Tomorrow, the D.C. Court of Appeals will hear arguments from carbon polluters and their political allies that the EPA scientific endangerment finding for greenhouse pollution should be overturned. This case — brought by the state of Virginia, the industry front-group Coalition for Responsible Regulation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Tea Party-industry front Southeastern Legal Foundation — is based on the right-wing myth that global warming is a hoax. Holland & Hart attorney Paul Phillips, representing the Coalition for Responsible Regulation, told InsideClimate News that “man-made climate change is not certain,” according to “a compelling amount of science and facts out there”:
There’s a compelling amount of science and facts out there that suggest man-made climate change is not certain. EPA needs to accurately and honestly those certainties as well as the uncertainties.
The Coalition for Responsible Regulation, established in 2009, has not disclosed who its member companies are.
The EPA endangerment finding, Inside Climate News notes, “is based on more than 100 published scientific studies and peer-reviewed syntheses of climate change research” by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program/U.S. Global Change Research Program, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Research Council of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
Essentially every scientific society in the world — and every agency of the United States government — recognizes that the threat of man-made global warming is a fact. As the National Academy of Sciences wrote in 2010, man-made global warming is a “settled fact“:
From a philosophical perspective, science never proves anything—in the manner that mathematics or other formal logical systems prove things—because science is fundamentally based on observations.
Any scientific theory is thus, in principle, subject to being refined or overturned by new observations.
In practical terms, however, scientific uncertainties are not all the same. Some scientific conclusions or theories have been so thoroughly examined and tested, and supported by so many independent observations and results, that their likelihood of subsequently being found to be wrong is vanishingly small.
Such conclusions and theories are then regarded as settled facts. This is the case for the conclusions that the Earth system is warming and that much of this warming is very likely due to human activities.
Since 2010, the science attributing the unequivocal warming of the planet to fossil-fuel pollution has grown even stronger. It’s now considered “highly likely” that all of the observed warming since 1950 is manmade (and “extremely likely” that most of the warming is manmade).