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Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Thursday, July 29, 2010

EPA Rejects Claims of Flawed Climate Science July 29, 2010 Press Release

Cathy Milbourn (News Media Only)
July 29, 2010
EPA Rejects Claims of Flawed Climate Science
WASHINGTONThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today denied 10 petitions challenging its 2009 determination that climate change is real, is occurring due to emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities, and threatens human health and the environment. 
The petitions to reconsider EPA’s Endangerment Finding claim that climate science cannot be trusted, and assert a conspiracy that invalidates the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program. 

 After months of serious consideration of the petitions and of the state of climate change science, EPA finds no evidence to support these claims. In contrast, EPA’s review shows that climate science is credible, compelling, and growing stronger.
“The endangerment finding is based on years of science from the U.S. and around the world.  These petitions -- based as they are on selectively edited, out-of-context data and a manufactured controversy -- provide no evidence to undermine our determination.  Excess greenhouse gases are a threat to our health and welfare,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.  “Defenders of the status quo will try to slow our efforts to get America running on clean energy.  A better solution would be to join the vast majority of the American people who want to see more green jobs, more clean energy innovation and an end to the oil addiction that pollutes our planet and jeopardizes our national security.”
The basic assertions by the petitioners and EPA responses follow.
Claim: Petitioners say that emails disclosed from the University of East Anglia ’s Climatic Research Unit provide evidence of a conspiracy to manipulate global temperature data. 
Response: EPA reviewed every e-mail and found this was simply a candid discussion of scientists working through issues that arise in compiling and presenting large complex data sets.  Four other independent reviews came to similar conclusions.
Claim: Petitioners say that errors in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report call the entire body of work into question. 
Response: Of the alleged errors, EPA confirmed only two in a 3,000 page report. The first pertains to the rate of Himalayan glacier melt and second to the percentage of the Netherlands below sea level. IPCC issued correction statements for both of these errors. The errors have no bearing on Administrator Jackson’s decision. None of the errors undermines the basic facts that the climate is changing in ways that threaten our health and welfare.
Claim: Petitioners say that because certain studies were not included in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, the IPCC itself is biased and cannot be trusted as a source of reliable information. 
Response: These claims are incorrect. In fact, the studies in question were included in the IPCC report, which provided a comprehensive and balanced discussion of climate science.
Claim: Petitioners say that new scientific studies refute evidence supporting the Endangerment Finding.  
Response:  Petitioners misinterpreted the results of these studies. Contrary to their claims, many of the papers they submit as evidence are consistent with EPA’s Finding. Other studies submitted by the petitioners were based on unsound methodologies. Detailed discussion of these issues may be found in volume one of the response to petition documents, on EPA’s website. 
Climate change is already happening, and human activity is a contributor. The global warming trend over the past 100 years is confirmed by three separate records of surface temperature, all of which are confirmed by satellite data. Beyond this, evidence of climate change is seen in melting ice in the Arctic, melting glaciers around the world, increasing ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, shifting precipitation patterns, and changing ecosystems and wildlife habitats.
“America’s Climate Choices,” a report from the National Academy of Sciences and the most recent assessment of the full body of scientific literature on climate change, along with the recently released “State of the Climate” report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration both fully support the conclusion that climate change is real and poses significant risk to human and natural systems. The consistency among these and previously issued assessments only serves to strengthen EPA’s conclusion.
Information on EPA’s findings and the petitions:http://epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment/petitions.html 
More information on climate change: http://epa.gov/climatechange/
Review America ’s Climate Choices report: http://americasclimatechoices.org/
Review State of the Climate report:

But, unfortunately last week in the perpetually gridlocked Senate, the climate change bill died an "unceremonious death," even with a majority of legislators in both houses of Congress supporting the bill. 

Some of the parties who filed the petitions which is quite telling:
Peabody Energy Company (world's largest sector private coal company. Sourcewatch info)
Ohio Coal Association (From Hot Air in 2008 re: Obama admisitration on coal)
Coalition for Responsible Regulation (Global Climate Law Blog)
Competitive Enterprise Institute (funded by Exxon Mobil for one)
Southeastern Legal Foundation ("positive public policy change for all Americans")
Pacific Legal Foundation ( "anti environmentalist from the start" supported DDT)
US Chamber of Commerce
State of Texas
State of Virginia
State of Alabama
State of Mississippi (10 other states have also joined in on the petitions)
Massey Energy Company
Rosebud Mining Company
Alpha Natural Resources Inc.
National Cattleman's Beef Association
Industrial Minerals Association
U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Chairman Emeritus John Dingell (D-MI) weighed in on this issue the day EPA announced they were finalizing the Rule saying, “I continue to make the case that the Supreme Court in Massachusetts v. EPA, erroneously found that greenhouse gases are pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act.  
 The Clean Air Act was not designed to regulate greenhouse gases, as the then-Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee I know what was intended when we wrote the legislation.  I have said from the beginning that such regulation will result in a glorious mess and regulation of greenhouse gases should be left to Congress.”
Mr. Dingell's position is concerning but somewhat predictable-- he thinks that Congress should be the final arbiter rather than the EPA, and the large amount of lobbying money coming from the IMA along with the coal industry has Congress beholden to big coal. (linked above in SourceWatch) 

A lawsuit is still pending in the DC Circuit Court challenging the EPA position, which is in abeyance until August 12. The court decided to wait and see what the final EPA decision was before proceeding further.
This is an issue that warrants a close watch to see what will happen in the DC case among other actions that will continue to challenge the EPAs decision on climate change.

At least there has been progress on this issue since December 2007 and the Bush administration's refusal to even read the EPA report, despite the Supreme Court ruling that the EPA had the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. 
Jason Burnett, a high-level EPA adviser who coordinated agency climate change actions and was a lead author of this endangerment report, alleged that the EPA's report faced intense resistance from the White House. Burnett resigned in June 2008 over his objections to this White House interference.3
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  1. It's about time damnit!!!!


  2. Filibusters are the death knell of the Senate. We have got to change the rules or nothing will ever get done.

  3. Even if you do not believe that climate change is really happening, there are a multitude of reasons to move away from the use of fossil fuels and toward alternative energy technologies. The current catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico and smog and other forms of air pollution over your cities are only two that can be mentioned with ease.

  4. That petitioner list reads as a Who's Who of trouble. I am not surprised by the names on it, but I haven't seen it collected like that before.


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