Trump must reverse EPA’s climate change “Endangerment Finding”
Dennis T. Avery
Nine years ago, the Obama Environmental Protection Agency issued an “Endangerment Finding.” It claimed that methane leaks from natural gas production and pipelines, and manmade carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, cause dangerous global warming that poses an imminent danger to the health and wellbeing 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.
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 0.02 degrees C (0.04 degrees 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 rubberstamped 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 comes from ARGO floats that periodically dive to sample water temperatures 2100 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 manmade 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 one degree C; alarmists claim it will increase temperatures by up to 12 degrees C!
How did hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria destroy so much property with only 0.02 degrees C of warming? Britain’s wooden-ship logbooks from 1700 to1850 confirm that there were twice as many major landfalling 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, 1976–1998.
The huge Pacific Ocean’s 60-year oscillation raises ocean temperatures – and thus the world’s – by 1 to 2 degrees C (1.8 to 3.6 degrees 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 five 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 ten 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 are another recently-recognized cycle: up to 200 years long.
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.
Dennis Avery is a former U.S. State Department senior analyst and co-author with astrophysicist Fred Singer of Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years.