DELINGPOLE: EPA’s Obama-Era Endangerment Finding a Disgrace to Science, Menace to Economy

Endangerment Finding Carolyn KasterAP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

One of the most expensive, intrusive, and far-reaching pieces of legislation in recent U.S. history is a bad smell from the Obama era, motivated by a leftist, anti-capitalist agenda and based on the purest nonsense.

This is why two free market groups have petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider its CO2 Endangerment Finding. It was introduced (on Pearl Harbor Day in 2009) for political, not scientific reasons under the Obama Administration and is being used by green activists to hold the U.S. economy for ransom:

Two groups — Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the Concerned Household Electricity Consumers Council (CHECC) — claim EPA’s 2009 “endangerment finding” should be updated with new evidence invalidating the agency’s previous claim greenhouse gases threatened public health.

Their concerns are understandable given that, as CHECC argues in its petition, the flimsy evidence on which EPA based its endangerment finding has now been proven false beyond all reasonable doubt.

The Endangerment Finding purported to find that human-generated greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide constitute a “danger” to human health and welfare because of their effect in warming the atmosphere.

But there is no real-world evidence to support this conclusion, which derives purely from discredited computer models which have increasingly diverged from observed data:

When EPA released its CO2 endangerment finding in 2009, it used three lines of evidence to bolster its argument that greenhouse gases threatened human health through global warming.The crux of EPA’s argument rested on the existence of a “tropical hotspot” where global warming would be most apparent. That is, there should be enhanced warming in the tropical troposphere — the “fingerprint” of global warming.

However, according to a report produced last year by three respected scientists — James P Wallace III, John Christy, and Joe D’Aleo — this Tropical Hotspot (THS) “simply does not exist in the real world.”

This is what is so puzzling about the decision by the EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to request that a clause on the Endangerment Finding be removed from President Trump’s recent Executive Order rescinding the Clean Power Plan.

If Pruitt were an Obama holdover determined to frustrate President Trump’s plans to take on the Green Blob, this would be quite understandable. But he’s not. Pruitt is supposed to be the guy who is going to roll back the Green Agenda which has so dominated U.S. politics under the last few presidencies, most especially under Obama.

There is simply no logical reason not to rescind the Endangerment Finding. Even if — as some frustrated Trump insiders at the EPA say — Pruitt is a “policy coward,” it’s hardly like he’d be taking any legal or scientific risks here.

After all, if the Endangerment Finding is based on the existence of a Tropical Hotspot, and if scientists have provided conclusive evidence (as measured by balloons and satellites in the tropical troposphere) that that Tropical Hotspot simply isn’t there, then both legally and scientifically that Endangerment Finding is a busted flush.

So long as the Endangerment Finding exists, however, all attempts to prise the tentacles of the Green Blob from the U.S. economy are doomed to fail. That’s because organizations like the Sierra Club will file lawsuits demanding that the U.S. government fulfil its duty to protect its citizens from the dangerous threat to their health and safety caused by greenhouse gases such as CO2. And it’s no good arguing that the CO2 menace is a myth: as far as the U.S. statute books are concerned, it’s a clear and present danger.

You might have hoped, being a lawyer and all, Scott Pruitt could have seen this one coming — and taken condign measures to avoid it.


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