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Craig Rucker Is A Dishonest Idiot

My friend asked me to comment on this article by one Craig Rucker, specifically on whether I bought his theme that the EPA is making a power grab, and by the time I was done I thought hey, free blog entry! So here goes.

The tl;dr is no. It isn’t a power grab, it’s a limited and responsible use of power the EPA already had to do what their charter requires them to do.

The Fisking:

 EPA has lost its way on warming

EPA’s carbon dioxide rules endanger human health and welfare

February 28, 2012
by CRAIG RUCKER

Legal challenges by states and industry groups over the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases could and should be decided in the challengers’ favor. Whether that will happen in this highly politicized, semi-scientific matter of “dangerous manmade global warming and climate change” remains to be seen. Regardless of
what the DC Court of Appeals decides, the case will almost assuredly return to the Supreme Court, where the outcome is equally uncertain.

No, it should be decided in the EPA’s favor. The only reason this is highly politicized and semi-scientific is because paid shills and a few honest cranks continue to deny the settled science in an attempt to lull the public about the very real and dangerous manmade global warming and climate change, and putting it in scare quotes doesn’t change that.

Making strong declarative statements is fun!

 In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court said EPA had the authority (but not the obligation) to regulate CO2 under the Clean Air Act’s “capacious definition of air pollutant.” EPA could do so, the court ruled, if its administrator concluded that GHG emissions “may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” In other words, the administrator’s opinion was not sufficient. The agency must conduct a scientific study and make a convincing scientific case for taking action.

The EPA has the mandate to protect the environment (duh!) and control of emissions is part of that obligation, both generally and specifically. The EPA under the Bush Administration had initially decided that CO2 and other greenhouse gases would *not* be included in the permitting process; Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency was a suit brought by twelve states, several cities and a slew of organizations to force the EPA to do its damn job. Does that sound like a power grab?

To be more specific, the suit was brought by quite a variety of concerned petitioners: by the states of California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, the cities of New York, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., the territory of American Samoa, and the organizations Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Conservation Law Foundation, Environmental Advocates, Environmental Defense, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, International Center for Technology Assessment, National Environmental Trust, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

Again, not exactly the hallmark of a power grab by ambitious apparatchiks.

The other side was represented by the EPA themselves, the states of Michigan, Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, National Automobile Dealers Association, Engine Manufacturers Association, Truck Manufacturers Association, and two recently formed PACs, the CO2 Litigation Group and the Utility Air Regulatory Group.
Some people might think to see a pattern there.

 Not surprisingly, Administrator Lisa Jackson decided that CO2 does endanger public health and welfare, and signaled her intention to regulate these emissions. However, there are serious problems with this.

Why exactly is it not surprising? Bit of an inadvertent admission there? It’s not surprising because excess CO2 emissions do endanger public health and welfare!

 First, EPA conducted no original research of its own. Relying on work by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other agencies, it merely selected existing studies and reports that supported its predetermined outcome – and ignored numerous studies that contradicted its decision.

The EPA was not required or expected to conduct original research; the research had been done already, by a hugely wide variety of independent organizations. The EPA is primarily a regulatory agency, and performs or commissions original research only if there is a lack of existing research on a topic of environmental importance.

The charge that it cherry-picked topics supporting a predetermined outcome is both scurrilous and unsupported; remember, the EPA had to be forced by the Supreme Court to re-examine the issue. Further, the implication is that there was and is a rough parity of studies supporting and opposing the AGW hypothesis, which wasn’t true then and is even less true now; hell, it wasn’t even true in 2003 when the EPA initially decided they wanted no part of regulating greenhouse gases, and hadn’t been for a decade. A survey of all peer-reviewed abstracts on the subject ‘global climate change’ published between 1993 and 2003 shows that not a single paper rejected the consensus position that global warming is man caused (Oreskes 2004). 75% of the papers agreed with the consensus position while 25% made no comment either way (focused on methods or paleoclimate analysis).

 Second, scientific opinion is sharply divided on the extent to which these gases might contribute to climate change. EPA chose to disregard this inconvenient truth – and continue the shoddy practice begun by the IPCC and alarmist climate scientists of refusing to discuss or debate the validity of computer models, assertions of imminent disaster, and evidence for and against the catastrophic AGW hypothesis.

Did you know that scientific opinion is also sharply divided on the extent to which tobacco use by expectant mothers harms unborn children? It’s true, given that “sharply” is just a vague modifier and some papers say it’s extremely harmful, while others say it’s only very harmful. As for the IPCC and EPA refusing to discuss or debate models, it’s just flatly untrue.

 Third, carbon dioxide simply is not a “pollutant” within the meaning of the Clean Air act. It is not an agent that fouls or contaminates the air, making it harmful to human health. In fact, CO2 is a natural component of Earth’s atmosphere and a key ingredient in photosynthesis. Without carbon dioxide. All life on Earth would cease to exist.

You know who gets to decide what words mean within the context of legislation? It’s not random bloggers, it’s the courts, and the final arbiter is the Supreme Court of the United States, who decided in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency (a case I heard someone mention very, very recently) that greenhouse gases are in fact air pollutants within the meaning of the Clean Air Act.

Sulfur dioxide and ammonia, to take two examples off the top of my head, also exist naturally in our atmosphere. The fact that carbon dioxide exists naturally does not mean that it is harmless at every concentration.

 Fourth, both the 2007 Supreme Court decision and the IPCC studies relied on by EPA predate the Climategate emails and other scandals that have revealed how contrived, questionable and perhaps even fraudulent global warming disaster “science” actually is. Had those documents surfaced prior to its 2007 deliberations, the Court’s decision might well have been very
different.

Climategate” was a ginned-up froth of nothing based on selective out of context quoting from emails belonging to the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University. Not only was that charade all about one small group at one university, in a field which is pursued worldwide at hundreds of institutions by thousands of researchers, but the emails in question were examined in investigations by eight committees who all found the science done by the researchers to be proper and honest; the harshest word any of the reports had was to say the researchers should have been quicker to open up their raw data in the interests of transparency.

The whole thing was a smear intended to disrupt international climate change mitigation talks which were going on at the time in Copenhagen. As the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) were quick to say at the time, the scientific consensus was not changed at all by the media circus.

 Fifth, allowing EPA to impose its CO2/GHG regulatory regime would effectively put the agency in charge of every aspect of Americans’ energy use, economic activities and lives. EPA’s unprecedented and exorbitantly expensive rules will severely and adversely affect hydrocarbon use, energy prices, food production, manufacturing, transportation, jobs, home and office heating and cooling, hospital and school operations – and thus human health and welfare.

OMG NO!!!! Oh, right, it actually is no… the regulations are largely restricted to new sources of greenhouse gas emissions such as new or newly modified power plants and industrial facilities, with applicability to existing sources restricted to the worst of the worst polluters and tailored exemptions available to smaller companies. To determine what the Best Available Control Technology is and what the New Source Perfomance Standards should be the EPA is required to take into account both impacts and costs, and they are overseen by the Federal Courts who can set aside EPA regulations on behalf of petitioners if they can make the case that those regulations are outside statutory boundaries and/or excessively burdensome.

 Finally, and most absurd of all, even eliminating every source of carbon dioxide in the USA – electricity generation, vehicles, industries, humans and animals – would do nothing to reduce other emission sources worldwide. While US carbon dioxide emissions are declining, those sources continue to raise atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Thus, despite their devastating impacts on America’s economy and living standards, EPA’s rules would do virtually nothing to forestall the harms that its pseudo-science predicts.

We are by far the biggest producer of greenhouse gas emissions, though, outstripping even China with its far larger population by about 40% and the average of industrialized nations by a factor of almost 45.

Also, it’s not pseudo-science you fucking quack, it’s real science agreed upon by 98% of active climate science researchers.

 Into this legal, scientific and regulatory cesspool now comes yet another element, which may yet go down as a key turning point in the debate – more important even than Climategate: Peter Gleick’s February 14 transmission of several stolen documents and a forged memorandum to 15 environmental activists in the United States and possibly abroad.

Yes, Heartland Institute documents were sent to Gleick by an anonymous whistle-blower, and he obtained others by simply asking for them (albeit under an assumed name, since his own would have been recognized instantly by them), and he published them, and they were intensely embarrassing to the Institute.

 The stolen documents were taken from The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based think tank that has received increasing attention for challenging IPCC and EPA global warming doom and gloom dogma, misinformation and propaganda. (Among the documents stolen were lists of HI donors and its entire 2012 budget.) The left and its mainstream media lapdogs had a field
day with the information, but focused almost exclusively on the forged memo, which purported to reveal Heartland’s secret “climate strategy” – to make school children, citizens and legislators better informed about actual climate science.

To lie about what the science was and is, you mean.

Six days later Gleick, president and co-founder of the Pacific Institute,  confessed to the crime. Virtually everyone now agrees the memo is a poor  forgery, probably written by Gleick, although he still denies having done  so.

“Virtually everyone” being defined how? It doesn’t appear to be a consensus outside climate change denialist circles. The Heartland Institute did say the confidential memo was a forgery, and it is possible (especially since it is the only one Gleick didn’t obtain personally) but the Heartland Institute has had to admit that the majority of the documents are genuine and offered no evidence of any kind that the one worst item is the exception.

Oh, and while using a false name is ethically iffy and Gleick has apologized profusely for it, it isn’t actually a crime.

 Gleick is a prominent member of the global warming clique. His take-down is  big news, and one reason this scandal could overshadow Climategate in its  impact on global warming debates. Despite all the Sturm und Drang caused by  Climategate, no one really paid a price for the gross misbehavior revealed  by the leaked emails – even though the actions were funded with taxpayer  money and used to promote bogus science, harmful public policies, and  massive changes in energy use and living standards.

Again, the authors of the “Climategate” emails were thoroughly investigated by several groups and universally exonerated of all accusations made against them.

 Gleick has been forced to step down from several positions, including as  president of the Pacific Institute, and will likely face civil and criminal  charges. His is likely to be only the first scalp that global warming  “realists” collect from this incident. Heartland has indicated it will also go after Gleick’s accomplices in major environmental organizations and even in the drive-by media.

He voluntarily stepped down on his own bat, at least on a temporary basis, from the Pacific Institute (of which he is one of the founders) to allow the Board to conduct a full and fair review of the situation without his presence distracting them or casting doubt on their impartiality, and to better allow them to continue their primary mission. (I don’t know what other positions Rucker is referring to, I wasn’t aware of and can’t find any reference to Gleick resigning any other post.)

 The criminal and civil cases will drag out for years, and discovery could uncover even more misbehavior in the alarmist camp than did Climategate. Heartland may also face discovery, but the stolen documents suggest that it has little or nothing to hide.

Again, “Climategate” didn’t uncover anywrongdoing by the EA-CRU, none, and the HI documents suggest anything but that they have nothing to hide.

 Why did Gleick target Heartland? As HI president Joseph Bast wrote to  climate scientist Judith Curry in a message posted on her blog, Climate Etc:  “I suspect he targeted us because we have done so much to document and rebut  the assumptions and exaggerations of the global warming alarmists.” He then  mentioned Heartland’s monthly publication,Environment & Climate News, its  persuasive multi-volume response to the IPCC, Climate Change Reconsidered, and its six international climate conferences.
(See http://judithcurry.com/2012/02/24/why-target-heartland)

There’s no mystery about that, he targeted Heartland because he was sent the policy memo, and wanted to find out whether it was genuine or at least plausible. As for the touting of the persuasiveness of the Heartland Institute’s publications, one has to wonder in that case why they’ve persuaded so few scientists.

 Climategate caught the global warming establishment off-guard, but it soon regained its footing, aided immensely by the billions of dollars that governments are pouring into the “climate crisis” industry. Fakegate is rocking their world again, revealing the alarmists’ increasing desperation that the debate they don’t want to have will cost them their credibility, prestige, power and funding. This time, Fakegate may sweep some of them off their feet.

“Fakegate”? Really? I’m not a fan of the *-gate construction at the best of times, but that’s just pathetic.

 Who knew what Gleick was up to, and when did they know it? Who was Gleick trying to impress by this theft and forgery, and what did he and his accomplices seek to gain?

Most of all, why did that chicken cross the road? Could it have been to escape Craig Rucker? Was Rucker planning to rape the chicken before eating it?

Asking questions with implied warrants of guilt and insinuations of sinister motives is an ancient tactic which reflects abysmally on the practitioner.

 In the digital era, every email and every PDF document leaves a digital trail. There will be no cover up this time, no white-wash investigations by friendly IPCC and university colleagues. The perpetrator can’t take the Fifth Amendment in a civil suit, and the prospect of time in jail has been known to loosen lips. The whole global warming cabal is wondering when the next shoe will drop, and drop it shall.

If it’s a civil suit jail time isn’t a possibility, and in the unlikely event that criminal charges were successfully filed against Gleick he would indeed be able to take the Fifth, not that he’d be likely to. Rucker’s as ignorant of the law as he is of science.

 The truth will finally come out, and the world will be better for it.

Finally, something I can somewhat agree with. The truth has in fact been out for quite some time now, and the world is getting better for it, despite the lies and obstructions of people like Craig Rucker.

~ by BT Murtagh on March 1, 2012.

current events, Science, United States