And So It Begins: The EPA Gets into the Global Warming Act

The debate is over! The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has pronounced on the issue of man-made global warming. Yes, they conclude, global warming is real, we are at fault and it is dangerous to us. Therefore, the regulation of greenhouse gasses from automobile tailpipes and power plants and factories and so on will have to be regulated.

“This finding confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations. Fortunately, it follows President Obama’s call for a low carbon economy and strong leadership in Congress on clean energy and climate legislation,” said Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “This pollution problem has a solution – one that will create millions of green jobs and end our country’s dependence on foreign oil.”

As the proposed endangerment finding states, “In both magnitude and probability, climate change is an enormous problem. The greenhouse gases that are responsible for it endanger public health and welfare within the meaning of the Clean Air Act.”

In addition to threatening human health, the analysis finds that climate change also has serious national security implications. Consistent with this proposed finding, in 2007, 11 retired U.S. generals and admirals signed a report from the Center for a New American Security stating that climate change “presents significant national security challenges for the United States.” Escalating violence in destabilized regions can be incited and fomented by an increasing scarcity of resources – including water. This lack of resources, driven by climate change patterns, then drives massive migration to more stabilized regions of the world.

It’s great that the EPA, always on our side, is working to save us from our own, short-sighted environmental failings. It makes me feel better, or it would but for two little problems. The first being that the science upon which these finds is debatable at best. The second is that these regulations will increase energy prices and thus drive up the prices of everything else in much the same way as President Obama’s cap-and-trade scheme would.

The Problem with the Science

The science that goes into determining global warming is not based on direct observation or sampling in the field, rather, it is based on computer models and it only examines the last thousand years or so. That is a ridiculously small span of time considering the total age of the planet and our ability to look at past climate conditions from ice cores, fossils and other samples. More than that, computer models are, necessarily, based on assumptions made by the designer. The designer of the model determines how data will be handled by the model. This makes the results from such models questionable at best and, compared to the painstaking field research that is really necessary, useless. Moreover, the global data take no account of the existence of dense urban areas that form “thermal islands” and can affect local climate conditions.

You can see that global warming is the result of a number of things that have nothing to do with man simply by understanding that the climate of the Middle Ages, during a period that ran from around 800 AD to 1200 AD, was far warmer than our climate today. This was a period of no real industrial activity, no cars or energy plants, nothing that today’s global warming crowd blames for rising temperatures, melting glaciers and so on. So, what was it? The global warming crowd is oddly quiet on that subject, but others point to increased solar activity.

The World May be Cooling, Instead

So, we have a tiny examined time span, questionable methods and a big example that the theory of man-made global warming cannot explain, and yet the EPA is signing on to this. Moreover, we have evidence that is just as strong that global cooling is actually taking place.

Study of the orbital mechanics of the solar system in the 1970s led Russians to believe the Earth was about to cool and we should prepare quickly because it will be catastrophic. Their arguments were lost in the rush to warming group-think in the 1990s, but the arguments for impending cold are well founded and still believed by many good scientists. As the sun goes even quieter and January, 2008 saw the greatest year to year temperature drop ever (128 years of NASA GISS data) and thru the end of 2008 remains relatively cool, it is clear cooling needs to be considered as a very plausible future.  This is highlighted by 2 papers published in March 2008. Scafetta and West showed that up to 69% of observed warming is from the sun and remind us that the sun is projected to cool and Ramanathan and Carmichael show that soot has 60% of the warming power of CO2. Both papers state that these factors are underappreciated by IPCC. The soot may well explain the Arctic melting, as it has recently for Asian glaciers. Many scientists believe the temperature changes are more dependent on the sun than CO2, similar to the relationship in your home with your furnace.   With the Sun's face nearly quiet, the monthly patterns over the last 12 months are most similar to those of 1797 preceding the Dalton Minimum of 1798-1823 during the little ice age (Timo Niroma)

The Little Ice Age? We had a little ice age? Yes, we did. It lasted from around 1500 to the mid-1800s and our climate has been warming up since. Now, we seem to be at a crossroads—are we warming or cooling? According to historical climatologist, Dr. Tim Ball, the signs of global cooling are everywhere.

Since 1940 and from 1940 until 1980, even the surface record shows cooling. The argument is that there has been warming since then but, in fact, almost all of that is due to what is called the “urban heat island” effect – that is, that the weather stations are around the edge of cities and the cities expanded out and distorted the record. When you look at rural stations – if you look at the Antarctic, for example – the South Pole shows cooling since 1957 and the satellite data which has been up since 1978 shows a slight cooling trend as well.

The Bottom Line

This is in direct contradiction to the EPA analysis. They cannot both be right so it follows that one is dead wrong. Which is it? I don’t know, but I do know this: Making a policy that will affect the lives of millions of people based on questionable science is wrong and, worse, it is political. Yes, global warming has been a political issue championed by the Left, not a scientific one, since the 1990s. If it were, indeed, a scientific issue, no one would be passing final judgment on it. You would not have the President telling people that it is a fact. Science does not deal in facts, it deals in theories. If you want facts, look to mathematics and for truth, try philosophy. Global warming is as much an article of faith to those in Washington now as Keynesian economics and it is just as dangerous. It is not, at that level, science, and the debate over it is far from over.

As long as that is the case, making regulatory policy based on global warming will needlessly drive up the cost of living for everyone in the US, hitting those least able to pay the hardest. Like Obama’s cap-and-trade system, which is also under consideration, it will be a tax on all energy used to create goods and transport them, a tax that you as a merchant will pass onto your customers. It will mean a lot of money for the government, and it will do little to make the world a better place, if anything at all.

The EPA regulations, the Proposed Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under the Clean Air Act, is in its comment period. Read it and decide for yourself if it is compelling enough to be passed. You will find on the page a place to leave comments for the EPA. I urge you to do so. Your business, the economy as a whole, may well hang in the balance.