By now, many Americans are familiar with the Obama Environmental Protection Agency’s penchant for imposing hugely expensive, job-killing regulations on vast segments of the US economy - and justifying them by claiming major health or climate protection benefits. We are also increasingly aware of the agency’s reliance on highly questionable research, often conducted by teams that are selected and funded by EPA ... and then promoted by activist groups and agency advisory committees that are also selected and funded by the agency.
In this informative and thought-provoking article, Dr. Charles Battig, MD examines these EPA practices in detail. His analysis makes it abundantly clear that EPA has become a rogue, secretive, unaccountable agency that clearly must be returned to at least some measure of congressional oversight, control and accountability, at the very least under the Secret Science Reform Act.
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Driving policies through fraud and fear-mongering
A physician offers sanity-based perspectives on EPA’s “Data Derangement Syndrome”
By Charles G. Battig, MD
Propaganda tactics employed by the Environmental Protection and its activist allies increasingly employ emotion as a primary media tool. Mothers and children pose on the US Capitol steps, waving signs that claim they are fighting for clean air and their children’s health. Images of these “lovable lobbyists” for EPA’s Clean Power Plan and other rules are intentionally heart-tugging.
It is maternal instinct versus scientific facts; emotions versus informed debate. If EPA issues dire warnings, that is all these moms need to hear. Indeed, it is hard to overcome such pleadings with cold facts alone.
The well-orchestrated “do something” demonstrations enable politicians and agencies to devise and implement new legislation and regulations. It is much like physicians who succumb to patients’ “do something” demands by prescribing antibiotics for common colds. It is a useless, if not dangerous practice.
The public’s general fear of anything labeled a chemical, or requiring some comfort with numbers, is a powerful psychological tool for alarmists. In-the-street TV interviews showing fearful reactions to di-hydrogen monoxide represent but one example. The scary-sounding chemical, of course, is H2O: ordinary water.
If the air is hazy, even from natural sources like pine trees, many people automatically assume it is injurious to their health, even if the “pollution” levels are perfectly safe. The dose makes the poison. It’s even worse for invisible toxins. The linear no-threshold mindset now governs virtually all government toxicology programs.
The attitude assumes there is no safe limit. Any and all substances in any amount may be injurious to health, until proven otherwise. Forgone possible health or economic benefits from the demonized substances are not considered. Economist Julian Simon coined the term “false bad news” to describe how activists, regulators and the media make innocuous substances sound harmful, when they target something and set-out to ban it.
These crusaders ignore impartial and even convincing scientific rebuttals, since they specialize in publicizing bad news and perpetuating their own prejudiced agendas. Hollywood celebrities and politicians have become pseudo-authoritative fonts of pseudo-scientific knowledge for the media-obsessed public. Actors should be the least believable, as they make a career by pretending to be what they are not and regurgitating words written for them by others. But somehow they become star experts. Many career politicians are little better.
EPA reports that the six major Clean Air Act pollutants have declined some 62% on average. Meanwhile, reported asthma incidence has risen from 8.9% in 2005 to 9.4% in 2010. How can that be? EPA blames air pollution. But more likely factors include increased public awareness and reporting; expanding the agency’s asthma definition to include all reactive airway diseases; and blunted development of natural immunity, as children exercise less and play less outdoors, in environments that may now be too clean to challenge and bolster developing immune systems.
EPA’s guiding principles seem to be “never let a hypothetical disease go to waste” and “look for data that prove the assumption” (but ignore all unsupportive data). A favorite new bogeyman is what EPA calls PM2.5 (particulate matter or soot 2.5 microns or smaller in diameter). Pollutants like this are appropriately categorized under the rubric of DDS: “Designer Disease Syndrome” or “Data Derangement Syndrome.”
PM2.5 is a most peculiar disease-causing agent, compared to traditional agents. Its pathophysiologic mechanism is undefined, even by EPA. It includes multiple substances whose only common characteristic is that they are really tiny: human hair is 16 to 48 times wider than 2.5 microns. However, they must pose a substantial health threat because EPA says they do - even though the particles have no unique chemical composition, arise from both natural and manmade activities, and vary in composition from one geographic location to another and over different periods of time.
EPA claims inhaling PM2.5 can cause death, including sudden death and long-term death (which the agency calls “premature deaths"). But what level is healthy or safe, and by whose and what criteria? Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson must have known, since she told Congress in 2011: “If we could reduce particulate matter to healthy levels, it would have the same impact as finding a cure for cancer in our country.”
Her claim has no scientific basis, and underscores EPA’s growing credibility problem. The agency claims PM2.5 particles cause death. However, epidemiological studies provide no direct evidence of definitive causation, or even validated explanations for the biological mechanisms allegedly causing death.
EPA claims “epidemiological studies ... have found consistent, precise positive associations between short-term exposure to PM2.5 and cardiovascular mortality… at short lags (0-1 days).” Do we really face a zero to one-day timeframe? Is EPA predicting near-instant deaths? Even if so called precise positive associations exist - and EPA has not shown that they actually do - how does this demonstrate cause-and-effect relationships?
Even EPA’s epidemiological tests on human subjects do not show such relationships. Volunteers were told PM2.5 is associated with health risks and death. However, EPA had conducted “297 controlled human exposures” to PM2.5, while encountering only “one clinically significant event” - and even that study participant experienced “no harm or injury.” Some tests even involved pollution levels close to what a person might encounter in “a typical urban center in America on a smoggy day,” also with no problems.
Valid, useful experimental designs must define what animal species, human test subjects and dose sizes are involved. Were all possible confounding factors identified and accounted for? Were these valid, random population samples or biased selections? Were the computers programmed to find the sought-for correlations? We do not know. But we do know that weak statistical correlations are being presented as proof of cause-and-effect. We do know that EPA is a master at trolling data banks to find needle-in-the-haystack clinical correlations that can be used to predict “dire risks” and project “deep concerns” to mothers.
EPA has conducted controlled human exposure studies to air pollutants for more than thirty years, at the University of North Carolina. During that time, more than six-thousand volunteers were studied, without a single serious adverse event.
The Harvard Six Cities Study (Laden et al 2006) provides a key scientific basis for EPA claims regarding supposed PM toxicology. Yet examination of the data shows that the statistical “relative risk” (RR) for total mortality claims ranges from below one to barely above one and a fraction. That does not meet the minimum legal standard of a RR of at least 2 to identify a significant population risk.
Even worse, the Harvard study teams have walled-off their raw clinical data from independent investigators, by claiming patient confidentiality, thereby preventing verification of results by other experts. Independent reproducibility and verification of test results are the traditional (and essential) hallmarks of scientific research. Invoking patient confidentiality to block access to raw data casts doubt on the entire process, especially since providing adequate patient confidentiality is rather easy to do.
So is there a health problem to investigate, or not? How much more testing do we need to demonstrate an actual problem? It looks more like a disease concept in search of a susceptible victim.
Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) has led the congressional effort to make governmental agencies provide open disclosure of data and analyses used to formulate policy. The Secret Science Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 1030) is designed to ensure such ethical behavior. Public funds support most such research, which is used to justify costly rules. We have a right to expect that our funds are used in an open and ethical manner.
EPA claims PM2.5 mortality begins at just 35µg/m3. Then why are airport smokers and the Shanghai population not dropping dead on the spot? Airport smoker lounges have ambient levels of 600 to 10,000micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter. A single draw on a cigarette floods a smoker’s lungs with 10,000µg to 40,000micrograms. The Shanghai press reports PM outdoor levels of 600micrograms/m3 - and says average life expectancy there is 82.5 years - greater than in any major US city. Where are our overflowing emergency rooms and mortuaries?
EPA’s chosen path has been to fabricate a PM2.5 disease entity, endow it with a unique pathological profile, fund scientific reviewers who support its claims, and present as proof of serious health impacts the favorable published reviews it paid for - while ignoring contrary findings by other scientists. Post-modern medicine has fused with post-modern pseudo-science. This perverse combination does not justify expensive regulations that kill jobs and impair people’s health and welfare.
Charles G. Battig, MD is a physician in Charlottesville, VA: www.Climateis.com. This article is based on his presentation at the Heartland Institute’s 2015 International Conference on Climate Change.
Dr. Ivar Giaever, a Nobel Prize-Winner for physics in 1973, declared his dissent on man-made global warming claims at a Nobel forum on July 1, 2015.
“I would say that basically global warming is a non-problem,” Dr. Giaever announced during his speech titled “Global Warming Revisited.”
Giaever, a former professor at the School of Engineering and School of Science Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, received the 1973 physics Nobel for his work on quantum tunneling. Giaever delivered his remarks at the 65th Nobel Laureate Conference in Lindau, Germany, which drew 65 recipients of the prize. Giaever is also featured in the new documentary “Climate Hustle”, set for release in Fall 2015.
Giaever was one of President Obama’s key scientific supporters in 2008 when he joined over 70 Nobel Science Laureates in endorsing Obama in an October 29, 2008 open letter. Giaever signed his name to the letter which read in part: “The country urgently needs a visionary leader...We are convinced that Senator Barack Obama is such a leader, and we urge you to join us in supporting him.”
But seven years after signing the letter, Giaever now mocks President Obama for warning that :no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change”. Giaever called it a “ridiculous statement.” “That is what he said. That is a ridiculous statement,” Giaever explained.
“I say this to Obama: Excuse me, Mr. President, but you’re wrong. Dead wrong,” Giaever said. (Watch Giaever’s full 30-minute July 1 speech here.)
“How can he say that? I think Obama is a clever person, but he gets bad advice. Global warming is all wet,” he added.
“Obama said last year that 2014 is hottest year ever. But it’s not true. It’s not the hottest,” Giaever noted. [Note: Other scientists have reversed themselves on climate change. See: Politically Left Scientist Dissents - Calls President Obama ‘delusional’ on global warming]
The Nobel physicist questioned the basis for rising carbon dioxide fears.
“When you have a theory and the theory does not agree with the experiment then you have to cut out the theory. You were wrong with the theory,” Giaever explained.
Global Warming ‘a new religion’
Giaever said his climate research was eye opening. “I was horrified by what I found” after researching the issue in 2012, he noted.
“Global warming really has become a new religion. Because you cannot discuss it. It’s not proper. It is like the Catholic Church.”
Concern Over ‘Successful’ UN Climate Treaty
“I am worried very much about the [UN] conference in Paris in November. I really worry about that. Because the [2009 UN] conference was in Copenhagen and that almost became a disaster but nothing got decided. But now I think that the people who are alarmist are in a very strong position,” Giaever said.
“The facts are that in the last 100 years we have measured the temperatures it has gone up 0.8 degrees and everything in the world has gotten better. So how can they say it’s going to get worse when we have the evidence? We live longer, better health, and better everything. But if it goes up another 0.8 degrees we are going to die I guess,” he noted.
“I would say that the global warming is basically a non-problem. Just leave it alone and it will take care of itself. It is almost very hard for me to understand why almost every government in Europe - except for Polish government - is worried about global warming. It must be politics.”
“So far we have left the world in better shape than when we arrived, and this will continue with one exception - we have to stop wasting huge, I mean huge amounts of money on global warming. We have to do that or that may take us backwards. People think that is sustainable but it is not sustainable.”
On Global Temperatures & CO2
Giaever noted that global temperatures have halted for the past 18 plus years. [Editor’s Note: Climate Depot is honored that Giaever used an exclusive Climate Depot graph showing the RSS satellite data of an 18 year plus standstill in temperatures at 8:48 min. into video.]
The Great Pause lengthens again: Global temperature update: The Pause is now 18 years 3 months (219 months)
Giaever accused NASA and federal scientists of “fiddling” with temperatures.
“They can fiddle with the data. That is what NASA does.”
“You cannot believe the people - the alarmists - who say CO2 is a terrible thing. Its not true, its absolutely not true,” Giaever continued while showing a slide asking: ‘Do you believe CO2 is a major climate gas?’
“I think the temperature has been amazingly stable. What is the optimum temperature of the earth? Is that the temperature we have right now? That would be a miracle. No one has told me what the optimal temperature of the earth should be,” he said.
“How can you possibly measure the average temperature for the whole earth and come up with a fraction of a degree. I think the average temperature of earth is equal to the emperor’s new clothes. How can you think it can measure this to a fraction of a degree? It’s ridiculous,” he added.
Giaever accused Nature Magazine of “wanting to cash in on the [climate] fad.” “My friends said I should not make fun of Nature because then they won’t publish my papers,” he explained.
“No one mentions how important CO2 is for plant growth. It’s a wonderful thing. Plants are really starving. They don’t talk about how good it is for agriculture that CO2 is increasing,” he added.
Extreme Weather claims
“The other thing that amazes me is that when you talk about climate change it is always going to be the worst. It’s got to be better someplace for heaven’s sake. It can’t always be to the worse,” he said.
“Then comes the clincher. If climate change does not scare people we can scare people talking about the extreme weather,” Giaever said. “For the last hundred years, the ocean has risen 20 cm - but for the previous hundred years the ocean also has risen 20 cm and for the last 300 years, the ocean has also risen 20 cm per 100 years. So there is no unusual rise in sea level. And to be sure you understand that I will repeat it. There is no unusual rise in sea level,” Giaever said. “If anything we have entered period of low hurricanes. These are the facts,” he continued.
“You don’t have to even be a scientist to look at these figures and you understand what it says,” he added.
“Same thing is for tornadoes. We are in a low period on in U.S.” (See: Extreme weather failing to follow ‘global warming’ predictions: Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Droughts, Floods, Wildfires, all see no trend or declining trends)
“What people say is not true. I spoke to a journalist with [German newspaper Die Welt yesterday...and I asked how many articles he published that says global warming is a good thing. He said I probably don’t publish them at all. Its always a negative. Always,” Giever said.
“They say refugees are trying to cross the Mediterranean. These people are not fleeing global warming, they are fleeing poverty,” he noted. “If you want to help Africa, help them out of poverty, do not try to build solar cells and windmills,” he added. “Are you wasting money on solar cells and windmills rather than helping people? These people have been misled. It costs money in the end to that. Windmills cost money.” Cheap energy is what made us so rich and now suddenly people don’t want it anymore.”
“People say oil companies are the big bad people. I don’t understand why they are worse than the windmill companies. General Electric makes windmills. They don’t tell you that they are not economical because they make money on it. But nobody protests GE, but they protest Exxon who makes oil,” he noted.
Dr. Ivar Giaever resigned as a Fellow from the American Physical Society (APS) on September 13, 2011 in disgust over the group’s promotion of man-made global warming fears. In addition to Giaever, other prominent scientists have resigned from APS over its stance on man-made global warming.
The Supreme Court decided against EPA’s rule to limit trace emissions of mercury and other substances from power plants.
This is good news.
The Court held that EPA failed to perform a meaningful cost-benefit analysis in promulgating the rule. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, held that, “EPA strayed well beyond the bounds of reasonable interpretation in concluding that cost is not a factor relevant to the appropriateness of regulating power plants.”
This rule has been termed the costliest regulation ever. It has already caused damage to our economy and, if fully implemented, could be even more devastating.
Professor Willie Soon and CFACT senior policy advisor Paul Driessen co-authored an article regarding the EPA’s mercury rule that provides valuable perspective. In it they note:
“The latest government, university and independent studies reveal that those power plants emit an estimated 41-48 tons of mercury per year. However, U.S. forest fires emit at least 44 tons per year; cremation of human remains discharges 26 tpy; Chinese power plants eject 400 tpy; and volcanoes, subsea vents, geysers and other sources spew out 9,000-10,000 additional tons per year!”
All these emissions enter the global atmospheric system and become part of the U.S. air mass.
Thus, U.S. power plants account for less than 0.5% of all the mercury in the air Americans breathe. Even eliminating every milligram of this mercury will do nothing about the other 99.5% in America’s atmosphere.”
You can read it in its entirety here.
As several news sources note, this Supreme Court ruling could also have implications for the President’s forthcoming plans to limit carbon emissions. Let’s hope it does -
Especially for the sake of working families and the poor.
The National Black Chamber of Commerce just released a study concluding EPA’s power plant carbon rule “would increase black poverty by 23 percent and cause the loss of 7 million jobs for black Americans by 2035.” The study also found that the EPA’ plan “would increase Hispanic poverty by 26 percent and cause the loss of 12 million jobs for Hispanic Americans by 2035.”
Of course, EPA may try to re-promulgate its mercury rule with a cost-benefit analysis attached. If that analysis is done honestly, the rule will be exposed for the mistake it is.
In the meantime, we have reason to be pleased with this Supreme Court ruling. It provides some good news headed into the 4th of July.
For nature and people too,
Craig Rucker, Executive Director
NOTE: Seeking ALPHA comments: Coal stocks are rallying after the Supreme Court threw out the EPA’s first-ever rules requiring coal-fired power plants to cut emissions of mercury and other toxic air pollutants, saying the agency should have weighed the cost of compliance in deciding whether to regulate.The ruling means the EPA must go back to the drawing board, which possibly could push any new emissions rules past Pres. Obama’s time in office.
U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Spells Trouble For Obama’s Climate Agenda
Monday’s ruling could compel agencies to take costs into account when deciding to regulate.
President Obama has made it clear that his Environmental Protection Agency will use its regulatory power to install limits on carbon dioxide and toxic-air pollutants for everything from power plants to trucks.
But Monday’s Supreme Court decision against EPA is a reminder that the biggest threat to Obama’s green legacy and the sweeping regulatory agenda that the administration is racing to cement before the president leaves office comes from the courts.
The 5-4 decision, with the majority opinion penned by Justice Antonin Scalia, ruled that EPAviolated the law by failing to consider cost in deciding to regulate toxic-air pollution from power plants. That verdict is a setback to the administration at a time when all hands on deck are needed to defend the president’s climate agenda.
It creates uncertainty over the fate of a key pillar of the president’s efforts to curb air pollution and hands a fresh set of talking points to opponents of the rule as they argue that the administration overreached.
The biggest impact, however, may be felt down the road - and across the entire federal government.
Some legal experts contend that the ruling could send a message to federal agencies that they must demonstrate that they have taken cost into account when deciding to regulate - and that if an agency ignores cost, it does so at its own peril.
“This is a groundbreaking administrative-law case,” said Justin Savage, a former Justice Department environmental lawyer who served under the administrations of George W. Bush and Obama and a partner with the law firm Hogan Lovells. “It essentially says that when a statute is ambiguous an agency must consider costs.”
“The reason I’m struck by this and a bit troubled is that there’s a real question of whether this decision applies broadly. And I read it as applying broadly,” said Lisa Heinzerling, a Georgetown law professor and senior climate-policy counsel to former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
If that precedent sticks, it could throw a wrench into the gears of the regulatory machine if agencies must devote additional time and resources making sure their cost calculations hold up in court.
“After this decision, an agency would not want to walk into court saying, ‘Your Honor, we did not consider costs at all when deciding to take regulatory action on an issue,’” said Jonathan Adler, an environmental law professor at Case Western Reserve University.
Even if the court decision does not set such a precedent, Republicans and industry challengers say Monday’s verdict proves that the administration overstepped the limits of the law.
“The mere fact that the EPA wished to ignore the costs of its rules demonstrates how little the agency is concerned about the effects it has on the American people,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said after the ruling was handed down. “From its ozone, to greenhouse gas, to navigable waters rules, the EPA continues to burden the public with more and more costs, even as so many are still struggling to get by and improve their lives in this economy.”
The Supreme Court’s decision to side against the agency also serves as a painful reminder to the administration that it may not always see its regulatory actions upheld in the face of legal challenges.
As usual, NOAA climate ‘scientists’ view tropical ocean temperatures with AGW biases
Due to a significant warming trend in the Nino-3.4 region since 1950, El Nino and La Nina episodes that are defined by a single fixed 30-year base period (e.g. 1971-2000) are increasingly incorporating longer-term trends that do not reflect interannual ENSO variability. In order to remove this warming trend, CPC is adopting a new strategy to update the base period.
The reality is the NINO34 has not changed at all since 1979. Most of the so called warming occurred in the Great Pacific Climate Shift in 1977 which moved the Pacific from a cold mode (cold PDO) favoring La Ninas to the warm phase (warm PDO) favoring El Ninos.
Global monthly sea surface temperature (SST) in the Nino 3.4 region (5N-5S, 170W-120W) of the central Pacific Ocean since 1979 according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center. Last month shown: May 2015. Last diagram update: 4 June 2015.
The Pacific ocean down to 300 meters in the entire stretch from 130E to 80W showed no warming in that period.
The tropical hot spot as shown in all greenhouse models where CO2 allegedly traps heat and warms the high atmosphere with the boosting effect of condensation from enhanced convection in an assumed moistened state is absent in both weather balloon and satellite data. This in turn is supposed to radiate down to warm the surface and oceans in the models. These failures along with the lack of warming for over 18.6 years in satellite and balloon data should totally invalidate the theory. Instead under pressure from ideologially driven politicians and green NGOs, the advocates spend much of ther time trying to find the hidden warming and adjusting data to make it seem to fit the theory.
The many excuses for the so called ‘pause’ NOAA’s failed effort to erase are comical. The heat is hidden in the oceans is belied by the fact that a warming of the deep oceans would accelerate sea level rise and instead the sea levels rises have slowed to between 4 and 7 inches/century. The solar cycles and the changes of the many solar factors shows a perfect fit to sea level changes (Nir Shaviv ) .
Fiddling with the data
What could be more embarrassing for those who say climate science is “settled” than for scientific observations to reveal their dire predictions are not coming true?
Every day more scientific data emerge that poke cavernous holes into the warming narrative, and maybe that’s why some in the warmist camp are willing to tinker with the evidence.
Disturbingly, NOAA recently made a shoddy attempt to conjure up a 21st century “warming trend” by ignoring satellite data (the best available), and adjusting measurements from research buoys upward to match data from shipping, which is the least reliable.
Fortunately they didn’t get away with it.
Climatologists Pat Michaels, Richard Lindzen, and Chip Knappenberger were onto them. They pointed out that “the NOAA team adjusted sea-surface temperature (SST) data from buoys upward by 0.12C, to make them ‘homogenous’ with lengthier records from engine intake systems in ships. However, engine intake data are ‘clearly contaminated by heat conduction’ from the ships, and the data were never intended for scientific use -whereas the global buoy network was designed for environmental monitoring.”
So why not adjust the ship data downward, to “homogenize” them with buoy data, and account for the contamination? Perhaps because, as Georgia Tech climatologist Judith Curry observed, this latest NOAA analysis “will be regarded as politically useful for the Obama Administration.”
Global warming pressure groups and the White House hope to keep our eyes off inconvenient data, either by manipulating it or distracting us with scare stories in the media, until after President Obama signs our energy future away at the UN climate conference in Paris.
Unfortunately for them, facts are facts.
The Earth is actually cooler than climate models project and the weather is normal. Extreme weather, as the data show, has been unusually tame.
Energy expert Tom Tamarkin and CFACT senior policy advisor Paul Driessen have also done their part to expose some of the propaganda tricks being played by Green advocates to lock the world’s nations into a UN climate agreement while President Obama is still in office.
In their recent article, Tamarkin and Driessen remind us that, “no category 3-5 hurricane has hit the United States for a record 9-1/2 years. Tornadoes, droughts, polar bears, polar ice, sea levels and wildfires are all in line with (or improvements on) historic patterns and trends. The Sahel is green again, thanks to that extra CO2. And the newly invented disasters they want to attribute to fossil fuel-driven climate change - allergies, asthma, ISIS and Boko Haram - don’t even pass the laugh test.”
Of course, the very notion of “settled” science is a direct contradiction of the scientific method.
If the data disprove a theory, the theory must change.
Shame on those who are trying to bend the rules.