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Editorial: EPA mandate, its science challenged


August 25. 2013 12:20AM
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The battle to combat global warming might face a significant setback in Washington. Moderate Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, wants the Environmental Protection Agency to back off its threat to enforce greenhouse gas regulations. We hope she’s successful. The EPA recently declared an endangerment finding that greenhouse gases are a threat, giving the agency authority to regulate them.



Murkowski sees the EPA move for what it is: heavy-handed coercion to pressure Congress to pass cap-and-trade legislation by threatening an administrative fiat beyond lawmakers’ control.



“That’s a terrible way to pursue climate policy, and beyond that, a terrible way to govern this country,” Murkowski said. She may introduce an amendment to pending climate change legislation this week to strip the EPA of its greenhouse gas emissions regulation authority.



As opposing economic and scientific arguments mounted last year, cap-and-trade legislation in the Senate stalled. Even liberal Democrats like Sen. Sherrod Brown expressed doubt about the bill and its impacts on recession-battered manufacturing states like Ohio. But legislative opposition isn’t the only problem facing advocates of government intervention.



Citing the EPA’s questionable scientific assumptions, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce declared it will sue to block administrative regulations, while a group of congressional representatives petitioned the agency to “convene a proceeding for reconsideration” of its finding. Recently leaked emails from a major U.K. climate research facility reveal “a serious lack of integrity in the underlying data and models, such that it is doubtful that any process can be trusted” claims a petition by U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and others.



Meanwhile, global warming skeptics have charged the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was “seriously complicit in data manipulation and fraud.” A Russian think tank last month alleged U.K. climate scientists cherry-picked Russian temperature readings to arrive at false, high temperature readings they feed into computers to predict future temperatures.



Industry groups also are beginning to smell a rat. A major insurance industry trade group warned it is “exceedingly risky” for companies to blindly accept assertions about climate change, given “serious questions” about the extent to which humans cause warming, The New York Times reported. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association also has filed a court petition in Washington, D.C., to overturn the EPA endangerment ruling.



Increasingly, skeptics are being heard where they once were denied a voice when global warming zealots claimed there was a “consensus” that the threat existed. A debate at the auto show featured skeptics and true believers arguing whether vehicle regulations are undermined by recent revelations, prompting The Detroit News to conclude: “The panel left no doubt that there is little consensus on global warming.”





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