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Rants, Raves, Interesting Science & Awful Puns
January 4, 2010

Danger--Reality Ahead

EPA's Evasive Action

Carbon dioxide is plant food, hence the essential basis of all life. Flora of every kind flourish in richer concentrations of it, send root systems deeper to mine nutrients, and use water more efficiently. Crop yields increase 30 to 40 percent. Epochs in the past, such as the Cambrian, that saw the greatest increases in diversity and proliferation of the biosphere experienced up to 20 times the amount we have at present. One could almost believe that life on this planet was naturally suited to higher levels, and the partly frozen, largely desert conditions of the today's world reflect a definciency significantly short of optimum. Apparently blind to such observations or indifferent to them, the Environmental Protection Agency on, December 7--transparently anticipating the Copenhagen climate conference--formalized an "Endangerment Finding" that certain atmospheric gases, most importantly carbon dioxide, “threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.” In short, the provision is now in place to regulate, restrict, or destroy any industry or activity that becomes a political target.

In 1902, Gottlob Frege, a German mathematics professor at the University of Jena, believed, after many years of work, that he had achieved the long-sought goal of being able to derive all of mathematics from a single set of logical axioms, and was about to publish what would have been a memorable accomplishment. Then Bertrand Russell, the English philosopher and mathematician, wrote to him, showing that one of the axioms led to the contradictory result that if a set were a member of itself, then it was not a member of itself. Frege acknowledged that he was wrong and withdrew the proposed work. That's how science works. When a theory fails to be borne out by reality, the theory is modified or abandoned. But it evidently isn't how the EPA works.

Preparations for the Endangerment ruling went back to much earlier in the year. In March, 2009, Alan Carlin, an EPA employee engaged in economic and scientific research since 1971, produced a 100-page report as his contribution to the period open for internal comments. In it, he faulted the EPA, which employs thousands of scientists of its own, for uncritically accepting the assertions of outside groups, particularly the IPCC and the CCSP, and restricting its input to these two sources, rather than conducting its own independent evaluation. He pointed out that the EPA could be making life difficult for itself in future if the policies that resulted turned out to be scientifically untenable. Carlin then went on to cite extensive findings and data outdating the material upon which the Endangerment decision was being based, showing that it was indeed unsupported by what the real world was doing. In other words, it was as tactful a way as could be found in the circumstances of saying this is rubbish and we shouldn't be associating ourselves with it. The response was to withhold the report from the groups concerned on the grounds that the decision had already been taken to move forward (so what was the point of inviting comments in the first place?), and Carlin's points would have negative impact on the legal and policy aspects of the situation. He was taken off further work connected with climate matters and has described himself as being under a "gag order". So the authority of organizations such as the UN, with clearly political and ideological motivations, would be used as the sources of data presented as scientific, and apparently solid evidence to the effect that the conclusions being derived as a consequence simply weren't happening wouldn't come into it.

Carlin's report makes interesting reading.

To quote from the Preface:

"What is actually noteworthy about this effort is not the relative apparent scientific shine of the two sides but rather the relative ease with which major holes have been found in the GHG/CO2/AGW argument. In many cases the most important arguments are based not on multi-million dollar research efforts but by simple observation of available data which has surprisingly received so little scrutiny. The best example of this is the MSU satellite data on global temperatures. Simple scrutiny of this data yields what to me are stunning observations. Yet this has received surprisingly little study or at least publicity. In the end it must be emphasized that the issue is not which side has spent the most money or published the most peer-reviewed papers, or been supported by more scientific organizations. The issue is rather whether the GHG/CO2/AGW hypothesis meets the ultimate scientific test—conformance with real world data."

And from the Executive Summary:

"As of the best information I currently have, the GHG/CO2 hypothesis as to the cause of global warming, which this Draft TSD supports, is currently an invalid hypothesis from a scientific viewpoint because it fails a number of critical comparisons with available observable data. Any one of these failings should be enough to invalidate the hypothesis; the breadth of these failings leaves no other possible conclusion based on current data."

The report lists the following areas in which real-world data do not match the alarmists’ climate models. Carlin comments, "Any one of these failings should be enough to invalidate the hypothesis; the breadth of these failings leaves no other possible conclusion based on current data."

  • Global temperatures have declined for more than a decade despite atmospheric CO2 levels increasing. Prior to that, the warming derived from surface measurements was contradicted by those from satellites, which are considered more reliable.
  • New research shows the IPCC was wrong in predicting more frequent and intense hurricanes due to AGW (man-made global warming).
  • There is no evidence that Greenland is melting despite IPCC predictions.
  • New research shows that the strongly positive feedback effect of water vapor that the IPCC models assume is actually negative. Since water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas, this completely negates the alarmis position.
  • IPCC models do not take into account or show the most important ocean oscillations which clearly do affect global temperatures.
  • The models ignore the effects of solar variability as indicated by sunspot and cosmic ray measurements, which along with ocean oscillations correlate the most strongly with temperature variations. CO2 levels, by contrast, do not.

Among the comments offered by Carlin:

  • “Changes in greenhouse gas concentrations appear to have so little effect that it is difficult to find any effect in the satellite temperature record, which started in 1978.”
  • Surface temperature measurements are suspect because they are so different from the satellite record, so “[I]t appears even more unlikely that GHGs have as much of an effect on measured surface temperatures as claimed”
  • “Hence it is not reasonable to conclude that there is any endangerment from changes in GHG levels based on the satellite record, since almost all the fluctuations appear to be due to natural causes and not human-caused pollution as defined by the Clean Air Act.”

And, coming to the point of the whole exercise:

"Finally, there is an obvious logical problem posed by steadily increasing US health and welfare measures and the alleged endangerment of health and welfare discussed in this draft TSD [Technical Support Document] during a period of rapid rise in at least CO2 ambient levels. This discontinuity either needs to be carefully explained in the draft TSD or the conclusions changed."

Alan Carlin's Home Page is at http://www.carlineconomics.com/

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