EPA Bias on Global Warming
By S. Fred Singer
Ever since his election, George W. Bush has been under siege by supporters
of the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty that calls for drastic cuts in
the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases. His
Such sniping can easily be stopped. However, the White House must educate the public and its own federal bureaucracy about certain climate facts, as endorsed by top scientists:
**The best available data, from weather satellites and weather balloons, do not detect any appreciable atmospheric warming. Nor did the 20th century show unusually high temperatures.
**Theoretical computer models that predict climate catastrophes have never been validated and therefore should not be relied on for policy.
**Carbon dioxide is NOT a pollutant. On the contrary, it makes crops and forests grow faster. Economic analysis has demonstrated that more CO2 and a warmer climate will raise GNP and therefore average income.
**The Kyoto Protocol with its energy-rationing schemes is not only hugely
expensive but also completely ineffective in influencing climate change. As
President Bush correctly stated during his campaign and since:
Why this obvious disagreement with what the media always refers to as the "scientific consensus"? The simplest answer is: One group of scientists believes that actual observations are all-important and that the theoretical computer models cannot capture the full complexity of the real atmosphere. The other group of scientists puts its faith in climate models --- NO MATTER WHAT THE DATA SHOW.
Nowhere is this faith in how climate SHOULD behave strongest than in the UN climate bureaucracy and in national bureaucracies that want to control any human activities they think might have a climate impact. Their chief targets are energy use and thereby economic growth.
Our own EPA has been most vocal in spreading fears about climate change. One can discern three driving forces behind the EPA's behavior: bureaucratic, ideological, and eagerness to manipulate scientific facts.
**It is axiomatic that bureaucracies always want to expand their scope of operations. This is especially true of EPA, which is primarily a regulatory agency. As air and water pollution disappear as prime issues, as acid rain and stratospheric-ozone depletion fade from public view, climate change seems like the best growth area for regulators. It has the additional glamour of being international, and therefore appeals to those who favor world governance over national sovereignty. Therefore, labeling carbon dioxide, the product of fossil-fuel burning, as a pollutant has a high priority for EPA, as a first step in that direction.
**Even more important is the ideological drive to limit energy use. By thus throttling economic growth, zealots believe they can save nature from the impact of humans. This elitist view goes back to the Club of Rome's "Limits to Growth" mantra, so popular some 30 years ago. Its gurus, like Paul Ehrlich and Lester Brown, regularly predict imminent famines, cancer epidemics, and the complete exhaustion of natural resources, including oil. None of these scary forecasts ever came to pass but this has not stopped their disciples, like former Vice President Al Gore, from promoting schemes of energy rationing to avoid the dreaded global warming. EPA is populated with Gore acolytes who fervently believe that the fate of Earth is "in the balance."
**Finally, there is the misuse of science by the EPA bureaucracy. Let me illustrate
this with one specific example. Shortly before the elections in 2000, the
Clinton-Gore White House released the so-called National Assessment of Climate
Change, purporting to show the impact of a 21st-century warming on 18 regions
Yet this discredited NACC study "somehow" found its way into a
routine US report to the UN. Prepared by EPA staff in 2001, it was sneaked past
their top management and escaped a White House review. George Bush blamed the
resulting PR debacle on "the Bureaucracy." Here then is an important
lesson for the incoming EPA administrator: Do not to allow yourself to be
captured by a holdover climate policy adviser.
Prof. S. Fred Singer, of the University of Virginia, is President of the Science & Environmental Policy Project and a Fellow of The Independent Institute. He has served as Director of the National Weather Satellite Service (now NESDIS and part of NOAA) and as a Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA. He has authored many scientific publications and books, most recently "Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warming's Unfinished Debate," published by The Independent Institute (Oakland, CA, 1999).