Oct 202008

Imagine this: Your yoga instructor will no longer be doing as many Chataranga Dandasanas in yoga class because the EPA has determined that allowable C02 emissions would be exceeded due to proper yoga breathing.

Imagine this: Your household will be restricted in their consumption of pinto beans due to the potential over-production of intestinal gases with a corresponding excessive release of colonic C02 into the atmosphere, exceeding EPA standards.

We haven’t even considered the potential impact of feeding cheese to your dog, or those statistically-higher ambulance runs made from nursing homes. We’re talking C02 excesses in the…in the….parts per something!

Front Range Objectivism hosted a fascinating supper talk on October 18 by John Lewis, PhD, visiting Associate Professor of Political Science at Duke University and research scholar and writer in history and classics. His talk was entitled, “A Call to Action: Understanding and Defeating the EPA’s Plan for Environmental Dictatorship.” From his talk I drew several disturbing conclusions concerning the sweeping powers delegated to the Enviromental Protection Agency as a result of a recent Supreme Court ruling.

As background, the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007, in Massachusetts et al. v the EPA, ruled in favor of a consortium of environmentalist-friendly plaintiffs, delegating to the Environmental Protection Agency the responsibility of regulating C02 emissions under the Clean Air Act. The plaintiffs argued that man-made C02 emissions (and other greenhouse gases) are the primary cause of “global climate change,” and that to avoid worldwide disaster action must be taken. The EPA established an “Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” to allow public comment, advising the public of the widespread impacts this would cause to our society and economy. Dr. Lewis argued that, even as lay persons, we can judge and reject the claims of imminent worldwide catastrophe raised by the plaintiffs in this case. (I’m including the link to the comments to the EPA made by Dr. Lewis and scientist Paul Saunders.)

From the talk, three issues struck me as particularly important about this case: the scientific, the political and the constitutional.

First the scientific. The Supreme Court ruling used the widely-reported conclusions of the United Nations-based Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as the scientific basis for regulating C02. The panel’s basic conclusion: “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”

What’s concerning about this conclusion from a lay person’s observation is the fact that global climate over the eons has changed not just dramatically, but extremely: ice ages, deserts that used to be jungles, plains once covered by oceans, gigantic shifts in northern ice patterns but the opposite occurring in the southern hemisphere, etc.

As far as the validity of the science, the IPCC conclusions were based primarily on computer modeling involving many variables. And much of the data is bad, as in faulty measurements of ground temperature. Then then there’s Al Gore’s infamous inversion of the C02-temperature relationship: Ice core data actually indicates that over the millennia global temperature increase comes before C02 rise by several hundred years. Finally, as every lay person knows from experience, the best of climatologists can’t even predict the local weather very well, let alone weather change on a global scale projected decades into the future.

On to the political. The IPCC is essentially a governmental entity that works by political consensus, like most U.N. endeavors. In fact, as Dr. Lewis pointed out (and as I have learned elsewhere), the conclusions were haggled out first, line-by-line, by bureaucrats. This is not at all proper to the standard method of producing a scientific paper.

There are many respected scientists from such fields as oceanography, climatology and astronomy that study the impact of the oceans and the sun and other factors in global temperature change and C02. Many claim that their input was either dismissed, suppressed or ignored by the IPCC, even when they were initially involved as expert reviewers. And there are many other scientists who simply claim that nobody can get a handle on something as vastly complex as global climate change at our present state of knowledge. But this input is exed-out in the IPCC and the Supreme Court ruling because of politics, not good science.

Finally, Dr. Lewis responded to a question concerning the Constitution and the very disturbing and ever-growing power of the emerging “fourth” branch of government: those rule-making regulatory agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Department of Health and Human Services. These are composed of unelected civil employees who have been delegated the power to write detailed rules and regulations impacting rights of property, contract, privacy, and more. Operating behind the scenes, they have enormous power to control our businesses and lives.

And with the new Supreme Court ruling, the EPA will have no choice but to somehow figure out–despite the fact that climate science is really in its infancy–how to regulate all of the C02 emissions we put out. Just imagine the onerous responsibility, tremendous power and grave consequences involved…

And remember, don’t sigh too deeply, just grunt.

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