Sam Kazman

Update on EPA Saga

by Sam Kazman on July 17, 2009

CEI’s Exposure of the EPA Cover-Up-the Saga Continues

On June 23d, the last day for public comment in EPA’s Endangerment Docket, CEI unveiled a series of amazing EPA emails which demonstrated that the agency had squelched an internal report critical of its position on global warming. We sent out our first news release on this the next morning.  A day later, Rep. Joe Barton and other Republicans held a press conference on the issue, and Reps. Sensenbrenner and Issa issued statements decrying the cover-up.  CEI also released a draft version of the concealed report.   The next day, as the House debated the Waxman-Markey bill, Rep. Barton brought the issue up during floor debate as well.  At EPA, meanwhile, senior analyst Dr. Alan Carlin was given permission to post the final version of his report on his own website-EPA still refused to post it on the agency website.

CEI subsequently filed the final report with EPA, demanding that the agency reopen the comment period to allow the public to respond to both the report and to EPA’s atrocious behavior.  We have yet to hear back from the agency.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supported our request, accusing the agency of running a “shell game” on the endangerment issue.

On the Senate side, Senators Inhofe, Barrasso and Thune weighed in with questions for EPA and requests for an IG investigation.  The issue was raised yet again during the Senate EPW July 7 hearing, at which Administrator Jackson lamely claimed that Dr. Carlin’s views had been circulated within the agency.  She did not explain why his report had been buried.

In terms of press coverage, there’ve been a growing number of articles, starting with a DowJones Newswire report and extending to other web and print media as well.  Two excellent pieces are a CBSNews Political Hotsheet article and a Wall St. Journal column by Kim Strassel.

In the past week there have been other major stories as well: syndicated columns by Debra Saunders (SF Chronicle) and Walter Williams; a superb UK Telegraph piece which put the suppressed study in an international context (comparing it to the Australian Parliament’s new doubts on global warming); a NYTimes/Greenwire online feature on Sen. Barrasso, describing his raising of this issue.

In Congress, EPA chief Lisa Jackson was confronted with the issue on July 7 at a Senate hearing.  Most recently, on July 16, the full Republican membership of a House investigations subcommittee formally demanded a full response on the matter from EPA.

Obama CAFE kills

by Sam Kazman on May 22, 2009

in Blog

President Obama unveiled Tuesday a plan to sharply increase federal gas mileage rules for vehicles sold in the United States, eventually bringing the requirement up to an average of 35.5 miles per gallon. Unfortunately, these rules – known as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards – have the deadly effect of causing new cars to be lighter, smaller and less crashworthy.

CAFE is among the deadliest government regulations we have, and with today’s announcement it’s going to get even deadlier. It kills consumers by reducing vehicle size, and now it may well kill car companies by forcing them to produce cars that consumers don’t want. The only redeeming aspect of the President’s announcement is that there’ll be only one standard imposed on the industry, rather both national and California standards. But that just means carmakers will have one noose around their necks instead of two.

A 2002 National Research Council study found that the federal CAFE standards contributed to about 2,000 deaths per year through their restrictions on car size and weight. An increase in the severity of the rules will only raise that death toll. Shockingly, the federal agency tasked with making Americans safer on the road – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – has refused to acknowledge this fact, even after being overturned by a federal court for ignoring the issue.

As bad as CAFE is, it’s an even more ominous sign that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is being joined in this initiative by the Environmental Protection Agency. Longtime observers of the EPA know that while the agency’s mission is to protect human health and the environment, it’s usually not in that order.

In addition to being sold as a global warming measure, the tightening of CAFE standards is, even less convincingly, being promoted as a boon for economic growth. Advocates have claimed that more fuel efficient cars are the future of the auto industry, yet have not explained why this should require government mandates.

Well, the noon temperature in Washington DC at the President Obama’s swearing-in was 28 degrees F., eight degrees colder than when Bush was sworn in eight years ago.

So is that what Bush’s much bally-hooed failure to curb CO2 emissions produced in the way of climate change—a Inauguration Day for Obama that’s eight degrees colder than Bush’s inauguration eight years ago? Shouldn’t more CO2 mean warming, not cooling?

Well, as I said in my earlier post today, this is not scientifically significant. But it is funny.

It’s also in line with the lack of warming of the last decade, and with the global cooling we’ve experienced over the last three years. This has occurred even though atmospheric CO2 levels have continued to increase. That is scientifically significant—it casts quite a bit of doubt on the climate models that supposedly indicate that higher CO2 levels mean higher temperatures.

By the way, if we forget about Inaugural Day temperatures and compare Bush’s first year in office with his last year, we find global cooling as well. The British Hadley Centre shows a lower overall global temperature for 2008 than for 2001.

So here we’ve got rising CO2 and declining global temperatures. Just what kind of demon gas is this carbon dioxide?

When President Bush leaves office today, will the capital be warmer or colder than when he was sworn in eight years ago?

It’s not scientifically meaningful, but it is interesting.

Bush has been heavily criticized for doing precious little to curb our emissions of carbon dioxide. During his eight years in office, atmospheric CO2 levels climbed by over four percent.

So what did Bush’s dilly-dallying produce in terms of deadly global warming? The temperature at noon in Washington DC will give us one factoid. It’s a scientifically meaningless factoid, since the local temperature on any one day, let alone any one hour, tells us nothing about long-term temperature trends, but it’s heavy in symbolism.

When Bush was first sworn in, in 2001, the temperature at noon in DC was 36 degrees F. What will it be today, when he leaves office? Will the capital be warmer or colder than when he took office eight years ago?

Don’t be surprised if it’s colder. Today’s forecast is for relatively low temperatures. More importantly, despite steady increases in atmospheric CO2, and despite everything you’ve heard about climate catastrophe, there’s been no warming for about the last decade, and the planet has actually cooled over the last three years. (This is from the British Hadley Centre’s data on land and sea surface temperatures. The Centre’s global surface temperature graph shows this in somewhat compressed form, but you can easily graph its data yourself to get a better idea.)

That should lead us to ask where’s the warming?

But first, let’s see what the temperature is at noon, when President Obama is sworn in.

And I repeat–this is scientifically meaningless, but I think it’s interesting.

(As for Bush’s failure to curb CO2 emissions, I doubt that even stringent curbs would have had any effect on atmospheric CO2 levels.  More importantly, that failure was, I believe, a good thing in terms of affordable energy and human wefare.  And the CO2 curbs that Bush did support and which will soon go into effect, such as higher fuel efficiency standards for cars, will prove extremely harmful to both consumers and the auto industry.  But that’s off topic, sort of.)