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March 24, 2010
Fifteen States Sue the EPA on Greenhouse Gas Endangerment Findings
    by Robert Kropp

The lawsuit recycles recent misrepresentations of the validity of climate science in seeking to prevent or delay regulatory action on emissions reduction.


Led by Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, 15 states have filed motions to join an appeal of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) endangerment finding that greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten public health and welfare. Although the endangerment finding constitutes the EPA's response to a 2007 decision by the US Supreme Court that, based on the Clean Air Act, the Agency had the authority to regulate GHG emissions, a press release from Cuccinelli's office stated, "We believe it is imperative that we ensure the process leading to the finding was carried out consistently with American law and scientific standards."

According to the press release, "The methods and objectivity of the global warming scientists on which the EPA relied for its decision have been seriously questioned." The press release asserts further that Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the UK-based University of East Anglia, "Admits that there has been no statistically significant warming for 15 years."

In fact, the appeal by the states of the EPA's endangerment finding persists in the misquoting of Jones' position as he articulated it in a February interview with the British Broadcasting System (BBC). In the interview, Jones actually said, "The trend for the period 1995 to 2009…is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level."

Jones went on to say, "I'm 100% confident that the climate has warmed. I would go along with IPCC Chapter 9 - there's evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity."

The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) plainly states in Chapter 9, "Human-induced warming of the climate system is widespread."

The press release from Cuccinella's office also states, "The original proponents of man-made global warming now admit that there is no scientific evidence that the Himalayan glaciers will melt by 2035." In fact, in a recent
statement, the IPCC said, "Widespread mass losses from glaciers and reductions in snow cover over recent decades are projected to accelerate throughout the 21st century."

One paragraph in the 938-page report, the IPCC went on to say, "Refers to poorly substantiated estimates of rate of recession and date for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers." In its report, the IPCC cited a summary by the
WWF of peer-review literature, rather than the literature itself.

While the press release from Cuccinella's office describes the challenge to the EPA as "bipartisan," only two of the states involved—Kentucky and Oklahoma—have governors who are Democrats.

The US Circuit Court of Appeals has consolidated the states' position into one lawsuit. In response, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the state of Minnesota have filed a motion on behalf of the EPA. The motion states, "A negative outcome…will delay or prevent EPA from taking steps to reduce the direct risk to Pennsylvania and Minnesota."

 

 
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