EPA endangerment finding endangers USA

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

Nine years ago, the Obama Environmental Protection Agency issued an “Endangerment Finding.” It claimed that methane leaks from natural gas production and pipelines, and man-made carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, cause dangerous global warming that poses an imminent danger to the health and well-being 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.

The 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 0.02º C (0.04º 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 rubber-stamped 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 come from ARGO floats that periodically dive to sample water temperatures 2,100 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 man-made 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 1º C; alarmists claim it will increase temperatures by up to 12º C!

How did hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria destroy so much property with only 0.02º C of warming? Britain’s wooden-ship logbooks from 1700 to 1850 confirm that there were twice as many major land-falling 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, 1976–98.

The huge Pacific Ocean’s 60-year oscillation raises ocean temperatures – and thus the world’s – by 1º to 2º C (1.8º to 3.6º 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 5 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 10 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 — which last up to 200 years — are another recently recognized cycle.

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.

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About the Author: Dennis Avery

Dennis Avery

Dennis T. Avery, a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., is an environmental economist. He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. He is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of "Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years." Readers may write to him at PO Box 202 Churchville, VA 24421; email to [email protected]

  • Ron C.

    Agree that the endangerment finding needs to go. I question your interpretation of the Florida pipeline ruling by the DC Court of Appeals. As I read the judgment, it appears, especially in Justice Janice Brown’s dissenting opinion that the majority mistakenly decided that the pipeline environmental acceptance should include downstream emissions, that is the emissions when the gas is burned in the power plants after delivery from the pipeline.

    https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/judiciary-climate-confusion/

  • ScottM

    Satellites do not indicate surface temperatures, have poor vertical resolution, and satellite records have been radically adjusted many times throughout their history.

    • MichaelR

      Where is your peer reviewed, published paper to demonstrate that everyone’s current data is wrong, or is that just your opinion as a lay person?

  • lil coy

    I wanna figure out a scheme to bilk cash out of all these chicken littles, who are so eager to give up everything due to the federal government encouraged junk science that is man made global warming.

  • MichaelR

    Holy crap. Are people still trying to trot out this bogus line about the “pause”? Here is data from three different agencies.

    https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/binaries/content/gallery/mohippo/images/research/monitoring/compare_datasets_new_logo_cm.png

    Taken from here
    https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/monitoring/climate/surface-temperature

    Of course if you cherry pick dates you can see short terms drops or lower rates of increase but if you asked a five year old to tell you which way this graph is going they would say “up”.

    Please get over this. If you want to argue about something, choose something other than temperature records that have been consistently showing increases in temperature for decades, and not linked to any change in solar activity for the last 40 years.

    The only dataset that was doing the rounds that looked different was from RSS and that was found to be systematically wrong. RSS corrected their mistakes and, guess what, it looked the same as everyone else’s data.

    • BigWaveDave

      MichaelR, why hasn’t anyone expressed a theory that could explain how it could be physically possible for a few hundred ppm CO2 in the atmosphere to cause any measurable temperature change anywhere in Earth’s troposphere or oceans, or anywhere on Earth’s surface?

      • MichaelR

        Err, they did, about 130 years ago.
        CO2 absorbs infrared radiation very efficiently. Here is a demo in a lab of its effects. https://youtu.be/SeYfl45X1wo
        When light comes from the sun it comes in lots of wavelengths. Higher wavelengths have higher energy. Lower wavelengths lower energy. So blue light has more energy than red light.
        When light hits the surface of the Earth it absorbs some energy and re-emits the rest, much of that energy on its way out into space. But CO2 absorbs energy in the lower energy wavelengths like infrared, this trapping the heat in the atmosphere. That heat diffuses throughout the atmosphere and then eventually into the sea and land.
        So there is always a balance of mechanisms that absorb heat from the sun and those that lose heat to space. That balance point determines the global temperature.
        When you add CO2 to the atmosphere, that is like putting your thumb on one side of the balance, the heating side of the balance increases without a corresponding increase in cooling effects. So you get warming. As the rate of cooling factors is a function of the temperature differential between the Earth and space then the warming eventually gets balanced out again, but at a higher temperature. Imagine have a house and it’s cold outside. The house naturally loses heat to its surroundings and so, with no heating it settles at the temperature outside. Now you add a heater. As the heater acts, the house gets warmer but only up to a point. That point is the equilibrium point, the global average temperature.
        Now you add another heater (equivalent to the warming effect of the extra super-heat absorbent CO2). The effect is of course that the temperature of the house will rise until a new equilibrium temperature is reached.
        The effect of the additional warming effect of the CO2 is called forcing. And we can experimentally test the forcing effects of CO2 very well.
        But then you have feedback effects. ie effects that happen because the temperature has changed. Some are negative for warming but unfortunately most are positive ie a higher temperature allows other phenomena to cause more warming still. For example water vapor. Water vapor is also an effective greenhouse gas and it absorbs a slightly different set of wavelengths to CO2 as well so they combine in effect.
        When you warm the atmosphere due to CO2, that allows the air to hold more water vapor before it condenses. More water vapor means more warming. Means more water vapor in the air which means more warming. See what I am getting at? And there are other positive feedback effects as well. A slightly warmer atmosphere melts ice at the poles and in glaciers. Ice reflects lots of energy back to space. The sea and the ground reflect much less and absorb more than before, so when ice melts… more warming. Also when you warm arctic tundra it melts and releases methane that it stored frozen, directly into the atmosphere, and methane is 23 times more effective as a greenhouse gas than CO2, so you get more warming.
        There are lots of factors involved in driving the system but they are pretty well understood by scientists and have been for quite a long time. That is why there is such a strong scientific consensus around that fact that AGW is already happening and great concern about where it will end if we don’t urgently taking the fuel out from under it.
        I hope that answers your question.

      • MichaelR

        Well, my last 2 replies disappeared but I will try again.
        The action of CO2 trapping heat is very well understood. Here is a video showing how CO2 absorbs infrared radiation in a lab. https://youtu.be/SeYfl45X1wo
        This process has been understood for over 130 years and indeed was the foundation of the earliest scientific papers on the burning of fossil fuels leading to a warming atmosphere back in the early 20th century. In a nutshell, high energy light from the sun, passes through the atmosphere, hits the surface where some energy is absorbed and some, lower energy light (infrared) is re-emitted into space. If those light photons hit a CO2 molecule, then they get absorbed and turned into heat energy. More CO2, more absorbtion. More absorption, more retained heat which means upward pressure on the atmospheric temperature. That extra heat then diffuses into the ocean and land so the whole system warms up.

        Last time I replied I gave a much longer explanation about that process, and then how that causes positive feedback effects like
        – more water vapour (a greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere, which causes more warming
        – less ice on the Earth’s surface to reflect energy back into space, replaced by dark sea and land that absorb that energy instead, which causes more warming
        – melting of tundra releases methane into the atmosphere, which traps heat 23 times better than CO2, which means more warming
        and so on.

        This time I will cut it a bit shorter and ask that you watch this short summary of the current state of the science.
        https://youtu.be/52KLGqDSAjo
        I think it’s only fair that you do that, and maybe actually study the scientific account more thoroughly first, before challenging scientific principles that have been understood just fine for over a century.

        • BigWaveDave

          Too long, too boring, too repetitive and too devoid of any theory that explains how any changes in atmospheric CO2 could cause a measurable change in temperature of any air, land or water on Earth.

          • MichaelR

            Is that seriously the best you can do? Every part of my last comment was an explanation of how CO2 acts to warm the atmosphere by absorbtion of infrared energy.
            Can’t you even challenge any of the points I made?
            If you are happy to live in a fantasy world devoid of facts and science, then fine, but you don’t get to inflict your wilful ignorance on the rest of us.