This morning, Fox News Channel’s Gregg Jarrett introduced a “very big story” that the Environmental Protection Agency “intentionally buried a study challenging some of Uncle Sam’s global warming research.” Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) claimed the report, written by economist Alan Carlin of EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics, vindicates his belief that man-made global warming is the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”:
The thing is phony. I feel so good about being redeemed after all of these years, because they have been throwing this thing in my face since 1998 when we realized that all of those scientists that Al Gore had lined up — and I’m talking about Claude Allegre in France, David Bellamy in UK, and Nir Shaviv in Israel — all of them used to be on his side. They all said, “Wait a minute, this science is not right.” That’s exactly what Allen Carlin said. We’ve already started a investigation.
When asked if there should be a criminal investigation, Inhofe replied, “There could be and there probably should be.” Continuing his attack, he claimed that the EPA “have been suppressing science and coming out with what they want people to say. You might remember — I talked to you about it on this station. When I first realized that this thing was a hoax and I made the statement that the notion that man-made gases, anthropogenic gases, CO2 cause global warming, it is probably the greatest hoax ever perpetrated.”
In reality, what Fox News, Inhofe, and right-wing bloggers are promoting as a suppressed EPA report is nothing of the kind. Carlin’s paper, released by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (“CO2: they call it pollution, we call it Life“), is a hodgepodge of widely discredited pseudoscience. Carlin was given permission by the NCEE to cobble the paper together even though he is not a climate researcher, and “the document he submitted was reviewed by his peers and agency scientists.”
The Carlin document cites the usual array of global warming deniers, including Joe D’Aleo, Don Easterbrook, William Gray, Christopher Monckton, Fred Singer, and Roy Spencer — all of whom worked with Sen. Inhofe’s former aide Marc Morano to disseminate denials of climate science. Carlin’s references come from denier blogs such as ICECAP.us and Watts Up With That, as well as publications from the Heartland Institute, the Science & Environmental Policy Project, and the Friends of Science Society, all conservative front groups. RealClimate’s Gavin Schmidt summarizes the paper 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.”
Similarly, although the 76-year-old botanist David Bellamy, 72-year-old geochemist Claude Allegre, and 32-year-old astrophysicist Nir Shaviv publicly question man-made global warming, they represent a steadily dwindling number of scientists, few of any of which actively study climate change, that argue fossil fuel emissions are not warming the planet.
What’s really shocking, however, is that “the CEI press release was reported with a more or less straight face by at least two media outlets, CBS News and New York Times Greenwire, without any questioning of CEI’s own motivations or role in the affair.” Both stories show the effect of the collapsing of the mainstream media industry — the CBS story is crossposted by CNet.com reporter Declan McCullagh, the libertarian who fabricated the “Al Gore invented the Internet” story. And the New York Times story is crossposted from E&E News, an independent subscription news service.
I don’t typically lay out what might be called a “worst-case scenario.” I tend to focus on piecing together what the scientific literature says would happen if we stay anywhere near our current emissions path — Hell and High Water — since, that “business-as-usual” scenario should be motivation enough for action.
Would some 10°F total global warming and 900 to 1000 ppm atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations be the end of human civilization? Possibly, though homo “sapiens” sapiens, while apparently not a very proactive species, is quite resilient.
Then we have the apostle of climate Apocalypse, James Lovelock (see “Lovelock: Malthus was right, and Climate Progress is way, way too optimistic.”) He’s got a new piece in the UK’s Guardian, which I’ll reprint below. While I don’t think this scenario is how things will play out — I don’t think we face a Mad Max future — the worst-case is obviously much worse than what I have laid out, so I do think it worthwhile to have someone describe a full-tilt worst-case scenario every so often other than in the movies:
The Chinese government will likely reject the bid of a local company to acquire the Hummer division of General Motors, partially out of concern that the infamous gas-guzzler conflicts with the country’s environmental goals, China’s state radio reported.
Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery emerged as the surprise buyer for Hummer this month, conditional on the state’s approval. GM is seeking to sell the unit as part of its bankruptcy.
Chinese regulators will also say Tengzhong, which typically makes construction vehicles like cement mixers, lacks the expertise to run Hummer, state radio reported, citing no source.
Tengzhong, a private company, said it would invest in more fuel-efficient Hummers and keep the division based in the U.S. Hummers are known as “Han Ma,” or Bold Horse, in China.
The Chinese government has ramped up its conservation efforts, cutting sales taxes on small cars and encouraging automakers to develop electric and other alternatively fueled vehicles.
Some have asked whether I’m using too-tough language against those devoted to delaying or blocking action needed to stop catastrophic global warming. Actually, most of the time I think it is too mild, a point underscored by a terrific NYT column from Nobel-Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, “Betraying the Planet.”
One of the little-known ingredients of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, H.R. 2454 is a breakthrough agreement on ending tropical deforestation, which is responsible for about 20 percent of global climate pollution””more than the emissions from all the cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world combined.
The Waxman-Markey legislation contains two primary tropical forest provisions that, combined, help meet the bill’s goals for reducing pollution in a way cost effective enough to win the support it needs to pass. First, it sets aside 5 percent of the bill’s pollution allowances to fund tropical forest conservation. Second, it allows emitters to get credit for investing in tropical forest conservation subject to a set of strict requirements.
Set-aside funding. The revenue from the 5 percent set aside can be used for a variety of purposes, including:
Edited by Joe Romm, we cover climate science, solutions and politics. Columnist Tom Friedman calls us "the indispensable blog" and Time magazine named us one of the 25 "Best Blogs of 2010." Newcomers, start here.