More Reasons To Vacate The Endangerment Finding

It's now more than 10 months ago -- April 2017 -- that my client the Concerned Household Electricity Consumers Council filed a Petition with the EPA calling upon it to reopen and reconsider the so-called Endangerment Finding (EF).  Follow this link for a copy of that original Petition.  The EF -- that's the regulatory power grab by which the bureaucrats at the Obama EPA decided that the colorless, odorless, non-toxic trace atmospheric gas CO2 was a "danger" to human health and safety, which danger could somehow be ameliorated it they orchestrated a scheme to double or triple your cost of electricity, gasoline and air travel.

Unfortunately, despite what you may have read about the hostility of the Trump administration and EPA to "climate"-driven regulation, nothing has yet happened on our Petition for reconsideration.  In various interviews, EPA Administrator Pruitt has uttered some version of "we're thinking about it."  So we have filled the void by filing one Supplemental Petition after another, each one pointing out some one or multiple ways that the claimed "dangers" of CO2 are preposterous.  Last week we filed the Fifth Supplement to the Petition, available here

The focus of the latest Supplemental Petition is somewhat different from that of the previous ones.  The previous ones focused mainly on refuting what EPA asserted were the "lines of evidence" that it claimed to support its EF.  This latest one instead deals with the long litany of collateral consequences of "climate change" that you constantly read about in the press (although not specifically relied upon by the Obama EPA in promulgating the EF).  You know this list:  Heat Waves!  Hurricanes!  Tornadoes!  Droughts!   Floods!  Wildfires!  No Snow!  Rising Sea Levels!  Disappearing Ice!  Ocean Acidification!  Locusts!  Murrain!  (Just kidding about the last two.  It must be the approach of Passover infecting my brain.  However, all of the others are definitely in the usual litany, and it won't surprise me at all to see the locusts and murrain added as soon as somebody realizes that there's something left that might scare somebody.)

Just to give you a tiny sample of such claims, consider the following:

  • Heat waves.  From CNN, August 2, 2017:  "Deadly heat waves are going to be a much bigger problem in the coming decades, becoming more frequent and occurring over a much greater portion of the planet because of climate change, according to a study published earlier this summer in Nature Climate Change.  Extreme heat waves, such as the one torching the northwestern United States, are frequently cited as one of the most direct effects of man-made climate change."
  • Hurricanes.  From Scientific American, December 14, 2017 (what an embarrassment that magazine has become!):  "Hurricane Harvey's record rainfall was three times more likely than a storm from the early 1900s and 15 percent more intense as a result of climate change, a new study in Environmental Research Letters found." 
  • Wildfires.  From the LA Times and California Governor Brown, December 14, 2017:  "When he's lecturing about climate change, Gov. Jerry Brown sounds like a street-corner preacher shouting: "Repent. Change your ways. The end is near." . . .  But it's nearly Christmas and wicked wildfires are devastating California beauty. So Brown is obviously on to something."
  • Droughts.  From Climate Reality Project, June 15, 2016:  "Of all the ways climate change inflicts harm, drought is the one people worry about most, according to a Pew Research Center survey. And it’s not surprising – droughts have been drier and lasting longer in recent years thanks in part to climate change."
  • Floods.  From Inside Climate News, May 6, 2017:  "Devastating storms still roiling much of the American Midwest have dumped record levels of rain over the past week. . . .  Extreme storms like these have become more common as global temperatures have risen and the oceans have warmed. Some have the clear fingerprints of man-made climate change."  

You could go on with this all day if you want.  The remarkable thing is, there is nothing to any of this.  Indeed, such claims are extremely easy to refute definitively.  In this Fifth Supplement to our Petition, there is a one or two page refutation of each such claim, together with a link to a longer and more definitive scientific piece citing the relevant empirical evidence.  Go to the link to the Fifth Supplement to Petition and read as much as you have time for.  Here are just a few examples relating to the sample of points above:

  • Heat waves.  "Most all-time record highs here in the U.S. happened many years ago, long before mankind was using much fossil fuel. Thirty-eight states set their all-time record highs before 1960 (23 in the 1930s!). Here in the United States, the number of 100F, 95F and 90F days per year has been steadily declining since the 1930s. The Environmental Protection Agency Heat Wave Index confirms the 1930s as the hottest decade."  (Perhaps you are wondering, how could that possibly be true when the so-called "surface temperature" records published by NOAA and NASA show a steady upward trend of temperatures?  The answer is that the earlier temperatures have been "adjusted" downward by NOAA and NASA for purposes of generating that apparent -- but not real -- trend.  Hard to believe, isn't it?  Read my eighteen-part series, The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time.)
  • Hurricanes.  "The Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Index takes into account the number, duration and strength of all tropical storms in a season. It shows variability but no trend in the record the last 45 years for the Northern Hemisphere or globe."  You'll find a nice graph of the ACE index over time if you follow the links.  2017 was a very active year (after a quiet period of a dozen years), but only in 7th place in records going back to the 1800s.  The most active year was 1933, and 1893 is in third place.  
  • Wildfires.  "The National Interagency Fire Center has recorded the number of fires and acreage affected since 1985. This data show the number of fires trending down slightly, though the acreage burned had increased before leveling off over the last 20 years."
  • Droughts and Floods.  From testimony of Roger Pielke, Jr., before Congress, "It is misleading, and just plain incorrect, to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or droughts have increased on climate timescales either in the United States or globally. Droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U.S. over the last century. . . .  The good news is U.S. flood damage is sharply down over 70 years.”  If you follow the links you will find charts of both drought prevalence and flood damage in the U.S., going back before 1900 for droughts, and to 1940 for flood damage.  Both trends are down.

Anyway, go ahead and follow the links, and educate yourself on what the actual data out there show.

Meanwhile, to understand the mindset of the climate activists, check out the latest from Climate Wire today (behind pay wall).  Excerpt:

Climate hawks shifted their focus from Washington, D.C., to state capitals in the wake of President Trump's 2016 victory, hoping state lawmakers might usher in the types of carbon reduction strategies the federal government could not. . . .  [S]tate [level] climate action remains stuck in neutral, and the prospects for victory in 2018 remain far from certain. . . .   To date, state climate victories have largely been limited to the expansion of existing programs. . . .  [C]arbon pricing [has] long [been] the holy grail of climate action advocates.

That's right, the "climate hawks" (apparently their own term for themselves) regard it as a "victory" and the "holy grail" to put in place a "carbon pricing" program -- that is, to intentionally jack up your cost of electricity and gasoline by a factor of two, or maybe five, or whatever it takes to force you to walk to work and freeze in your house.  Can they really scare you into supporting politicians who will intentionally impoverish you by using these fake claims about heat waves, hurricanes, droughts, floods, etc.?  It seems beyond ridiculous to me.  With any luck, at least the administration in Washington will soon see the light.