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Government Running Full Speed Ahead Into Expensive Policies Based On Politics, Not Science

It is truly scary when politicians, like Al Gore, claim that the science is settled! First of all, Al Gore is NOT a scientist. He has no meaningful credentials in that area, at all. He is, from birth, a Politician. He was born to a politician, raised in a political household, and lives and breathes politics. Of course, he is also a complete hypocrite. While telling everyone that they must conserve, and be inconvenienced, he jets around the world in private aircraft, and lives in a 20 room mansion. In 2005 and 2006, his average utility bill was about $30,000 per year, 20 times that of an average American family. (1)

Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and, in America, we should be able to live in the home of our choice, and keep it as lit, or dark, cool, or warm, as we choose. (As long as we can afford the home and the energy.) The problem is when people who do not understand science, or worse, ignore science, try to control the lives of others. This is especially onerous when politicians use science of questionable integrity, or that may not be totally up-to-date, and use it to tax the citizens. And, while that is bad enough, it is totally irresponsible when the economy is already teetering on the brink of disaster. (And, lets remember just whose policies put the economy on the brink of disaster. Sure, there were a lot of bad business people making a lot of bad deals, and too many MBA’s trying to justify their jobs by creating financial derivatives that virtually nobody could understand. But, what really caused this house of cards to collapse was the government forcing banks to give mortgage loans to people who could not possibly afford them, and to people who were too stupid to understand what they were getting themselves into.)

Now, it seems, the government is falling all over itself to pass a cap and trade bill. Of course, this is nothing more than a massive tax, that will enrich certain corporations and politicians and former politicians, while picking the pockets of an already overtaxed, underemployed American populace. Politicians like Al Gore and Obama say the science is settled. That just shows how little they understand science, since science is never settled. Scientists always want new evidence to further strengthen, or weaken, their theories. If new data comes in that tends to disprove a theory, then the the theory is either adjusted, or abandoned.

In March of 2009, the EPA produced a document called “Proposed NCEE Comments on Draft Technical Support Document for Endangerment Analysis for Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act”. It was based on the draft Technical Support Document for Endangerment Analysis for Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act issued by the Climate Change Division of the Office of Atmospheric Programs on March 9, 2009. (Document referred to as TSD.) The very first sentence of the Preface to the Proposed NCEE Comments document states:

We have become increasingly concerned that EPA and many other agencies and countries have paid too little attention to the science of global warming. EPA and others have tended to accept the findings reached by outside groups, particularly the IPCC and the CCSP, as being correct without a careful and critical examination of their conclusions and documentation. If they should be found to be incorrect at a later date, however, and EPA is found not to have made a really careful review of them before reaching its decisions on endangerment, it appears likely that it is EPA rather than these other groups that may be blamed for this error.

This is raising a clear flag that there may be problems with the science, either because it is wrong, or because it is dated. Follow this up with the content of an e-mail, dated March 17, 2009, sent to Alan Carlin, one of the authors of the Proposed NCEE Comments, by Al McGartland, the Director, National Center for Environmental Economics, and you can see that the situation screams “this is about the politics, not the science.” (2)

Alan, I decided not to forward your comments. The time for such discussion of fundamental issues has passed for this round. The administrator and the administration has decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision. I have stressed in previous emails that this is not a criteria document for climate change and greenhouse gases. If such a document is ever drafted, then perhaps your comments might be considered. I can only see one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office.

From here, things only get worse. As you glance through the Executive Summary (unfortunately the only thing most people, including politicians, can understand, given the almost complete lack of scientific literacy in the United States) you read the following points.
1) The draft TSD is based on old, obsolete data. (IPCC AR4 report, which is at least 3 years old.)
2) Temperatures around the globe have DECREASED over at least the last 11 years, in spite of rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.
3) The old idea that anthropogenic global warming will lead to more frequent and intense Atlantic hurricanes is changing to predict that these storms will be about the same as they have been in the past.
4) New evidence shows little evidence of Greenland shedding its ice.
5) The world is in one of the worst economic recessions since World War II, and this will lead, of itself, to reduced levels of CO2 emissions, due to reduced economic activity.
6) A 2009 paper finds that the positive feedback from water vapor in the global climate models that the IPCC relies upon to make its predictions is not supported by the data, thus making their models wrong.
7) Another 2009 paper suggests that up to 68% of the increase in temperature around the world can be explained by solar variability.
The document then goes on to point out that not only may a large percentage of the measured global warming be caused by perfectly natural solar cycles and phenomenon, but that the very data that has been used to demonstrate global warming may be inaccurate, or corrupted by various measurement problems, as well as the effect of “urban heat islands.”

The document then goes on to detail some of the more recent scientific findings, and how they suggest that more scientific research is necessary before plunging into policies that are very probably based on incorrect data and inadequate understanding of the science. Given this situation, the policies would be incorrect, unnecessarily costly, and maybe even harmful in many ways.

(1)   http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/national_world&id=5072659
(2)   http://cei.org/cei_files/fm/active/0/Endangerment%20Comments%206-23-09.pdf page 6
(3)    http://cei.org/cei_files/fm/active/0/DOC062509-004.pdf

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