Petition to EPA for Reconsideration of its CO2 Endangerment Finding
Peabody Energy Company has petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its December 2009 finding that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health or welfare. The basis for Peabody’s 238-page petition are the emails exchanged by scientists in the United Kingdom and the United States who authored, edited, and otherwise controlled the content of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, an international political body not subject to U.S. law as to the scientific rigor required before EPA regulation can occur. By relying almost entirely on IPCC data in making its endangerment finding and by failing independently verify it, EPA’s endangerment finding violates U.S. law and cannot stand.
We’ve known for several months from selected emails that these scientists did not present a neutral, accurate, or verifiable view of the science. In particular, they destroyed raw data, downplayed the considerable uncertainty inherent in proxy data, suppressed contrary information, and censored dissenting views in ways that made even their own colleagues uncomfortable. The stunning conclusion from the Peabody petition is that there are no data and therefore there is no science. Because there is no science, there is no endangerment.
These emails demonstrate scientists who urged in the IPCC reports that current warming is unprecedented and man-made now admit they cannot say with any level of certainty that warming has even been occurring. Among other things, one alarmist scientist finally conceded: “The fact that we cannot account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering [limiting greenhouse gas emissions] quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty.”
The company’s petition is summarized below by Heartland Institute Science Director Jay Lehr, Ph.D. Each bullet point, Lehr notes, is fully supported by valid references in the footnotes.
- EPA failed to properly exercise its judgment as required by the Clean Air Act and acted in an arbitrary and capricious fashion by relying almost exclusively on flawed reports of the IPCC in attributing climate change to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
- EPA largely ceded to the IPCC--an international body that is not subject to U.S. data quality and transparency standards and whose reports were prepared in direct disregard of these standards--its obligation to make a judgment as to whether greenhouse gases may endanger public health and welfare to the IPCC.
- Considerable information reveals that many of the principal scientists who authored key chapters of the IPCC scientific assessments were driven by a policy agenda that caused them to cross the line from neutral science to advocacy. They relied on inaccurate and unverified information from secondary source material that was produced by advocacy groups, information that the authors apparently knew was unverified, included anyway to advance the author’s advocacy agenda.
- EPA’s determination here was not that it “might” be possible that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions will cause possibly dangerous change at some point in the future. Instead, EPA decided such emissions were almost certainly already causing dangerous climate effects, with the danger almost certainly likely to worsen in the future.
- EPA can no longer have confidence that IPCC reports present a fair, unbiased, and accurate assessment of climate science. Since these IPCC reports were relied on extensively in the Endangerment Finding, the agency has no choice but to conclude that the Endangerment Finding itself is now tainted and must be reconsidered.
- When EPA assesses whether the emission of greenhouse gases endangers public health and welfare, EPA must assess the danger and benefits on both sides of the issue. It has completely ignored the fact that the combustion of fossil fuels has created a level of health and welfare throughout the world that would have been unimaginable in pre-industrial society.
- The EPA administrator frankly admitted the agency did not itself conduct a comprehensive review of climate change science but instead relied primarily on what it termed “the assessment literature” in reaching its scientific conclusions.
- The attribution section of the Technical Supporting Document particularly relied on the work of the IPCC as opposed to other studies. Of 67 citations in this section 47 cited the IPCC.
- EPA asserts authority to protect public health against air pollutants but concedes that CO2 does not create a direct public health concern from inhalation or exposure as is the case for traditional air pollutants.
- Emails divulged from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) revealed that the authors of the IPCC material did not present a neutral view of the science. In particular, they downplayed the considerable uncertainty inherent in trying to approximate temperature from proxy data over a 1,000-year period, they suppressed contrary information, and they suppressed dissenting views in ways that made even their own colleagues uncomfortable.
- A primary IPCC author, Dr. Trenberth, stated that the flaws in the climate community’s understanding of climate forces that are exposed by the lack of current warming is so fundamental--and the extent of natural variability must be so great--that it cannot be demonstrated that reducing greenhouse gas emissions will reduce warming.
- In one famous email from the CRU, Dr. Phil Jones wrote, “We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.”