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Business groups challenge EPA finding on greenhouse gases

By Juliet Eilperin
Several business and conservative groups announced Friday they would legally challenge the Environmental Protection Agency's finding that greenhouse gases linked to global warming endanger the public's health and welfare.

EPA issued the scientific finding Dec. 7, a move that will enable the agency to regulate carbon dioxide and other pollutants under the Clean Air Act. Several groups, including oil companies and libertarian and conservative think tanks, have warned these policies will damage the nation's economy.

The outcome of the legal battle could have serious implications for the Obama administration's climate policy, now that it is unclear whether Congress will pass legislation this year regulating greenhouse gases. If Congress fails to act, the EPA could move to cap carbon on its own under the Clean Air Act.

On Friday, groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Competitive Enterprise Institute said they would file petitions to overturn the endangerment findings, on an array of different grounds. The Chamber said it would challenge the rulemaking process EPA had followed, while CEI and two allied groups, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change and the Science and Environmental Policy Project, suggested there was not sufficient scientific evidence to justify such a move.

Steven J. Law, the Chamber's chief legal officer and general counsel, said his association "strongly supports efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, but we believe there's a right way and a wrong way to achieve that goal."

"The wrong way is through the EPA's endangerment finding, which triggers Clean Air Act regulation," Law said. "Because of the huge potential impact on jobs and local economies, this is an issue that requires careful analysis of all available data and options. Unfortunately, the agency failed to do that and instead overreached. The result is a flawed administrative finding that will lead to other poorly conceived regulations further downstream."

The EPA was instructed by the Supreme Court in 2007 to determine whether greenhouse gases qualified as pollutants under the Clean Air Act. Spokeswoman Adora Andy said that the EPA's endangerment finding was issued "after a thorough and transparent review of the soundest science available."

Dan Lashof, director of the climate center at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group, said the petitions ignored ample scientific research that global warming poses a serious threat in the U.S. and worldwide.

"These petitions would create a hole in the Clean Air Act large enough to drive a power plant through and ask members of Congress to deny the fact that carbon pollution endangers public health and the environment," Lashof said.

The petitioners from CEI and its allies, however, questioned whether Americans can trust the findings of prominent climate science organizations such as the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which helped inform EPA's scientific conclusions.

"EPA's Endangerment Finding is based on non-scientific reports by the IPCC and scientifically indefensible global temperature datasets," they charged in Friday's filing.


Juliet Eilperin

 |  February 12, 2010; 6:39 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Enough already. This debate should end since the Political Science is Settled. That should be good enough... plus that'll reduce the amount of energy that goes into cooking the data and twisting facts and data to fit the desired outcome, and keep the funding going forward.
If we're not careful, some renegade scientists will write about correlations between Earth's Climate and Solar activity levels... (spoiling it for those who depend on the continuous flow of AGW funding) since Solar minimums lead to cooling temps (and snowstorms versus rain) and high levels of solar activity (flares, sunspots, etc, lead to warming... on earth and as measured on Mars:

Posted by: dbsinOakRidge | February 14, 2010 1:14 PM
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Yesterday, February 13th, 2010 The United
Nations International Panel on Climate
Change issued a Global Press Release with
a reluctant apology that it's "data" on
its alleged projected rise in the world's
sea level was, in fact, bogus and that
revised data now strongly "suggests"
that we are NOT entering a period of
Global Warming. If the UN is big enough
to admit it was a hoax, why aren't the
media making more out of this new
revelation? They also admitted that a
few key scientific figures were to blame
for doctoring the data. Souldn't there
be some accountability for these
dishonest people in the scientific and
political communities who have been
frightening the world with these phoney
statistics and scary doomsday scenarios.
Millions of credulous and hysterical
adults and children world wide actually
bought into all this Climate Disaster
nonsense. Even Barry Obama fell for it.

Posted by: iamredwolf | February 14, 2010 12:12 PM
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For years I worked placing research grants with academic institutions. Naturally I was always welcomed by the institutions. These were honest people whos careers depended on landing grants for their institutions. None of the universities would conduct a study that was corrupt. The problem comes about when the majority of studies are all directed to show the truth about one side of the argument. Government has funded countless studies to prove global warming. Studies that would prove otherwise were often rejected. Those studies would harm governments desire to raise energy tax revenues. The public became victims by assuming that reiteration was science.

Posted by: cosciousness | February 14, 2010 11:11 AM
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The temperature records cannot be relied on as indicators of global change,” said John Christy, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, a former lead author on the IPCC.

The doubts of Christy and a number of other researchers focus on the thousands of weather stations around the world, which have been used to collect temperature data over the past 150 years.

These stations, they believe, have been seriously compromised by factors such as urbanisation, changes in land use and, in many cases, being moved from site to site.

Christy has published research papers looking at these effects in three different regions: east Africa, and the American states of California and Alabama.

“The story is the same for each one,” he said. “The popular data sets show a lot of warming but the apparent temperature rise was actually caused by local factors affecting the weather stations, such as land development.”

The IPCC faces similar criticisms from Ross McKitrick, professor of economics at the University of Guelph, Canada, who was invited by the panel to review its last report.

The experience turned him into a strong critic and he has since published a research paper questioning its methods.

“We concluded, with overwhelming statistical significance, that the IPCC’s climate data are contaminated with surface effects from industrialisation and data quality problems. These add up to a large warming bias,” he said.

Posted by: alance | February 13, 2010 11:19 PM
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The US Chamber of Commerce claim to oppose the EPA finding on procedural issues, while pretending to be progressive on emissions legislation is of course disingenuous.

The Chamber has opposed both Lieberman-Warner, as well as Waxman-Markey. This, in addition to the flight of high-profile member companies from the Chamber and it's Board bears testimony to their regressiveness.

For more analysis see:

Posted by: clearsight | February 13, 2010 9:03 AM
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