Anyone trying to understand why the climate change debate has become so toxic need look no further than the August 11 speech by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy.
In her presentation at the Resources for the Future (RFF) Policy Leadership Forum, her first public appearance since the August 3 release of the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” (CPP), McCarthy demonstrated everything that is wrong with the Obama administration’s approach to the issue. The EPA employs error-riddled interpretations of climate science and economics, and couples this with language designed to trick the public and the press into thinking the plan is something it is not.
A Biased Host
The forum started with an introduction by Dr. Raymond Kopp, RFF’s Energy & Climate Economics co-director, who told the audience:
As many of you know, we’re not an advocacy organization. We’re not cheerleaders for any particular policy or point of view. Our goal is really to provide the best scholarly research to the policy community so it can develop the most efficient, efficacious, affordable, and best public policies possible.
Laudable goals indeed … but Kopp immediately betrayed RFF’s supposed objectives when he next said:
The Clean Power Plan in its current form as a final rule is likely the most significant development in U.S. history with respect to climate change. I don’t think any of us believe otherwise. It is a tremendously substantial rule and one that will have significant impact.
[Developing the rule] took a lot of hard work by many people inside and outside of government and it took an awful lot of leadership and luckily Gina McCarthy was available, ready, and willing to undertake that leadership role and for that we are most thankful.
Addressing McCarthy directly, Kopp concluded:
Thank you for getting the job done, for doing it exceedingly well, and shepherding the Clean Power Plan through all of these hurdles that were necessary to bring it to a final rule today. And, I think, thank you for doing it in an environment where the politics and the rhetoric really make this job as difficult as possible.
Considering Kopp’s remarks, it is not surprising that, according to RFF Forum attendee Dr. Alan Carlin — former EPA senior analyst and manager, and past chairman of the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club — “RFF went all out to prevent me from handing out my comments and to keep out any skeptical comments from the Q&A.”
So much for RFF’s claim to not be “cheerleaders for any particular policy or point of view.”
EPA Misrepresents Climate Science
McCarthy started the climate change part of her presentation with a politically correct assertion:
Climate change is one of the most important issues that we face. It is a global challenge but, in many ways, it’s also very personal to all of us because it affects everything and everyone we know and we love.
Climate change is, of course, a regional challenge, not a global one.
There is no super being straddling the planet, experiencing global trends. All that matters is what is happening — increases or decreases in the incidence of floods and droughts, heat waves and cold spells, and so on — in regions where people, plants, and animals are found. For example, what sense would it make for a community to prepare for a global sea level rise if, in that particular region, sea level was falling?
New Zealand-based renewable energy consultant Bryan Leyland pointed out:
Climate change has been a problem to mankind for hundreds of thousands of years. But we survived the last ice age, compared with which, the recent change in climate is but a minor wiggle. The greatest climate risk we face at the moment is a high probability that we are entering a period of cooling comparable to the Little Ice Age.
Many scientists agree with Leyland. For example, Dr. Howard Hayden, emeritus professor of physics at the University of Connecticut, explained:
The Earth is on a descent into the next 100,000-year ice age. For the moment, the glaciers seem to be in retreat, but they are not remnants of the last ice age. They have been growing during the last 8,000 years.
High-resolution spectroscopy specialist Dr. John Nicol, former senior lecturer of physics and dean of science at James Cook University in Australia, elaborated:
Since 1997, the Earth has not warmed but has, in fact, very slightly cooled even though atmospheric CO2 levels have been increasing. McCarthy’s assertion that climate change is “very personal to all of us” clearly demonstrates her emotional rather than the scientific approach to this non-issue.
Gina McCarthy next said:
By now we all know that climate change is driven in large part by carbon pollution and it leads to more extreme heat, cold, storms, fires, and floods.
Referring to carbon dioxide (CO2) as “carbon pollution” is one of the most common rhetorical tricks employed by the Obama administration. In the EPA’s news release announcing the CPP, they referenced “carbon pollution” five times in the release’s first four sentences.
Calling the gas “carbon” encourages the public to think of it as something dirty, like graphite or soot — which really are carbon.
Calling CO2 by its proper name would help the public remember that it is a non-toxic, odorless, invisible gas essential to plant photosynthesis. It is no more pollution than is water vapor, by far the principal greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. The EPA website is riddled with this “carbon” deception.
Leyland replied to the EPA chief:
It is shocking that McCarthy does not understand the difference between carbon dioxide — a harmless gas that benefits agriculture — and genuine pollutants like particulates, sulphur dioxide and the like emitted from old obsolete power stations. Modern coal-fired stations do not emit these pollutants.
McCarthy is not fit to head the EPA if she doesn’t know such basic science. Regardless, neither theory nor observations support the EPA chief’s claim that CO2 rise causes “more extreme heat, cold, storms, fires and floods.” Hyderabad, India-based Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy — formerly chief technical advisor for the UN World Meteorological Organization and author of Climate Change – Myths & Realities — said that McCarthy’s statement is “not true”:
Extreme heat, cold, storms and floods are part of natural variation. These are modified by local general circulation patterns existing over different parts of the globe over different seasons.
Nicol also contested McCarthy’s assertion:
Not only is the claim that CO2 is to blame [for increases in extreme weather] wrong, but the contradictory statements regarding these weather events, which are NO different from those of 200 years ago, demonstrates the desperation of lobby groups trying to maintain this myth.
If the world were to warm appreciably due to increasing CO2 emissions, temperatures at high latitudes are forecast to rise the most, reducing the difference between arctic and tropical temperatures. Since this differential drives weather, we should see weaker midlatitude cyclones in a warmer world — and thus fewer extremes in weather, not more.
Indeed, the lack of extreme weather increase with global warming is one of the few areas of agreement between the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). In 2012, the IPCC asserted that a relationship between global warming and wildfires, rainfall, storms, hurricanes, and other extreme weather events has not been demonstrated. In their latest assessment report (Sep 2013), IPCC scientists concluded that they had only “low confidence” that “damaging increases will occur in either drought or tropical cyclone activity” as a result of global warming.
The Sep 2013 NIPCC report concluded the same, asserting:
In no case has a convincing relationship been established between warming over the past 100 years and increases in any of these extreme events.
NIPCC report chapter lead author Dr. Timothy Ball, environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg, explained that the EPA is taking the approach that American journalist Farhad Manjoo identified in his book True Enough: Learning To Live in a Post-Fact Society:
You create your theory then hire experts. The EPA agenda is political, not scientific.
Climate Change Is Normal
McCarthy then told the RFF Forum:
For farmers who are strained by the drought, for families with homes in the path of a wildfire, for small businesses along our coastlines, climate change is indeed very personal.
Nicol labeled these comments “utter rubbish,” writing:
Farmers do not believe in Global Warming or Climate Change as spruced by the human-caused global warming industry. Farmers have mostly been on their properties since they were children and have also been given detailed accounts of the weather and the seasons from when their great-grandfathers began farming.
This fact upsets those who try to claim that there are obvious changes. Farmers will tell you that the seasons come in cycles and any season we have now has been seen in the past — possibly 100 years ago.
Reddy also replied to McCarthy:
These [phenomena McCarthy lists] are associated with human actions on nature — land use and land cover changes, pollution (air, water, soil, and food) and adulterated foods, etc. For example, recent devastations in Jammu & Kashmir and Himalayan states of India were associated with occupation/building houses on river banks.
We all know that climate change is impacting us today and will continue to get worse if we don’t take action.
The EPA chief knows full well that this is not true.
After intense questioning from Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS) at the September 18, 2013 hearing of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, McCarthy admitted that the CPP will have essentially no impact on climate. Hayden agreed:
Even if the restrictions were enacted, the effect on worldwide temperature would be too tiny to measure.
McCarthy Suppresses Open Scientific Debate
We are way past any further discussion or debate.
Scientists are as sure that humans are causing climate change as they are that cigarette smoke causes lung cancer. So, unless you want to debate that point, don’t debate about climate change any longer because it is our moral responsibility to act.
Comparing the science linking cigarette smoke and cancer with the science of climate change is ridiculous. Climate science is becoming more uncertain as the field advances — we don’t even know if warming or cooling lies ahead.
University of Western Ontario applied mathematician Dr. Chris Essex, an expert in the mathematical models that are the basis of the climate scare, explained:
Climate is one of the most challenging open problems in modern science. Some knowledgeable scientists believe that the climate problem can never be solved.
The NIPCC reports list hundreds of peer-reviewed science papers that show that much of what we thought we knew about climate is wrong or highly debatable. In particular, the lack of global warming over the past 18 years, a period during which CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has risen 10%, shows there is something seriously wrong with the human-caused warming theory.
Reddy responded to McCarthy’s statement:
We still need to discuss global warming science since the IPCC is not sure of the correct sensitivity factor that relates anthropogenic greenhouse gas increases to temperature rise.
This is illustrated by the fact that they changed the sensitivity factor [the temperature rise in degrees Celsius forecast to occur due to a doubling of CO2], from 1.95 in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (2007) to 1.55 in their Fifth Assessment Report (2013).
They are merely employing trial and error, and not physical process paths.
Ball points out what the IPCC itself admitted in its Third Assessment Report (2001):
In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.
John Nicol said of the scientists who support McCarthy’s position:
They are mistaken since they do not have a proper understanding of the spectroscopic behavior of carbon dioxide or its interactions in a mixture of other gases — oxygen and nitrogen.
McCarthy next told the audience that Obama:
… reminded us that, while we are the first generation to feel the impacts of climate change, we are the last that can effectively do something about it.
We are not the first people to experience climate change. The Navajo in America, civilizations in the Middle East, and many others moved across continents to escape climate change-related events which were totally the responsibility of Nature and caused huge upheaval.
The changes claimed to be perceived today are, by comparison, trivial.
Carbon dioxide is not causing changes to the climate — Nature causes changes and always has, always will.
How on Earth did we ever survive the climate change that has gone on for five billion years?
Of course, the idea that we can do something about it speaks to the arrogant godlessness of Obama and the environmentalists. If you get rid of God, you have to play God, and Obama’s angels are the bureaucrats like McCarthy. It’s interesting that another McCarthy, Mary, said: “Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, [is] the modern form of despotism.”
McCarthy concluded her comments:
Science has spoken on this. A low-carbon future is inevitable. We’re sending exactly the right signals on what, at least EPA believes to be, a future of lower pollution that is essential for public health and the environment.
Advocates for the destruction of society and world control of our societies are the actual offenders who have spoken on this.
Real and demonstrable science shows that a low carbon future will have no influence on the world’s climate and will destroy our ability to care for the world’s poor.
Energy is essential for the distribution of health and wealth to the poorer nations. This means that coal-fired power is essential, as recognized by the world’s largest economies, China and India.
Who are we to dictate the living standards of these and other nations?
The main effect of the drive for a low carbon future is that energy will become more and more expensive and more and more people will die in the winter from the cold and in summer because they cannot afford to run the air conditioning.
The health effects would be seriously negative. The environmental effects will be a reduction in plant growth that could cost the agricultural economy trillions of dollars.
CPP’s Fictitious Health and Financial Benefits
McCarthy made numerous excited claims about the health impacts of the new climate rule:
As a result [of the CPP], in 2030, we are going to be avoiding thousands of premature deaths and hospital admissions, tens of thousands of asthma attacks and hundreds of thousands of missed school days and missed work days.
But the CPP does not regulate pollution. It regulates CO2, which has no detrimental impact on human health.
Only by assuming that enabling the CPP will force the closure of coal-fired electricity stations — and that that will reduce pollution emissions — can one claim the health benefits claimed by McCarthy. As explained by William Yeatman, environmental policy expert and editor of the Cooler Heads Coalition:
[This is] an EPA scam, known as “co-benefits,” by which the agency has justified a number of recent highly politicized regulations.
[T]here are entire sections of the Clean Air Act given to the regulation of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. There is, therefore, neither a public health purpose nor a need for EPA to use a climate plan to regulate particulate matter and nitrogen oxides emissions under the Clean Air Act.
Furthermore, Yeatman demonstrates that the EPA’s methodology for estimating health benefits of the Clean Air Act “is based almost entirely on controversial, ‘secret’ science.” Not only do their forecasts of lives saved make no sense, but the agency refuses to release the data used to make these calculations. Carlin labeled the supposed health benefits of the CPP “dubious if not imaginary,” and asked:
If these benefits actually exist, why has EPA not already obtained them directly and more efficiently using “conventional” pollutant regulations?
McCarthy concluded her presentation by claiming that in 2030, as a result of the CPP:
The average American family will start seeing $85 in annual savings on their utility bills.
This is lunacy. Independent climate researcher Willis Eschenbach demonstrated on Watts Up With That that the CPP will almost quadruple U.S. electricity prices by 2030 if the Obama administration’s latest CO2 rule is fully implemented. As seen in Figure 1 below, Eschenbach calculated that “renewable” capacity per capita accounts for 84% of electricity cost variations between European countries (about €1 trillion has been spent so far in Europe on the installation of renewable energy technologies for electricity generation).
Figure 1: Electricity costs as a function of per capita installed renewable capacity. Wind and solar only, excludes hydropower.
We get about 4% of our electricity from wind and solar. He [Obama] wants to jack it to 28%, meaning we need seven times the installed capacity. Currently we have about 231 kW/capita of installed wind and solar (see Figure 1).
So Obama’s plan will require that we have a little less than seven times that, 1537 kW/capita. And assuming that we can extend the relationship we see in Figure 1, this means that the average price of electricity in the U.S. will perforce go up to no less than 43 cents per kilowatt-hour [the current average U.S. price of electricity is about 12 cents per kilowatt-hour] (This includes the hidden 1.4 cents/kW cost due to the five cents per kilowatt-hour subsidy paid to the solar/wind producers).
In January 2008, Obama, then a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, told the San Francisco Chronicle that under his energy plan “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”
Climate Hoax Must Be Confronted
Dr. Jay Lehr, science director at The Heartland Institute, summed up the situation well:
There is no science behind the idea that man controls the climate. Yet, billions of dollars are being diverted from our taxes to scam artists for renewable energy, fallacious mathematical model research, and political rewards.
It is a scam that dwarfs all others that have come before. And this will continue unabated for years to come until the public rises up in dissent.
Rather than just go with the flow or try to game the system to their advantage, industry leaders, scientists, and ordinary citizens must speak out against the climate scare that threatens America. If they do not, operatives such as Gina McCarthy will have free rein to enable the president’s disastrous climate plans.