Political Climate
Oct 15, 2017
The Obama EPA’s crooked prosecutors

The agency’s carbon dioxide climate “endangerment finding” was a kangaroo court process

Paul Driessen

Suppose a crooked prosecutor framed someone and was determined to get a conviction. So he built an entire case on tainted, circumstantial evidence, and testimony from witnesses who had their reasons for wanting the guy in jail. Suppose the prosecutor ignored or hid exculpatory evidence and colluded with the judge to prevent the defendant from presenting a robust defense or cross-examining adverse witnesses. 

You know what would happen - at least in a fair and just society. The victim would be exonerated and compensated. The prosecutor and judge would be disbarred, fined and jailed.

What you may not know is that the Obama EPA engaged in similar prosecutorial misconduct to convict fossil fuels of causing climate chaos and endangering the health and wellbeing of Americans.

EPA then used its carbon dioxide “Endangerment Finding” to justify anti-fossil fuel regulations, close down coal-fired power plants, block pipeline construction, and exempt wind and solar installations from endangered species rules. It put the agency in control of America’s energy, economy, job creation and living standards. It drove up energy prices, killed numerous jobs, and sent families into energy poverty.

EPA’s egregious misconduct inflicted significant harm on our nation. Having acted to repeal the Obama Clean Power Plan, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt must reverse carbon dioxide’s conviction and scuttle the Endangerment Finding that serves as the foundation and justification for the agency’s war on coal, oil and natural gas. Any harm from fossil fuels or carbon dioxide is minuscule, compared to the extensive damages inflicted by the decision and subsequent regulations.

President Obama and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson took office determined to blame carbon dioxide for “dangerous” and “unprecedented” manmade global warming and climate change. They then used that preordained decision to justify closing coal-fired power plants and dramatically restricting fossil fuel use. Mr. Obama had promised to “bankrupt” coal companies. Ms. Browner wasted no time in decreeing that CO2 from oil, natural gas coal burning “endanger” human health and welfare. It was a kangaroo court.

Their Environmental Protection Agency did no research of its own. It simply cherry-picked UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports and wrote a Technical Support Document to make its case. The TSD ignored studies that contradicted its predetermined Endangerment Finding - and relied on circumstantial evidence of climate and extreme weather disasters generated by computer models.

The models were programmed on the assumption that rising atmospheric CO2 levels are the primary or sole factor determining climate and weather. They assumed more carbon dioxide meant more planetary warming and worsening climate chaos. The role of the sun, cosmic rays, changing ocean currents and numerous other powerful, interconnected natural forces throughout Earth’s history was simply ignored.

The models predicted steadily increasing global temperatures and more frequent and intense storms. Instead, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continued to rise, except for a noticeable temperature spike during the 2015-2016 super El Nino, there has been no planetary warming since 1998. Harvey finally ended a record 12-year drought in Category 3-5 hurricanes making landfall in the USA.

Tornado deaths are far less frequent than in the 1950s. Floods and droughts differ little from historic trends and cycles. Antarctic land ice is at record highs, and Arctic sea ice is again within its “normal” levels for the past 50 years. Seas are rising at just seven inches per century, the same as 100 years ago.
The models also assumed more warming meant more clouds that trapped more heat. They ignored the fact that low-lying clouds trap heat but also reflect solar heat back into the atmosphere. Humans might be “contributing” to temperature, climate and weather events, at least locally. But there is no real-world evidence that “greenhouse gases” have replaced natural forces to cause climate chaos or extreme weather - and no evidence that humans can control Earth’s fickle climate by controlling emissions.

In fact, with every passing year, climate model temperature forecasts have been increasingly higher than those actually observed over most of the lower atmosphere.

The EPA approach amounted to saying, if reality conflicts with the models, reality must be wrong - or to deciding that real world evidence should be homogenized, adjusted and manipulated to fit model results.

Indeed, that’s exactly what EPA, the IPCC and other alarmist researchers have done. Older historic records were adjusted downward, modern records got bumped upward a bit, and government-paid scientists ignored satellite data and relied increasingly on measurements recorded near (and contaminated by) airport jet exhaust, blacktop parking lots, and urban areas warmed by cars, heating and AC vents.

The IPCC also claimed its referenced studies were all peer-reviewed by experts. In reality, at least 30% were not; many were prepared by graduate students or activist groups; and some of its most attention-getting claims (of rapidly melting Himalayan glaciers, for example) were nothing more than brief email messages noting that these were “possible” outcomes. Moreover, most IPCC peer reviewers were scientists who fervently promote catastrophic manmade climate change perspectives, receive government and other grants for writing reports confirming this thesis, and take turns reviewing one another’s papers.
Despite these inconvenient facts, a steady barrage of Obama EPA press releases and statements from alarmist regulators and “experts” insisted that fossil fuels were causing planetary cataclysms. Anyone who tried to present alternative, realistic data or views was ridiculed, vilified and silenced.

Even one of EPA’s most senior experts was summarily removed from the review team.  “Your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision,” Alan Carlin’s supervisor told him.

Two additional facts dramatically underscore the kangaroo court nature of EPA’s 2009 proceedings.

First, oil, natural gas and coal still provide over 80% of America’s and the world’s energy. The International Energy Agency says they will be at least this important 25 years from now. Indeed, fossil fuels are the foundation for modern industries, transportation, communication, jobs, health and living standards. Emerging economic powerhouses like China and India, developing countries the world over, and even industrialized nations like Germany and Poland are using more of these fuels every year.

The Obama EPA studiously ignored these facts - and the tremendous benefits that fossil fuels bring to every aspect of our lives. Those benefits outweigh any asserted dangers - by orders of magnitude.

Second, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, as defined by the Clean Air Act - and was never listed in any legislation as a pollutant. It was turned into an alleged pollutant by dishonest, ideological EPA prosecutors, who needed to justify their anti-fossil fuel regulatory agenda.

In reality, carbon dioxide is the miracle molecule without which most life on Earth would cease to exist. It enables plants of all kinds to convert soil nutrients and water into the fibers, fruits and seeds that are essential to humans and animals. The more CO2 in the air, the faster and better plants grow, and the more they are able to withstand droughts, disease, and damage from insects and viruses. In the process, crop, forest and grassland plants, and ocean and freshwater phytoplankton, exhale the oxygen we breathe.

In rendering its endangerment decision, EPA ignored these incalculable CO2 benefits. It ignored experts and studies that would have provided vital information about the tremendous value to our planet and people from fossil fuels and carbon dioxide.

Finally, having a slightly warmer planet with more atmospheric CO2 would be hugely beneficial for plants, wildlife and humanity. By contrast, having a colder planet, with less carbon dioxide, would be seriously harmful for arable land extent, growing seasons, crops, people and wildlife habitats.
The EPA Endangerment Finding is the foundation for the Obama era Clean Power Plan and other rules. Reversing it is essential to moving forward with science-based energy and climate policies.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death and other books on public policy.

Oct 03, 2017
EPA endangerment finding endangers USA

Trump must reverse EPA’s climate change “Endangerment Finding”

Dennis T. Avery

Nine years ago, the Obama Environmental Protection Agency issued an “Endangerment Finding.” It claimed that methane leaks from natural gas production and pipelines, and manmade carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, cause dangerous global warming that poses an imminent danger to the health and wellbeing of Americans. However, the Finding was based on computerized climate models that couldn’t even successfully hind-cast the weather we’d had over the past century - much less forecast Earth’s climate 100 years into the future. In fact, Earth’s climate has changed frequently, often abruptly.

EPA essentially asserted that the 80% of our energy that comes from coal, oil and natural gas caused all our planet’s recent warming and any more warming is a long-term threat. Obama’s team thus bet in 2009 that Earth’s warming from 1976-98 would continue. But it didn’t. Never mind all those recent NOAA and NASA claims that 2016 was our “hottest year” ever. Satellites are our most honest indicator, and they say our planet’s temperature has risen an insignificant 0.02 degrees C (0.04 degrees F) since 1998.

That 20-year non-warming clearly shows that the models are worthless for prediction. But the Federal Appeals Court in Washington nevertheless recently cited methane emissions to block regulatory approval for a new natural gas pipeline. The ruling will encourage radical greens to keep thinking they can regulate gas and oil production and transport into oblivion. Alarmists across the country are already citing the new precedent in other cases, in effect demanding re-hearings on Trump’s entire energy plan.

If the courts decree that pipelines cause dangerous methane emissions, the U.S. will be forced to generate electricity increasingly via the infamous whimsies of wind and sunshine. But the models’ prediction of dangerously rising temperatures have proven wrong. The disparity between the models’ predictions and the thermometer readings is growing wider by the day. We should not base regulations on them.

In science, if your theory doesn’t take account of all the relevant data, you need a new theory.

Meanwhile, thousands of new coal-fired power plants are being built around the world - even in Europe. (Many Third World power plants are being built with Chinese financing.) The CO2 from this new coal-fired power will dwarf whatever emissions the judges hope to prevent in America.

The President now risks losing the economic growth and millions of new jobs that abundant, affordable energy could and should create. Without new pipelines, our “miraculous” fracked gas will be trapped in the semideserts and mountains where the gas is found.

What danger can today’s EPA find in earth’s current 20-year non-warming? What ice-melt will that trigger? What sea level rise? World food production has just set a new record, in large part because higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere act like fertilizer for crop plants (as well as for forests and grasslands).

Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court should strongly encourage a Trump Endangerment reversal. Gorsuch stated in a 2016 opinion that the so-called Chevron Precedent is “difficult to square with the Constitution.” Chevron says courts should defer to federal judges on laws that are ambiguous. He believes it shifts too much power from Congress to unelected bureaucrats.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will need to build a strong case for the reversal, however, because the Supreme Court still does not have a reliable 5-4 conservative majority. Pruitt’s current approach of setting up competing red-teams vs. blue teams must help convince Justice Kennedy that the world today looks much different from when the EPA rubberstamped the IPCC and its failed climate models.

The science was not settled in 2009; and, fortunately, the weight of evidence has since shifted importantly toward the skeptics. It starts with the still-continuing 20-year non-warming. The best “answer” the alarmists can find is that “extra” CO2 heat is hiding in the deep ocean depths. But cold water is heavier than warm water, so the warm water would have warmed the depths on its way down. NASA’s newer and more-accurate data comes from ARGO floats that periodically dive to sample water temperatures 2100 feet below the surface. They find no hidden heat.

Moreover, Earth has been warming, erratically but persistently, since 1715. How much of this warming was due to natural cycles, and how much was man-made? Of any manmade portion, how much was due to CO2, and how much to expanding Urban Heat Islands and cutting down forests? Climate realists say CO2 added barely one degree C; alarmists claim it will increase temperatures by up to 12 degrees C!

How did hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria destroy so much property with only 0.02 degrees C of warming? Britain’s wooden-ship logbooks from 1700 to1850 confirm that there were twice as many major landfalling Caribbean hurricanes per decade during the cold Little Ice Age as during the far warmer years from 1950 to 2000. Nor has the post-1998 weather produced more frequent to intensive storms, longer droughts, or any of the other climate impacts that Obama’s EPA insisted would happen.

The simple truth is that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation has given the world a climate scare every 25 to 30 years since we got thermometers around 1850 (even though the PDO wasn’t even recognized until 1996). In 1845, the ships of Sir John Franklin’s Arctic expedition were crushed by ice. Just 64 years later, in 1909, Roald Amundsen sailed through a relatively warm, ice-free Northwest Passage. In the 1970s, we were warned urgently of a new Ice Age. And then came the “overheated” Al Gore years, 1976-1998.

The huge Pacific Ocean’s 60-year oscillation raises ocean temperatures - and thus the world’s - by 1 to 2 degrees C (1.8 to 3.6 degrees F) for about 30 years, then shifts back again for another 30 years. Every time it shifted in the past, alarmists extended the latest reading in a straight line for five or 20 years and screamed: “Global Disaster!” This time, the alarmists claim the non-warming isn’t real!

Today, there’s no doubt the models have predicted more than twice as much warming as we’ve observed. Given the high number of official thermometers that are located in urban areas and near airport tarmac, the models may be overpredicting by three-fold!

Another major new scientific finding also goes against the alarmists. Last year CERN (the multi-billion-dollar Institute for European Nuclear Research) told CERN Courier subscribers that all the climate models must be re-done. CERN reported that its CLOUD experiment had used its huge particle accelerator and a giant cloud chamber to demonstrate that the sun and cosmic rays are the real “mystery factors” in earth’s climate. The research supports the contention that CO2 is only a bit player.

CERN says the sun was weak during the Little Ice Age (indeed, during all the “little ice ages"). This allowed far more cosmic rays to hit our atmosphere. Those extra hits shattered millions more molecules into zillions of tiny “cloud seeds.” Each cloud seed carried an electric charge that attracted other molecules to form clumps - and gave us up to ten times as many low clouds. Earth cooled for centuries under overcast skies, as if under a giant awning. Then the sun became more active, there were fewer cosmic rays, the skies got sunnier, and Earth warmed - for centuries.

History says the Modern Warming is likely to last at least another two centuries. The Medieval Warming (350 years long) was the shortest past warming we can find. But first, CERN says, we will have to go through a 60-year Solar Sunspot Minimum that will drop Earth’s temperatures even lower than today for the next 60 years. The Minimums are another recently-recognized cycle: up to 200 years long.

How will a century of non-warming possibly endanger Americans? Trump should be eager to take on Obama’s outdated and ill-informed Endangerment Finding.

Dennis Avery is a former U.S. State Department senior analyst and co-author with astrophysicist Fred Singer of Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years.


Sep 23, 2017
Irma illusions - and realities

If human emissions made Irma worse, did they also bring the 12-year lull in Cat 3-5 hurricanes?

Paul Driessen

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma brought out the best in us. Millions of Americans are giving money, toil and sweat to help victims rebuild. Unfortunately, the storms also highlighted some people’s baser instincts.

Some advanced ideological commitments to campaigns to “keep fossil fuels in the ground,” raise energy costs and reduce living standards. Others hyped Harvey’s record rainfalls, claiming carbon dioxide emissions made the Gulf of Mexico warmer and its air more moisture-laden. A few were just obnoxious.

These storms are a product of “this administration’s climate denial, racism and callousness,"350.org activist Jenny Marienau fumed. “How many once-in-a-lifetime storms will it take, until everyone admits manmade climate change is real?!” Daily Show comedian Trevor Noah fulminated.

Perhaps these newly minted “experts” received mail-order degrees in climatology or meteorology - or recently stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. They should at least take a few minutes to review hurricane and climate history, and talk to real climatologists and meteorologists, before launching tirades.

My geology, ecology and other studies taught me that climate change has been “real” throughout history. I’ve learned to be humble, respectful and vigilant in the face of nature’s power; to recognize that climate shifts can range from beneficial or benign to harmful or unbelievably destructive; and to understand that the sun and other powerful natural forces totally dwarf whatever meager powers humans might muster to alter or control Earth’s climate and weather.

Harvey marked the end of a record 12-year absence of Category 3-5 hurricanes hitting the US mainland. The previous 8-year record was set 1860-1869. NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division counts ten Category 4-5 monsters 1920-1969 (50 years) hitting the USA, but only three 1970-2016 (46 years). This year has brought two more, and the hurricane season isn’t over yet.

If Harvey and Irma were caused or intensified by human greenhouse gas emissions, shouldn’t those gases be credited for the 12-year lull and half-century decline in Cat 4-5 landfalling storms? For Irma’s changed intensity and route as it reached Florida and headed north? Certainly not.

If fossil fuels caused Harvey’s rainfall, were previous deluges like Hurricane Easy (45 inches in Florida, 1950), Tropical Cyclone Amelia (48 inches in Texas, 1978) and Tropical Storm Claudette (a record 43 inches in 24 hours on Alvin, Texas, 1979) the result of lower fossil fuel use back then? Highly unlikely.

Indeed, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concludes that neither the frequency of North Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes, nor their energy level, has displayed any trend since 1950. Despite slightly warmer ocean waters in some regions, global Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) levels in recent years have been at their lowest levels since the late 1970s.

When the Pacific Decadal Oscillation is in its cyclical positive phase, the tropics, west coast of North America and our Earth overall get warmer; cooling occurs during the PDO’s negative phase. The Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) also cycles between warm and cool phases, affecting regional and planetary temperatures, as well as hurricane formation, strength and duration.

Any link between hurricanes and human carbon dioxide/greenhouse gas emissions is nebulous, tenuous and very poorly understood at this time. Asserted links to recent hurricanes are ideological illusions.

Hurricane Irma remained symmetrical and grew in size and intensity into the massive Category 5 hurricane seen in satellite photos, because it remained over warm water for a week as it crossed the Atlantic and Caribbean - and was not pulled apart by mid-altitude wind sheer - weather experts explained. Its encounter with Cuba’s coastal lands and mountains finally reduced its wind speeds and disrupted its symmetry.

Over Florida, strong north-to-south winds high in the atmosphere clipped the top off the hurricane. That further disturbed Irma’s shape and intensity, and steered the storm westward as it traveled north up the Citrus State. As is usually the case with storms moving north over Florida and parallel to its west coast, Irma’s front wall began to pull in both drier air and upwelling water. The bigger the storm the more it does this, WeatherBELL Analytics chief forecaster Joe Bastardi explained.

All these factor combined to slow whirling winds in the storm’s eyewall still more. It began wobbling on its axis, and Irma gradually became a disorganized tropical storm after it pounded Fort Meyers.

As to Hurricane Harvey, consulting meteorologist Joe D’Aleo notes that “hurricanes entering Texas are almost always very wet and often stall or meander.” This year, a large cool trough trapped Harvey and kept it from moving inland, enabling the Gulf of Mexico to feed it trillions of gallons of water for days, said Bastardi. It was “an unusual confluence of events,” said Weather Channel founder John Coleman, “but it was certainly not unprecedented.”

If there was a “human factor” in Harvey and Irma, climate alarmists need to explain exactly where it was, how big it was and what role it played. They must present hard evidence to show that fossil fuels and carbon dioxide emissions played a significant role amid, and compared to, the hundreds of natural forces involved in these storms. Their loud rhetoric only highlights their failure and inability to do so.

In fact, the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are warm enough every summer to produce major hurricanes, says climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer. But you also need other conditions, whose origins and mechanisms are still unknown: pre-existing cyclonic circulation off the African coast, upper atmospheric calm, sea surface temperatures that change on a cyclical basis in various regions, to name just a few.

The combination of all these factors - plus weather fronts and land masses along the way - determines whether a hurricane arises, how strong it gets, how long it lasts, and what track it follows.

Damage from hurricanes has certainly increased over the years. But that is because far more people now live and work in far more expensive communities along America’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Since 1920, Greater Houston has grown from 138,000 people to 5.7 million; Miami from 43,000 to 6.1 million; Tampa from 50,000 to 3 million.

Meanwhile, death tolls have declined - at least in countries where fossil fuels, highways and modern technologies enable us to construct stronger buildings, track storms, warn, evacuate and rescue people, and bring in water, food, clothing, and materials to rebuild power lines and buildings in stricken areas.

Over 6,000 people perished in the 1900 Category 4 Galveston Hurricane, 2,500 in the 1928 Okeechobee, Florida Category 4 hurricane and storm surge. More than 1,800 died in Katrina (Category 3), due largely to corrupt and incompetent local and state governments.

Thanks to better preparation, warning and evacuation, overall tragic deaths were kept to 82 from Harvey and 93 from Irma. Incredibly, despite the vicious 185-mph winds that reduced most of Anguilla and Barbuda to rubble, Irma killed only one person on those Caribbean islands.

Even in recent years, cyclones and hurricanes have brought far more death and destruction to poor nations where modern energy and technology are still limited or nonexistent: 400,000 dead in Bangladesh in 1970, 138,000 in Myanmar in 2008, and 19,000 from Hurricane Mitch in Central America in 1998.

It may be fashionable to focus on alleged “social costs of carbon” and asserted fossil fuel contributions to extreme weather events. But it is essential that we never forget the enormous benefits these fuels bring.

Our Earth is a complex, wondrous, resilient planet. But it can unleash incredible fury. Wealthy, technologically advanced nations fueled by oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear power are far better able to avoid, survive and recover from those disasters. We must count our blessings, but always be prepared.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death and other books on the environment.

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