The free-market think tank Competitive Enterpise Institute (known for its laughable pro-CO2 ads) has been pushing the story of an alleged EPA coverup. With the help of a few mainstream media networks, the issue is spreading throughout the blogsphere, and I thought I might as well bring my readers up to speed on it.
The charge is that the EPA suppressed an internal report because it didn’t fit the agency’s position that CO2 causes global warming, and is therefore a threat to human health. The report’s major points are classic denialist claims (IPCC findings are outdated, Greenland is not losing mass, etc.), but, if correct, would have been a problem for proponents of anti-GHG legislation.
So the EPA is quashing reports by its own scientists in order to forward Obama’s liberal agenda, right? Not quite. It turns out that author of the report, Alan Carlin, is an economist, for the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics, which does cost-benefit studies, risk assessment, and other number-crunching.
Mr. Carlin’s scientific opinion of climate change wasn’t included in the official findings becasue, well, he isn’t a scientist.
EPA Press Secretary Adora Andy explains,
“Certain opinions were expressed by an individual [Carlin] who is not a scientist and was not part of the working group dealing with this issue. Nevertheless, several of the opinions and ideas proposed by this individual were submitted to those responsible for developing the proposed endangerment finding. Additionally, his manager allowed his general views on the subject of climate change to be heard and considered inside and outside the EPA and presented at conferences and at an agency seminar. The individual was also granted a request to join a committee that organizes an ongoing climate seminar series, open to both agency and outside experts, where he has been able to invite speakers with a full range of views on climate science. The claims that his opinions were not considered or studied are entirely false.”
Since a draft of the report was released, it has not withstood scientific scrutiny. NASA climatologist Gavin Schmidt — an actual scientist — describes it as “a ragbag collection of un-peer reviewed web pages, an unhealthy dose of sunstroke, a dash of astrology and more cherries than you can poke a cocktail stick at.” Read his full analysis on RealClimate.
The reason the artificial controversy is important is that Republicans, namely Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Senator John Barrasso (R-Wy.) are calling for a criminal investigation.
The irony is that these people watched calmly as the Bush-Cheney Administration suppressed global warming science. Now, the party that supposedly promotes “fiscal responsibility” would like to spend millions of dollars on an investigation into why faulty science was not included in an EPA decision.
I have nothing else to add, so I’ll leave it at that.