissions by instituting a cap-and-trade scheme much like the massive, multi-trillion-dollar, hidden-tax-hike scam the U.S. Senate rejected last month. If unable to do that, the EPA will deliver something even worse: old-style, command-and-control regulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
The worst excess here is the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program. This would require permitting for businesses and structures that emit as little as 100 tons of greenhouse gases per year. That threshold may make sense for some air pollutants. But for carbon dioxide it's frighteningly low, and would subject millions of never-before-regulated entities to an expensive and lengthy EPA permitting process. Any building over 100,000 square feet would be pulled in, as would numerous smaller buildings that produce carbon dioxide. Small businesses, restaurants, schools, and hospitals that have commercial kitchens with gas burners would all be affected.
This permitting process would debilitate businesses across the country. It also would grind state environmental agencies and the EPA to a standstill; inundated with permit filings, they would unable to pursue many legitimate environmental protections. Meanwhile, as the permit backlog grows, all new-construction activity across the country would draw to a halt.
The EPA blueprint includes a lengthy discussion of how to avoid these outcomes. For one, the agency suggests that it can establish its own threshold for permitting. It can't. While Congress can design a regime with thresholds that it considers appropriate, the EPA can only stretch the 1970 Clean Air Act so far. (For the record, the act's author, John Dingell, has stated that the act should not be forced into service to regulate greenhouse gases.) Even if the major environmental groups agree to look the other way while more reasonable rules are implemented, all it takes is one environmentalist to file a lawsuit and point out how statutory language establishes thresholds for PSD regulation. That's when the economy stops moving.
The EPA is out of control. A radical multi-trillion-dollar reordering of our economy deserves at least the participation of democratically elected legislators and accountable branches of government. Whether or not Congress chooses to establish a regime for greenhouse-gas regulation, it must immediately pass legislation to stop the EPA from implementing its devastating vision for the U.S. economy.
Phil Kerpen is policy director for Americans for Prosperity.
2. BUSH TAKES A FINAL SWIPE, AND SALUTE, AT CO2 EMISSION CURBS
Science 18 July 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5887, pp. 324 - 325 DOI: 10.1126/science.321.5887.324a
In the end, he just couldn't commit. Last week, the Bush Administration essentially ended its tumultuous relationship with climate change, unveiling two decisions that all but ensure that President George W. Bush will leave office without making a binding commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
On 9 July, Bush and the other leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) industrial powers signed a largely symbolic pledge to help trim global emissions by 2050, rejecting stricter language. Then, on 11 July, the Administration announced that it would not use the nation's leading clean-air law to regulate heat-trapping gases, effectively sidestepping a U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Both announcements reflect the fierce internal disagreements that have become hallmarks of the Administration's climate policy. As a presidential candidate in 2000, Bush backed using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases. But he quickly backpedaled after winning office. State and local officials continued to press for action, however, arguing that carbon dioxide was a "pollutant" covered by the law (Science, 8 September 2006, p. 1375). And last year their arguments prevailed, when the Supreme Court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to explain why it wasn't regulating the gas.
The Administration split over how to respond. One faction, led by senior EPA officials, drafted a detailed rationale for using the law to attack climate change. But that road map drew furious objections from Vice President Dick Cheney and other White House officials, including presidential science adviser John Marburger, according to documents released by EPA. A quartet of Cabinet members also chimed in, according to EPA; the secretaries of Agriculture, Transportation, Commerce, and Energy complained that it did not "fairly recognize the enormous and, we believe, insurmountable burdens, difficulties, and costs" of the strategy.
EPA chief Stephen Johnson told reporters that the infighting convinced him that "the Clean Air Act is the wrong tool for the job" and that it would be impossible to forge a consensus response "in a timely manner." Instead, he issued a 588-page document that laid out dozens of complex questions raised by the law. The document also laid bare the squabbling and asked the public to join the debate. Johnson said he hopes the move will convince Congress that entirely new laws are needed to deal with climate change. …
Myron Ebell, CEI
The Environmental Protection Agency on July 11 released an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for regulating carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act. This is the administrations response to the Supreme Courts 5 to 4 decision in April 2007 that the EPA did have authority under the act to regulate CO2. This advance notice is not so much a request for public comments as it is a draft regulatory rule several hundred pages long. However, it will indeed be open for public comment for 120 days beginning on the day it is published in the Federal Register in the next week or two.
The ANPR was accompanied by a short introduction by EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson explaining why he thought that the EPA document demonstrated why using the Clean Air Act to regulate CO2 would be inappropriate, plus eight letters from the heads of other departments and agencies (Energy, Commerce, OIRA, etc.) summarizing their objections and a ten page-memo highlighting the problems such regulation would cause. In addition, the White House put out a strong statement that argues that the EPA notice demonstrates the folly of trying to use the Clean Air Act to regulate something it was never designed to regulate and that calls on Congress to take action immediately to avoid the regulatory train wreck that will ensue if EPA is allowed to proceed.
It may well seem odd that the White House should condemn a document produced by the administration and approved by the White Houses Office of Management and Budget. But it makes sense. If OMB had tried to edit the document to conform to presidential policy (and make it less insane), they would have invited widespread and scathing criticism that they were censoring the EPA, ignoring and overruling expert opinion, trying to derail regulation mandated by the Supreme Court, persecuting scientists, kicking puppies, etc. This way, they are offering the Congress and the public a view of what is in store for the country if EPA is allowed to do what the career EPA staff are clearly eager to do. The result would be a bewildering number of new regulations that would be litigated for years, which once implemented would be colossally expensive and probably ineffective at reducing carbon-dioxide emissions. The Congress and the next administration now have no excuse not to know what is coming unless they act to prevent it.
4. EPA WON'T ACT ON EMISSIONS THIS YEAR
Instead of New Rules, More Comment Sought
By Juliet Eilperin and R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writers, July 11, 2008
The Bush administration has decided not to take any new steps to regulate greenhouse gas emissions before the president leaves office, despite pressure from the Supreme Court and broad accord among senior federal officials that new regulation is appropriate now.
The Environmental Protection Agency plans to announce today that it will seek months of further public comment on the threat posed by global warming to human health and welfare -- a matter that federal climate experts and international scientists have repeatedly said should be urgently addressed.
The Supreme Court, in a decision 15 months ago that startled the government, ordered the EPA to decide whether human health and welfare are being harmed by greenhouse gas pollution from cars, power plants and other sources, or to provide a good explanation for not doing so. But the administration has opted to postpone action instead, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Washington Post.
To defer compliance with the Supreme Court's demand, the White House has walked a tortured policy path, editing its officials' congressional testimony, refusing to read documents prepared by career employees and approved by top appointees, requesting changes in computer models to lower estimates of the benefits of curbing carbon dioxide, and pushing narrowly drafted legislation on fuel-economy standards that officials said was meant to sap public interest in wider regulatory action.
The decision to solicit further comment overrides the EPA's written recommendation from December. Officials said a few senior White House officials were unwilling to allow the EPA to state officially that global warming harms human welfare. Doing so would legally trigger sweeping regulatory requirements under the 45-year-old Clean Air Act, one of the pillars of U.S. environmental protection, and would cost utilities, automakers and others billions of dollars while also bringing economic benefits, EPA's analyses found.
"They argued that this increase in regulation should be on the next president's record," not Bush's, said a participant in the lengthy interagency debate, referring principally to officials in the office of Vice President Cheney, on the White House Council on Environmental Quality, on the National Economic Council and in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Several EPA officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that throughout the process, White House officials instructed the agency to change their calculations with the aim of reducing the "social cost of carbon," a regulatory term that reflects the economic burdens stemming from greenhouse gas emissions.
Career EPA officials argued that the global benefits of reducing carbon are worth at least $40 per ton, but Bush appointees changed the final document to say the figure is just an example, not an official estimate. They prohibited the agency from submitting a 21-page document titled "Technical Support Document on Benefits of Reducing GHG Emissions" as part of today's announcement. "The administration didn't want to show a high-dollar value for reducing carbon," said one EPA official, adding that the administration cut dozens of pages from a draft that outlined cost-effective ways to reduce greenhouse gases.
Some officials said the administration has also minimized the benefits of tighter fuel-economy standards by assuming that oil will cost $58 a barrel in the future, compared with its current price of $141.65. While the EPA calculated in a May 30 draft that stricter standards would save U.S. society $2 trillion by 2020, officials revised that figure last month -- using the $58 estimate -- to predict that they would save only between $340 billion and $830 billion.
The proposal that the EPA will unveil today, known as an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, stands in stark contrast to the agency's original Dec. 5 finding -- backed up by a lengthy scientific analysis -- that global warming is unequivocal, that there is "compelling and robust" evidence that the emissions endanger public welfare and that the EPA administrator is "required by law" to act to protect Americans from future harm.
That finding appeared in a 37-page document prepared by an EPA task force of 60 to 70 people that was discussed at dozens of interagency meetings led by Susan Dudley, the head of the OMB's regulatory review office. She "understood that some regulation was inevitable," a participant in these meetings said, particularly since Bush promised, a month after the April 2007 Supreme Court ruling, to "take the first steps toward regulations" to curb emissions by the end of last year.
Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said yesterday, "If this administration spent the same effort fighting global warming as they do editing and censoring global warming documents, the planet might not be in such dire straits." Markey, whose staff was allowed to review the Dec. 5 EPA document but not to keep a copy, called the White House's reaction to its own experts' opinions "distressing and unjust."
White House spokesman Tony Fratto declined to discuss the administration's decision-making but disputed the assertion that "we are trying to drag our feet." He said regulating is "a long process" and it is wrong to assert that it "could be done quickly and easily" in the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision. "The EPA has worked diligently to try to get this done," he added.
EPA spokesman Jonathan Shradar said: "You don't just wake up one day and say, 'Here's the decision.' It's a long process with lots of thought, lots of analysis and lots of research that gets you to that decision point." When the EPA releases its notice today, he said, "We're going to be more transparent than we've been, laying it all out and saying, 'How should we do this?' "
The full story of how the finding of public endangerment and Bush's promised greenhouse regulations got sidetracked is still not known. Participants have not disclosed, for example, which White House official ordered an EPA deputy associate administrator to withdraw the finding last December after it was transmitted by e-mail to Dudley's office. An official said the person involved was "more senior than the head of OMB," but declined to be more precise.
The idea of instituting complex new controls on emissions by cars, ships, aircraft, power plants, factories and office buildings was never greeted warmly by any senior Bush appointees, but officials said that after the Supreme Court's slap they divided into roughly two groups: those who felt that regulating under the Clean Air Act was unavoidable, reasonable and best done under Bush; and those who wished to sidestep the law and press for its eventual modification after delay and public debate.
In the former camp, at least initially, was EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, a career official who previously oversaw pesticide regulations, and much of the agency's senior ranks. After the court ruling, in Massachusetts et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency et al.," people were bouncing back and forth into each other's offices, saying, 'Can you believe this? Look at this decision; look at the language; this is so strong,' " recalled one agency official, who like the others asked not to be identified for fear of retribution. "People thought, 'We are going to move forward and do the right thing.' "
Within a week, Johnson met with roughly 20 officials in the EPA's fifth-floor conference room and said they would undertake a major effort to meet the court's demand. Despite what one participant described as resistance from Cheney's office and other opponents of regulation, Bush signed an executive order on May 14, 2007, directing the EPA to work with the Transportation, Energy and Agriculture departments to "take the first steps toward regulations" to reduce the nation's gas usage by 20 percent over the next decade.
The agency subsequently spent $5.3 million on contractors and solicited 500 comments from government experts on the technical underpinning for a formal finding that man-made global warming caused dangers; the question was, to what? Officials said some advocated saying that it endangered both human welfare and health, instead of just welfare; while others -- reflecting broad utility and coal industry concerns -- argued that invoking health would lead more quickly to costly regulation of carbon dioxide emissions by power plants as well as cars.
In a late October briefing, Johnson's staff warned him against leaving out health risks, noting in a PowerPoint presentation that doing so "creates potential for confusion, criticism, suspicion -- e.g., is EPA downplaying public health risks and/or ignoring the science of climate change, in order to avoid doing more?" But Johnson, seconded by top deputies such as then-Deputy Associate Administrator Jason Burnett, decided he could sidestep the health issue. "The idea was to cabin it off to 'welfare,' " a former EPA official said. "There was a general feeling that you wanted to limit the findings as much as you could." Even within the EPA, the details of how much auto emissions should be limited provoked fierce arguments. Some officials began carrying around copies of Bush's executive order, waving it while arguing with senior political appointees.
But broader concerns over the regulatory "domino effect" that would be caused by any endangerment finding were expressed by members of the National Economic Council, the Council on Environmental Quality, and officials such as OMB general counsel Jeffrey A. Rosen and Cheney energy adviser F. Chase Hutto III, several meeting participants said. One said that Rosen asked at one meeting if carbon dioxide emissions from a tailpipe could be treated differently than those from a power plant, wondering if the molecules are different. The answer was that they are not.
Hutto, a former Cato Institute intern and Bush campaign volunteer during the Florida vote recount in 2000, whose grandfather patented at least seven piston inventions for the Ford Motor Company, has "an anti-regulatory philosophy and concern about what regulation means for the American way of life. He would talk, for example, about not wanting greenhouse gas controls to do away with the large American automobile," said the meeting participant. A spokeswoman for Cheney's office said Hutto had expressed opinions at the interagency meetings, but she declined to discuss what they were.
By late November, Johnson had held a meeting with his staff at which he advocated finding a danger to public welfare and praised the agency's technical supporting document as "excellent." But when Burnett sent the proposal to the White House, the OMB staff refused to open it, and it sat in limbo for months. Instead, the Bush administration supported legislation to tighten fuel-economy standards, but by less than the EPA had been considering.
Then, on March 27, Johnson returned to the EPA's fifth-floor conference room to inform his staff that he would abandon the idea of drafting a formal rule and would instead call for the "advanced notice," which only invited comment on possible regulation. This would avoid "any unintended consequences" that could stem from a broad rule curbing carbon dioxide, he said. "I know some people are going to say we're kicking the can down the road," Johnson said as he faced a group of angry career officials. But he said that was not the case.
Julie Tate and Madonna Lebling contributed to this report.
5. DECISIONS SHUT DOOR ON BUSH CLEAN-AIR STEPS
By Felicity Barringer, NY Times, July 12, 2008
Any major steps by the Bush administration to control air pollution or reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases came to a dead end on Friday, the combined result of a federal court ruling and a decision by the head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
In the morning, a federal appeals court struck down the cornerstone of the administration's strategy to control industrial air pollution by agreeing with arguments by the utility industry that the E.P.A. had exceeded its authority when it established the Clean Air Interstate Rule in 2005. The court, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, said the rule, which set new requirements for major pollutants, had "fatal flaws."
A few hours later, the E.P.A. chief rejected any obligation to regulate heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide under existing law, saying that to do so would involve an "unprecedented expansion" of the agency's authority that would have "a profound effect on virtually every sector of the economy," touching "every household in the land."
Taken together, the developments make it clear that any significant new effort to fight air pollution will fall to the next president.
The comments by the E.P.A. administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, reinforced a message that the administration had been sending for months: that it does not intend to impose mandatory controls on the emissions that cause climate change. John Walke, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council, a leading environmental group, said, "As a result of today, July 11, the Bush administration has failed to achieve a single ounce in reductions of smog, soot, mercury or global warming pollution from power plants."
Mr. Johnson said he was "extremely disappointed" in the court decision "because it's overturning one of the most significant and health-protective rules in our nation's history." But on climate change, he said laws like the Clean Air Act were "ill-suited" to the complexities of regulating greenhouse gases.
Mr. Johnson's comments appeared as a preface to a report by the E.P.A. staff sketching out how the emission of heat-trapping gases, particularly by vehicles, might be handled under the Clean Air Act. The report was intended to address a Supreme Court directive that the agency decide whether such gases threaten people's health or welfare. But it also reflects the deep disapproval of controls on such gases by the White House and agencies like the Transportation, Agriculture and Commerce Departments. In effect, Mr. Johnson was simultaneously publishing the policy analysis of his scientific and legal experts and repudiating its conclusions.
Mr. Johnson alluded to the difficulty of applying the Clean Air Act, designed for conventional pollutants like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, to greenhouse gases. Because interagency consensus could not be reached on a road map for such regulation, Mr. Johnson said, he was simultaneously publishing his staff's work and the comments of its critics, which had a definite tinge of hostility toward the E.P.A. regulators. For instance, the chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality, James Connaughton, wrote that the E.P.A.'s staff "myopically focuses on the Clean Air Act and ignores or understates major intended and unintended consequences that would flow from misapplying decades-old regulatory tools."
The final E.P.A. document, known as an advance notice of proposed rule making, did not contain a staff analysis about the economic benefits of regulation that had been in an earlier draft. That May 30 draft, which circulated widely in Washington, set the benefits of regulation at up to $2 trillion. The final version, based on the revised assumption that gasoline would cost about $2.20 per gallon in the foreseeable future, estimated the economic benefit at no more than about $830 billion.
Matthew L. Wald contributed reporting.
Posturing and Abdication
July 13, 2008 NY Times EDITORIAL
The Bush administration made clear on Friday that it will do virtually nothing to regulate the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. With no shame and no apology, it stuck a thumb in the eye of the Supreme Court, repudiated its own scientists and exposed the hollowness of Mr. Bush's claims to have seen the light on climate change.
That is the import of an announcement by Stephen Johnson, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, that the E.P.A. will continue to delay a decision on whether global warming threatens human health and welfare and requires regulations to address it. Mr. Johnson said his agency would seek further public comment on the matter, a process that will almost certainly stretch beyond the end of Mr. Bush's term.
The urgent problem of global warming demands urgent action. And the Supreme Court surely expected a speedier response when - 15 months ago - it ordered the E.P.A. to determine whether greenhouse gas pollution from vehicles (and, by extension, other sources) endangers human welfare and, if so, to issue regulations to limit emissions.
Mr. Bush initially promised to comply, and last December, a task force of agency scientists concluded that emissions do indeed endanger public welfare, that the E.P.A. is required to issue regulations, and that while remedial action could cost industry billions of dollars, the public welfare and the economy as a whole will benefit.
The agency sent its findings to the White House. The details of what happened next are not clear. But investigations by Senator Barbara Boxer and Representative Edward Markey have established that the White House, prodded by Vice President Dick Cheney's office, decided to ignore the findings - refusing at first to even open the e-mail containing them and then asking Mr. Johnson to devise another response that would relieve the administration of taking prompt action.
Along the way, the administration engaged in what Senator Boxer has aptly called a "master plan" to ensure that the E.P.A.'s response to the Supreme Court's decision would be as weak as possible. This campaign of obfuscation and intimidation included doctoring Congressional testimony on the health effects of climate change; ordering the E.P.A. to recompute its numbers to minimize the economic benefits of curbing carbon dioxide; and promoting the fiction that the modest fuel-economy improvements in last year's energy bill would solve the problem of carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles.
All this is unfortunate but not surprising. Mr. Bush spent years denying there was a climate change problem. And while he no longer denies the science, he still insists on putting the concerns of industry over the needs of the planet.
We were skeptical last week when Mr. Bush joined other world leaders in a pledge to halve global greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of the century. We worried that without nearer-term targets there would be too little pressure on governments to act. Now we have no doubt that he was merely posturing. The next president, armed with the E.P.A.'s findings, can and must do better.
INHOFE SAYS EPA’S CLIMATE ANNOUNCEMENT IS A 'NIGHTMARE SCENARIO'
Believes Regulations will Bankrupt the American Economy
WASHINGTON, DC Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member
of the Environment and Public Works Committee, today expressed concern over the
Environmental Protection Agency’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR)
soliciting public input on the effects of climate change and the potential
ramifications of the Clean Air Act in relation to carbon dioxide emissions. The
notice is in response to the April 2, 2007, Supreme Court decision in
Massachusetts v. EPA.
Senator Inhofe agrees with Administrator Steve Johnson, who stated, Regulation under the Clean Air act could result in an unprecedented expansion of EPA authority that would have a profound effect on virtually every sector of the economy and touch every household in the land.
Obviously the concept of regulating carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act is flawed and the Act must be amended by Congress," Senator Inhofe said. "Today’s notice should concern all lawmakers, no one should want the EPA to exercise the kind of power and authority that the career staff at EPA contemplates.
Just last month the United States Senate considered and soundly rejected the climate cap-and-trade proposal known as the Lieberman-Warner Bill. It is ironic that the EPA has proposed an even more economically destructive scheme this close to that Bill’s demise. If Congress does not act, then the resulting regulations could be the largest regulatory intrusion into American’s personal lives, a nightmare scenario. Big brother is alive and well in the career ranks at the EPA.
7. CAP AND REDISTRIBUTION DOWN UNDER
Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2008 [ Courtesy NCPA]
The Group of Eight may be waking up to the cost of fighting global warming, but in Australia, the opposite is happening. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has promised to implement an emissions trading scheme by 2010. Rudd just wants to do what every Labor politician likes: tax industry and redistribute the proceeds, at huge cost to the economy, says the Wall Street Journal.
Earlier this month, economist Ross Garnaut released a report on climate change and how to combat it. The report says the solution is in removing the links between economic activity and greenhouse gas emissions:
o The report suggests selling artificial permits that allow companies to "pollute."
o Industry would either fold under the cost burden or pass those costs onto consumers.
o Meanwhile, the government would haul in huge revenues from the permit sales.
Garnaut and Rudd both acknowledge that emissions trading would be costly -- especially in a country where natural resources account for around half of all exports. To alleviate this government-created problem, the Garnaut Review suggests some government-directed money shuffling:
o Up to 30 percent of sales revenues would go to trade-exposed, emissions-intensive export industries; in essence, this means the government would pay companies to stay in Australia rather than move to a country that doesn't impose arbitrary costs on business.
o Another 30 percent of this indirect tax would go to research, development and commercialization of new, low-emissions technologies.
o The bulk of the proposed handouts are reserved for households, to relieve the regressive income distribution effects of the emissions trading system.
The Garnaut Review estimates that Australia accounts for only 1.5 percent of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions; therefore, what Canberra does is largely irrelevant, says the Journal.
8. NO SMOKING HOT SPOT
David Evans | July 18, 2008
I DEVOTED six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian Greenhouse Office. I am the rocket scientist who wrote the carbon accounting model (FullCAM) that measures Australia's compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, in the land use change and forestry sector. I've been following the global warming debate closely for years.
When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty good: CO2 is a greenhouse gas, the old ice core data, no other suspects. The evidence was not conclusive, but why wait until we were certain when it appeared we needed to act quickly? Soon government and the scientific community were working together and lots of science research jobs were created. We scientists had political support, the ear of government, big budgets, and we felt fairly important and useful (well, I did anyway). It was great. We were working to save the planet.
But since 1999 new evidence has seriously weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming, and by 2007 the evidence was pretty conclusive that carbon played only a minor role and was not the main cause of the recent global warming. As Lord Keynes famously said, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"
There has not been a public debate about the causes of global warming and most of the public and our decision makers are not aware of the most basic salient facts:
1. The greenhouse signature is missing. We have been looking and measuring for years, and cannot find it.
Each possible cause of global warming has a different pattern of where in the planet the warming occurs first and the most. The signature of an increased greenhouse effect is a hot spot about 10km up in the atmosphere over the tropics. We have been measuring the atmosphere for decades using radiosondes: weather balloons with thermometers that radio back the temperature as the balloon ascends through the atmosphere. They show no hot spot. Whatsoever.
If there is no hot spot then an increased greenhouse effect is not the cause of global warming. So we know for sure that carbon emissions are not a significant cause of the global warming. If we had found the greenhouse signature, then I would be an alarmist again.
When the signature was found to be missing in 2007 (after the latest IPCC report), alarmists objected that maybe the readings of the radiosonde thermometers might not be accurate and maybe the hot spot was there but had gone undetected. Yet hundreds of radiosondes have given the same answer, so statistically it is not possible that they missed the hot spot.
Recently the alarmists have suggested we ignore the radiosonde thermometers, but instead take the radiosonde wind measurements, apply a theory about wind shear, and run the results through their computers to estimate the temperatures. They then say that the results show that we cannot rule out the presence of a hot spot. If you believe that you'd believe anything.
2. There is no evidence to support the idea that carbon emissions cause significant global warming. None. There is plenty of evidence that global warming has occurred, and theory suggests that carbon emissions should raise temperatures (though by how much is hotly disputed) but there are no observations by anyone that implicate carbon emissions as a significant cause of the recent global warming.
3. The satellites that measure the world's temperature all say that the warming trend ended in 2001, and that the temperature has dropped about 0.6C in the past year (to the temperature of 1980). Land-based temperature readings are corrupted by the "urban heat island" effect: urban areas encroaching on thermometer stations warm the micro-climate around the thermometer, due to vegetation changes, concrete, cars, houses. Satellite data is the only temperature data we can trust, but it only goes back to 1979. NASA reports only land-based data, and reports a modest warming trend and recent cooling. The other three global temperature records use a mix of satellite and land measurements, or satellite only, and they all show no warming since 2001 and a recent cooling.
4. The new ice cores show that in the past six global warmings over the past half a million years, the temperature rises occurred on average 800 years before the accompanying rise in atmospheric carbon. Which says something important about which was cause and which was effect.
None of these points are controversial. The alarmist scientists agree with them, though they would dispute their relevance. The last point was known and past dispute by 2003, yet Al Gore made his movie in 2005 and presented the ice cores as the sole reason for believing that carbon emissions cause global warming. In any other political context our cynical and experienced press corps would surely have called this dishonest and widely questioned the politician's assertion.
Until now the global warming debate has merely been an academic matter of little interest. Now that it matters, we should debate the causes of global warming. So far that debate has just consisted of a simple sleight of hand: show evidence of global warming, and while the audience is stunned at the implications, simply assert that it is due to carbon emissions. In the minds of the audience, the evidence that global warming has occurred becomes conflated with the alleged cause, and the audience hasn't noticed that the cause was merely asserted, not proved. If there really was any evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming, don't you think we would have heard all about it ad nauseam by now?
The world has spent $50 billion on global warming since 1990, and we have not found any actual evidence that carbon emissions cause global warming. Evidence consists of observations made by someone at some time that supports the idea that carbon emissions cause global warming. Computer models and theoretical calculations are not evidence, they are just theory.
What is going to happen over the next decade as global temperatures continue not to rise? The Labor Government is about to deliberately wreck the economy in order to reduce carbon emissions. If the reasons later turn out to be bogus, the electorate is not going to re-elect a Labor government for a long time. When it comes to light that the carbon scare was known to be bogus in 2008, the ALP is going to be regarded as criminally negligent or ideologically stupid for not having seen through it. And if the Liberals support the general thrust of their actions, they will be seen likewise.
The onus should be on those who want to change things to provide evidence for why the changes are necessary. The Australian public is eventually going to have to be told the evidence anyway, so it might as well be told before wrecking the economy.
Dr David Evans was a consultant to the Australian Greenhouse Office from 1999 to 2005.
9. NEW HOPE FOR GLOBAL WARMING DENIERS
By Christopher Chantrill
July 12, 2008 American Thinker
Why would anyone be a global warming denier? What's the point? You earn the scorn of Al Gore and maybe Dr. James Hansen, NASA's pre-eminent climate scientist will call for you to be put in jail. Of fossil fuel company CEOs, Hansen recently testified to Congress: “In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.” If Dr. Hansen turns out to be wrong about climate change should he be tried for high crimes and misdemeanors too? Steve McIntyre and his collaborators at climateaudit.org have already found one big error in Dr. Hansen's GISS global temperature data series. How many mistakes add up to a felony?
But things are looking up for the global warming skeptics. First of all there is the global temperature. After holding constant since 1998 it has dropped markedly in the last two years. You can see the latest numbers at Dr. Roy Spencer's home page. http://www.weatherquestions.com/Roy-Spencer-on-global-warming.htm#satellite-temps Recently the Germans prudently declared a ten-year hold on non-stop global warming. What with a flip in the Gulf Stream they realized that the numbers weren't going to look too good for the alarmists in the next few years. "There is a long-periodic oscillation that will probably lead to a lower temperature increase than we would expect from the current trend during the next years," they wrote. Clearly, more research is needed.
The World Bank in a "secret" report has found most of the recent increase in food prices was due to biofuels production. Writes Aditya Chakrabortty in the lefty Guardian: Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% - far more than previously estimated - according to a confidential World Bank report obtained by the Guardian. Apparently, according to Chakrabortty, the World Bank refrained from publishing the report to avoid embarrassing President Bush! The US recently issued a report blaming China and India for the food price increases and this new report "emphatically contradicts" it. I say to heck with President Bush and the evil biofuels program that he rammed through Congress with the help of Halliburton in the teeth of opposition from sensitive, caring environmentalists and advocates for the global poor. Let's teach President Bush a lesson and stop biofuel subsidies now! What do you say, Senator Obama? Here is an opportunity for real change.
But the most fascinating and encouraging news for the deniers is from Australian astrophysicists I.R.G. Wilson, B.D. Carter, and I.A. Waite. They have developed a theory that the sunspot cycle and its intensity is driven by the gravitational relationships between the Sun and the Jovian planets Jupiter and Saturn. The Sun wobbles a bit around the center of the Solar System. Sometimes the center of the Solar System lies outside the surface of the Sun, only 1,000 times heavier than Jupiter and 3,000 times heavier than Saturn. All that wobbling seems to affect the behavior of the Sun. Here is the nub of the paper, as explained by author Ian Wilson to Andrew Bolt. It supports the contention that the level of activity on the Sun will significantly diminish sometime in the next decade and remain low for about 20 - 30 years. On each occasion that the Sun has done this in the past the World's mean temperature has dropped by ~ 1 - 2 C. Wilson and Co. should talk to the Germans who think that the cooling will only last for 10-15 years and try to come up with a cooling consensus. Either way, it adds up to a comfortable truth for Al Gore who can now feel virtuous about warming up the planet with his mega-mansion and his compulsive jet-travel habit.
It's all so confusing. Liberals tell us that we mustn't develop energy resources because of the impact on the polar bear -- even though polar bear numbers are on the increase. We shouldn't develop oil resources in ANWR because it is a pristine wilderness. We shouldn't develop offshore oil resources because 40 years ago there was an oil spill in the Santa Barbara Channel. Anyway there's no point in developing oil and gas resources because it won't make any difference to the price of gasoline. Anyway we are running out of oil and gas so there isn't any point in developing any more oil and gas resources. We shouldn't mine coal because coal creates global warming. We shouldn't develop nuclear power because Jane Fonda once made a scary movie about it. We should develop solar and wind power, "renewables," even though both are extremely expensive right now. But we shouldn't build wind farms where Ted Kennedy could see the wind turbines from his window.
And now with a straight face liberals say we'll have to starve the people in order to save the planet. Now who's in denial?