A dangerous endangerment finding Weekly column by Dan Juneau
The battle lines were firmly drawn on February 9 in the war between Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the EPA's plans to regulate greenhouse gases, in particular, carbon dioxide. If the regulations come to fruition, it will cost consumers billions of dollars in increased energy costs and the economic ramifications could greatly increase unemployment.
In her appearance before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson threw down the gauntlet to Congress. Jackson stated in her testimony: "Based on the best peer-reviewed science, EPA found in 2009 that manmade greenhouse gas emissions do threaten the health of the American people." Jackson and the Obama administration want to save us from these "threats." What are these dangers? Carcinogens? Huge blankets of carbon dioxide clouds that will kill us by depriving us of oxygen? No, the "threats" have to do with impacts from "global warming."
The impetus to implement this broad new regulatory scheme is fallout from the fact that the Obama administration could not pass costly and controversial "cap and trade" legislation when Democrats held strong majorities in both chambers in 2009 and 2010. Many Democrats joined Republicans in opposing the legislation for two reasons: first, they didn't think the cost to consumers was justified and, second, they were not convinced that "global warming" was the threat that some say it is. What the Obama administration could not pass through Congress, they are now trying to implement by regulatory fiat.
Members of Congress heard a very different viewpoint on the "climate change" issue on November 17, 2009 when Dr. Richard Lindzen of M.I.T. testified before the House Subcommittee on Technology and Science. After citing numerous challenges to the alleged "settled science" of climate change, Dr. Lindzen concluded his comments by stating:
"Perhaps we should stop accepting the term 'skeptic.' Skepticism implies doubts about a plausible proposition. The current global warming alarm hardly represents a plausible proposition. Twenty years of repetition and escalation of claims does not make it more plausible. Quite the contrary, the failure to improve the case over 20 years makes the case even less plausible. In the meantime, while I avoid making forecasts for tenths of a degree change in globally averaged temperature anomaly, I am quite willing to state that unprecedented climate catastrophes are not on the horizon though in several thousand years we may return to an ice age."
Dr. Lindzen is one of thousands of distinguished scientists who refute Lisa Jackson's claim that the "best science" proves that greenhouse gas emissions "threaten the health of the American people." It is not the health of the American people that is being threatened. It is their jobs and their economic well being.
As Dr. Lindzen noted in his committee testimony, much of the science found in the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports is more grounded in computer science than climate science. The complex computer models run by the adherents to the "manmade carbon dioxide is threatening the planet" branch of science basically show that increases in carbon dioxide translate to inevitable increases of global temperature. Unfortunately for them, the temperature record is not matching the computer predictions.
The EPA's endangerment finding in 2009 used primarily the same science contained in the IPCC reports and models. Jackson and her boss, President Obama, are asking us to put our jobs and our standard of living at risk to join them in their speculative venture to drastically reduce a gas that is vital for plant life and represents only a trace amount of greenhouse gases.