Rattle That Regulatory Saber

"OBAMA TO REGULATE u2018POLLUTANT' CO2" screams the headline. Thus does our most recent fearless leader thumb his nose at We the People. Not trusting to democratic institutions like Congress, Obama hides behind EPA's skirts in a spineless ploy to have his way mandated upon us.

Straightforward or transparent legislation was not looking promising. The U.S. Senate voted down Obama's climate plan. Climate czar Carol Browner has been so rebuffed by the Senate moderates that no one was wagering that cap and trade climate legislation was going to get passed. Did Browner put her old EPA hat back on to help rattle this saber? How embarrassing for greens to hold so many political Democratic Party cards and still be so impotent.

It overall is a very bad day for pushing expensive climate change alarmism. Climate policies are shifting toward reason, sobriety, debate, engaged real science, and fiscal restraint.

Obama ought to have second thoughts about the advice he's being given when so many prominent scientists are freshly skeptical:

  • Freeman Dyson, professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton, has become outspoken and critical of the computer models which are driving climate alarmism. Dyson says, "I have studied the climate models and I know what they can do. The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in." Dyson tackles these bogus climate models along with stratospheric cooling in two short YouTube videos.
  • Antonio Zichichi, president of the World Federation of Scientists, is now saying that "models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are incoherent and invalid from a scientific point of view."
  • Richard Lindzen, Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT, takes a harder look at negative climate feedbacks. "Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century's developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age."
  • Australia's foremost Earth scientist, Ian Plimer, publishes Heaven And Earth: Global-Warming – The Missing Science. The inconvenient professor Plimer states that "The hypothesis that human activity can create global warming is extraordinary because it is contrary to validated knowledge from solar physics, astronomy, history, archaeology and geology."
  • A U.S. Navy physicist warns of possibly "several decades of crushing cold temperatures and global famine." Concern about cooling becomes commonplace. Mother Nature might even be credited with saving capitalism if this climate realism can end the suffocating alarmism. Russia airs cooling concerns freely. The Russians say our twelve-thousand-year-long warm period is ending and we are entering another ice age.
  • Scientific graphs (within the PDF report) show global temperature has been falling for seven years. The graphs also show "CO2 concentration had been rising at about half the UN’s central estimate, requiring its warming projections to be halved and rendering them harmless; and that 20 years of satellite observations of changes in outgoing long-wave radiation had demonstrated conclusively that the UN had exaggerated the effect of CO2 on temperature by a factor of 7–10. The economic graph showed the cost of adapting to “global warming” (if and when it resumed) as being many times cheaper than the cost of attempting to mitigate it."

Obama's running out of time to force us to swallow his catastrophic global warming agenda. The catastrophe evaporates as the harsh reality of the economic costs of such a global climate bureaucracy become clearer. Climate policies in Europe are changing rapidly. France's most eminent climate skeptic, Claude Allegre, is likely to become that country's equivalent head of the EPA. The G-20 meeting in London earlier this month ignored climate change. The G-20's written statement mentioned the word "climate" only two times out of 3,146 words. Expectations are falling rapidly for the Copenhagen Climate Convention efforts this December to birth Son-of-Kyoto.

"OBAMA’S GREEN POLICY WILL KILL U.S. ECONOMY, SAYS OIL CHIEF" screams another headline. Has this President forgotten already that our U.S. economy is in a protracted nosedive? His budget calls for a $646 billion climate tax through a carbon-trading system that will throttle taxpayers. White House officials already admit this tax could be three times larger. A family of four could have to shell out nearly $45,000 in climate taxes during the coming decade. And that is all before the EPA gets started regulating. Whatever is he thinking of?

Some states have not waited for any EPA to tell them they can't breathe out. They've gotten a jump on rationing energy. One victim is protesting. An electric utility sues New York over CO2 regulation. The utility valiantly fights the state on claims broadly ranging from "impermissible taxation" to Constitutional violations. I wish the utility well, but our government has never met a tax that was "impermissible" and doesn't appear to give a flip about the Constitution.

That having been said, you can take action on the EPA's proposed action. The EPA's action is that the EPA Administrator signed a proposal with two distinct findings regarding greenhouse gases under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act:

  • The Administrator is proposing to find that the current and projected concentrations of the mix of six key greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) – in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations. This is referred to as the endangerment finding.
  • The Administrator is further proposing to find that the combined emissions of CO2, CH4, N2O, and HFCs from new motor vehicles and motor vehicle engines contribute to the atmospheric concentrations of these key greenhouse gases and hence to the threat of climate change. This is referred to as the cause or contribute finding.

This proposed action would not itself impose any requirements on industry or other entities. An endangerment finding under one provision of the Clean Air Act would not by itself automatically trigger regulation under the entire Act.

The public comment period is open for 60 days. Take the gloves off. Submit written comments. Attend one of two hearings. Support those who do. Obama has to already know that this issue is going to take him down. Whatever is he thinking of?

April 20, 2009