Crank of the Week - December 7, 2009 - The US EPA

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared greenhouse gases a danger to public health this week, in a move that could pave the way for future regulation. This is seen by many as a fallback move by the Obama administration in case the moribund Cap and Trade bill fails in congress. With perverse logic that could only be understood by a politician, carbon dioxide, a substance that is essential to life on Earth and to maintaining our planet's habitable ecosystem, has been lumped in with the likes of DDT and asbestos. The announcement comes on the first day of the Copenhagen climate summit and is seen by many as a sop to ecologists and global warming activists prior to President Obama's appearance at the end of the conference.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a written statement that the finding, which declares carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases a threat to public health, marks the start of a US campaign to control greenhouse gas emissions. “These long-overdue findings cement 2009's place in history as the year when the United States Government began addressing the challenge of greenhouse-gas pollution and seizing the opportunity of clean-energy reform,” she said. This marks new heights in political arrogance, for an organ of government to think that they should regulate the natural components of Earth's atmosphere in accordance with their own muddleheaded designs.

EPA Administrator Jackson and Crank in Chief Obama.

The announcement did not set well with many. Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member, Joe Barton of Texas, made the following statement after the EPA announced that it has finalized the endangerment finding:

When the scientists whose work is the bedrock for our global warming policy use words like ‘travesty’ and ‘trick’ to describe their actions, and banter about how they’ll blackball professional journals and delete evidence, it’s time to slow down and consider what we’re doing, not sound the charge. Regrettably, good sense got run over today when EPA hit the gas instead of tapping the brakes.

The US administration has come under fire recently for watering down promised action on climate change. “It seems likely that the Obama administration decided to go ahead with plans to outlaw carbon dioxide today in order to make the president’s policies look good in advance of his visit to the Copenhagen conference rather than to advance any public good in America,” said Barton.

Following Obama's about-face on attending the Copenhagen conference, the administration waved off concerns about the controversy surrounding leaked e-mails at a British climate research center. The US envoy to the international climate change conference in Copenhagen, Todd Stern, dismissing the flap as a “small blip.” In some circles this move is seen as damage control for the scandal plagued climate change community, which is gamely trying to proceed as though nothing has happened.

“They are finalizing the finding just in time for President Obama to travel to Copenhagen. The EPA claims its process is dictated by science, however, it's conveniently timed to push its politics," Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said in a written statement. “It's certainly reckless considering the underlying science now has been very much called into question,” added California Representative Darrell Issa. “The inconvenient truth is not Al Gore's movie. The inconvenient truth is that people who had an agenda destroyed the facts to get an outcome.”

Crank central: EPA headquarters in Washington, DC.

Never mind that previous substances that have invoked the EPA's ire could directly cause harm to humans at levels found in the environment. Atmospheric CO2 levels would have to be increased more than 100 fold for it even to become noticeable and twice that to cause direct health problems. No, the “logic” here is that CO2 causes global warming and that poses a threat to humans. In other words, the EPA has drunk the anthropogenic global warming kool-aid.

Findings from a recent EPA study titled “Assessment of the Impacts of Global Change on Regional U.S. Air Quality: A Synthesis of Climate Change Impacts on Ground-Level Ozone,” for example, suggest that climate change may lead to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone, a harmful pollutant. Additional impacts of climate change include, but are not limited to:

  • increased drought;
  • more heavy downpours and flooding;
  • more frequent and intense heat waves and wildfires;
  • greater sea level rise;
  • more intense storms; and
  • harm to water resources, agriculture, wildlife and ecosystems.

The EPA’s endangerment finding is based on “rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific analysis” of six gases – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride – that have been the subject of intensive analysis by scientists around the world. No problem with the last three of those, they are man-made and have been shown to damage the ozone layer. But the first three are produced in copious amounts by nature itself. For an encore they can try to regulate water vapor, since sometimes it rains too much and that causes floods and that can harm people. So, for proving that your entire agency is a tool of the political climate change establishment, this Crank of the Week is for you: the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Government is the worst solution

Regardless of the problem, expanding government is the worst thing we can do. In this case the EPA, which was created to rein in man-made pollutants, is being expanded to regulate a natural component of Earth's atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is not only not a "pollutant" it is necessary for life as we know it to exist at all. Nature has varied the level of CO2 from significantly lower than today to an order of magnitude higher. It has also released sudden spikes of atmospheric carbon (as methane and carbon dioxide) that far exceed humanity's worst emission levels. No, calling the EPA a crank is not pretentious. If anything it is being overly kind.

That's exactly what is going on.

The Cap & Trade should and will fail. If you notice...Obama, when not able to get passage of what he wants (healthcare)...resorts to "slight of hand" to pass something else. Here in Ohio, although we voted for Obama last year, the tide seems to have changed. Ohio is a blue-collar state and issues of health care and Cap-Trade are always a hot topic.

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