A Proposed Early Priority for the Trump Administration: A Letter to USEPA to Reconsider and Withdraw Its GHG Endangerment Finding

Alan Carlin | November 9, 2016

In March, 2009 I prepared almost 100 pages of comments to EPA concerning the need to revise the draft Technical Support Document (TSD) for the EPA Endangerment Finding for Greenhouse Gases (GHGs).

The three main points in my comments were that the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) hypothesis is invalid from a scientific viewpoint because it fails a number of critical comparisons with available observable data, that the TSD draft was seriously dated and the updates made to an earlier 2007 version were inadequate, and that EPA should make an independent analysis of the science of global warming rather than adopting the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and US Government reports based on it.

EPA chose to suppress my comments, ignore these recommendations, and issue its GHG Endangerment Finding late in 2009. As I had feared the Finding laid the legal framework for the issuance of a number of EPA regulations intended to reduce emissions of GHGs.

Subsequent research outlined in my book, Environmentalism Gone Mad, made an even stronger case that the alarmist “science” presented in the EPA GHG Endangerment Finding TSD as well as the IPCC reports are scientifically invalid. A new report provides even more conclusive evidence in this regard. There is now overwhelming evidence that the EPA GHG Endangerment Finding is simply wrong and needs to be reconsidered and withdrawn before it leads to even greater economic harm by incorrectly justifying CO2 EPA-imposed emissions reductions that have no measurable effects on global temperatures.

I hope that the new Trump Administration will make this an early priority at EPA if the outgoing Obama Administration fails to do so.

The following letter to five current EPA officials makes the formal case for this:

November 5, 2016

Mr. Arthur A. Elkins, Jr.
Inspector General
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Mailcode 2410T)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460

Dear Mr. Elkins:

We write to request that EPA forthwith reconsider – or, more accurately, that it properly consider for the first time – its so-called “Endangerment Finding” (EF) of December 2009 with respect to atmospheric greenhouse gases. As you know, in the EF EPA concluded that certain atmospheric greenhouse gases “endanger both the public health and the public welfare of current and future generations.”

Real-world events described below, both prior and subsequent to the adoption of the EF, have thoroughly discredited the basis on which EPA purported to adopt the Finding, and indeed have completely undermined each of the three “lines of evidence” on which EPA said it relied for its action. In short, the EF has been definitively invalidated by real-world evidence in accordance with the scientific method. This highly embarrassing situation for EPA is not unexpected, as the EF was adopted by means of a completely deficient process.

As Inspector General of EPA, you are the key person in a position to right this ship. Because of the numerous glaring deficiencies in the process by which the EF was adopted, you have the ability, and indeed the obligation, to takes steps that should lead to a proper reconsideration of the Finding.

During 2009, in the period leading to adoption of the EF, numerous public comments and submissions were provided to EPA. In one such submission, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a petition in which it, among other things, (1) requested a hearing on the proposed EF under 5 U.S.C. Sections 556-57, with all proceedings on the record, and with parties able to submit supporting documents, data and presentations, and (2) asked that EPA have the benefit of full input from its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee. EPA declined to grant these requests.

A key comment submitted to EPA in connection with its adoption of the EF, dated October 7, 2009, came from a large group of some thirty-five prominent scientists. I attach a copy of that comment letter. In addition to pointing out deficiencies in EPA’s process, the October 7, 2009 Letter also enumerated the major questions that EPA would need to answer definitively in order to have proper support for the EF. The letter stated:

      “[W]e urge the EPA to address four critical questions, which, in addition to the issues enumerated in the Chamber’s Petition, are central to the EPA’s proposed rulemaking. Indeed, these questions require careful analysis before intelligent public policy can be promulgated. They are:
        1 Is the Earth’s climate changing in an unusual or anomalous fashion?
        2 Does the science permit rejection of the hypothesis that CO is only a minor player in the Earth’s climate system?
        3 Can climate models that assume CO is a key determinant of climate change provide forecasts of future conditions that are adequate for policy analysis?
        4 Can we reject the hypothesis that the primary drivers of the Earth’s climate system will continue to be natural (non-anthropogenic) forces and internal climate variability?”

EPA failed properly to address or answer any of these questions. Instead, it proceeded largely on the basis of unverified climate models and politicized lobbying.

The accumulation of real-world evidence since 2009 has completely undermined whatever basis ever existed for the EF. Most recently, on September 21, 2016 a major Research Report by Wallace, et al., was published on the ICECAP website and at various other locations.
The new Research Report is a definitive invalidation of each of EPA’s three lines of evidence for its EF. The Research Report is based on the best available empirical evidence of world temperatures from thirteen independently-constructed sources, and utilizes the most mathematically rigorous mathematical techniques. The three principal conclusions of the Research Report, which relate directly to each of EPA’s Lines of Evidence, are as follows:

      • “These analysis results would appear to leave very, very little doubt but that EPA’s claim of a Tropical Hot Spot (THS), caused by rising atmospheric CO levels, simply does not exist in the real world.
      • “Once EPA’s THS assumption is invalidated, it is obvious why the climate models they claim can be relied upon, are also invalid.”
      • “[T]his analysis failed to find that the steadily rising Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations have had a statistically significant impact on any of the 13 critically important temperature time series data analyzed.” – – – – “[T]hese results clearly demonstrate – 13 times in fact – that once just the ENSO [El Nino/La Nina] impacts on temperature data are accounted for, there is no “record setting” warming to be concerned about. In fact, there is no ENSO-Adjusted Warming at all.”

Based on the Research Report, the undersigned sent letters to each of the various scientific societies that have backed EPA’s “consensus science” approach to climate change issues, asking them to reconsider their positions. An exemplar of one of those letters is attached.

This situation is rapidly developing into a serious embarrassment for EPA. The economic stakes could not be higher. European nations that have pursued energy policies similar to those pushed by EPA have seen their costs of electricity multiply, and millions of their citizens thrown into energy poverty. It is high time that EPA conduct a proper evaluation of its endangerment hypothesis. Such a proper evaluation should at the minimum include on the record hearings, with opportunities for parties to present supporting data and evidence, as well as full involvement from the Scientific Advisory Committee.

Very truly yours,

Francis Menton
Law Office of Francis Menton
85 Broad Street, 18th floor
New York, New York 10004

Alan Carlin
Webmaster, carlineconomics.com

Mr. Menton is a lawyer in New York. He has represented numerous scientists, among them the authors and many of the reviewers of the Research Report cited in this letter, in making submissions as amici curiae to courts including the D.C. Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court on issues related to energy and climate matters.

Dr. Carlin is a retired senior analyst and manager at the US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, 1971-2010; previously he was an economist at the RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA. He is the author of Environmentalism Gone Mad, Stairway Press, and the author or coauthor of about 40 other professional publications including many on climate science and economics. He has a PhD in economics from MIT and a BS in physics from Caltech.

Ms. Gina McCarthy
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Ms. Janet McCabe
Acting Administrator for Air and Radiation
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Dr. Ana V. Diez Roux
Chairperson, Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Dr. Peter S. Thorne
Chairman, Science Advisory Board
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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