patronizing April 4, 2015Gary Galles Tags The EnvironmentHealthInterventionism The Supreme Court has recently heard oral arguments in Michigan vs. EPA challenging regulations slashing mercury emissions from fossil-fuel power plants. However, the central issue was not, as commonly represented, preventing harm from mercury. The central issue is the use of mercury as a bait-and-switch excuse for more stringent restrictions on fine particulate emissions. The EPA utilized what Justice Scalia called “a silly way to read” the law to do what Chief Justice Roberts described as an “end run” around its statutory limits, and the case well illustrates how government agencies are able to use open-ended legislation to get whatever they want. The 1990 Clean Air Act amendments instructed the EPA to study whether mercury exposure posed a health hazard that would make restricting it “appropriate and necessary.” Justification therefore first required demonstrating harm from mercury. That proved impossible to do honestly. CDC surveys showed blood mercury levels for American women and children falling and already below the levels found safe by the EPA, FDA, and WHO. The EPA even rejected a high mercury exposure study simply because it found “no observable health effects.” So they cheated. The EPA instead constructed a model of hypothetical women that “consume extreme quantities (99th percentile) of the most contaminated fish from the most contaminated bodies of water,” according to one amicus brief. It then added on a 50 percent “cooking adjustment factor.” It then estimated “the potential effect of this exposure on their hypothetical children’s neurological development in utero.” Given that power plants add a very small fraction to mercury deposition, that effect was minuscule. Even after more eye-glazing assumptions to inflate the damage, the estimated economic gain from reducing exposure to mercury was $6 million or less annually. Ignoring the Costs of Regulation However, the EPA then estimated that its “solution” to mercury emissions of fossil fuel power plants would cost $9.6 billion annually. That 1,600 to 1 disproportion clearly puts the lie to any assertion of those mercury regulations as “appropriate and necessary.” So the EPA sidestepped that minor detail by asserting they were not required to consider costs in coming to a health hazard determination. But there is no way to know whether a regulation is appropriate (or sensible, suitable, or proper) in the absence of a consideration of the costs. Both the word itself and the reality that every choice imposes a cost means that costs are undeniably relevant. One might also mention that “arbitrary and capricious agency action” on the part of the EPA and other government agencies impose separate costs of their own on society. The Legal Gift That Keeps on Giving Having supposedly justified regulating mercury by creatively “finding” benefits and ignoring the costs, the EPA turned to what has become their “go-to” mechanism for finding that their policies’ benefits outweigh their costs — fine particulate pollution. Virtually every dollar of benefits they estimated from mercury reduction ($36 to 89 billion annually, though using very misleading methodology) actually comes from reduced fine particle emissions, not mercury reductions. However, the EPA has regulated fine particulate pollution for thirty-five years under Sections 108-110 of the Clean Air Act, as part of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). And under Section 109, the EPA already sets national ambient air quality standards that, “allowing an adequate margin of safety, are required to protect the public health.” If the federal fine particulate standard they set in 2013 is “adequate to protect public health,” how can the benefits from further reductions in fine particulate emissions be tens of billions of dollars yearly? They can’t. Legal Entrepreneurship by Government Agencies So why does the EPA want to stack the mercury restriction deck with a fine particulate wild card? Because under NAAQS, they can set a standard for fine particulates that states must meet, but states determine how to meet them. The EPA cannot single out coal-fired power plants as their intended “victims.” Further, they cannot dictate the form or extent of their victimization. But if they can employ minuscule or imaginary mercury damage as an excuse, and dress up tighter fine particulate restrictions on power plants as if they addressed mercury damage, they can ramp up their limited power to determine fine particulate standards into almost unlimited direct command and control over whoever they choose to target, even though the Clean Air Act denies them such power. In other words, the law as passed by Congress provides so many options and so many tools to the EPA, that it’s only a matter of mixing and matching different pieces of law to target whomever they want to get whatever they want. The mercury “backdoor” the EPA is claiming, continuing an ongoing pattern, shows their intent to increasingly get whatever they want regardless of what the law may say. Image source: iStockphoto Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute. Creative Commons Licence 16
This is a very comprehensive article. The facts are amazing. Liberals love to control their subjects by any means necessary.
Check it out:
Imagine, for a moment, sitting at a prestigious steakhouse in Palm Beach, Florida, a hot spot for some of the most wealthy and famous — Donald Trump, Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey, James Patterson, Rush Limbaugh, and hundreds more.
And, imagine dining with a handful of men you’ve only read about. Some of them are worth millions, others published best-selling books, and some have held prominent positions at the White House.
In essence, you’re sitting at a five-person table of VIPs.
You’re about to take a bite of your New York strip when one of the men, a top U.S. intelligence agent, slams a 164-page document in the middle of the table.
This document, you soon find out, contains damning evidence that a network of politicians, corporations, and scientists have conspired together to promote the fear of “global warming” . . . despite evidence clearly stating no such “global warming” exists.
The motive: $22 billion per year.
To be clear . . . that’s $22 billion of taxpayers’ money . . . the amount that our government pays to stop the “global warming” epidemic.
After the usual impeccably choreographed all-night “negotiation,” delegates of almost 200 nations at the latest annual U.N. climate yak-fest – this time in Lima, Peru – reached the usual agreement not to agree on anything except that the process by which they profit must continue.
Not one delegate made any mention of the fact that every single one of the mad scientists’ predictions about the global warming and consequent planetary doom has failed to happen.
Notwithstanding record increases in CO2 concentration, global temperature has stubbornly failed to rise at all for 18 years, two months and counting.
The rate of warming in the 25 years since the first report on the subject in 1990 by the U.N.’s climate panel has been less than half what its useless computer models then predicted.
Sea level is not really rising at all. Global sea ice is at a record high extent. There have been fewer tornadoes in the U.S. in the past three years than since records began. The area of the world under drought has fallen for 30 years. There is no increase in the intensity, frequency or duration of flooding, nor in tropical cyclones, nor in hurricanes, nor in typhoons.
In short, the climate is behaving much as usual. As many records for extreme cold are being set as for extreme heat. Not so long ago, for the first time in recorded history, all 50 states of the U.S. – including Hawaii – had snow on the ground at least somewhere.
Not one of these inconvenient truths has been uttered by any of the national negotiating delegates. They are locked in a time warp, isolated from all reality. And the cost is staggering.
Even Australia – whose prime minister has rightly described catastrophic manmade global warming as “cr-p” – has donated $200 million to a U.N. slush fund, the “Green Climate Fund,” which will make the bureaucrats rich and the rest of us poor.
For and on behalf of the bankrupt United Kingdom, the Children’s Coalition has pledged $1.1 billion to the same slush fund.
The United States is spending hundreds of billions on making non-existent global warming go away.
As Ayn Rand foresaw in her towering philosophical novel, “Atlas Shrugged,”the “looters,” as she so aptly described the rapacious left, would strive and strive until they had robbed almost all of us of our ability to think.
Independent thought would be banned. Adherence to the party line would be mandatory. Anyone who thought for himself would become an outcast and would eventually be punished and, if possible, killed.
The truth is that the state-run schools are places not of thought but of indoctrination. Once upon a time, everyone who aspired to a higher education would be taught first grammar, then logic, then rhetoric, so that he could not be easily fooled.
Not anymore. However fancy and expensive the “education” received by the useless negotiators in Lima, not one of them has been taught how to think. Otherwise, surely someone would have broken ranks, firmly, and spoken up as I did at the Doha climate conference two years ago.
I pointed out, mildly, that there had been no global warming for 16 years.
Was there an outburst of spontaneous cheering at the news that there is no climate “crisis” after all? No. Instead, I was booed and jeered at and banned for life.
No one wants his gravy train tipped into the gulch. That’s why. Also, the delegates were afraid – afraid of someone who, in a dictatorship, was willing to speak out and tell the truth, knowing that there was a risk he could end up in jail.
The forces of darkness, however much they lie, however much they sneer at those of us who tell the truth, are more terrified of the truth than of anything else.
In their consciences (for they still have them, deeply buried somewhere), they know the truth. They know that the money they are squandering to enrich the U.N. and its pampered Fauntleroys should really be spent on electrifying Africa, India and China. That would do more for the global environment than anything.
But no. They will not do the obvious until everything more profitable to them has been tried.
I have already noted in this column the paramount importance of ensuring the inclusion in the Paris Treaty next December of a get-out clause allowing any nation to resile from its obligations on giving a few months’ notice.
I now propose a further modest measure, which you may like to draw to the attention of your senators (without a two-thirds majority of whom no treaty can bind the United States).
All obligations under the Paris Treaty should lapse if at any time at least three of the five principal global-temperature datasets (HadCRUT, GISS, NCDC, RSS and UAH) show no global warming for at least 20 years.
At present, the RSS dataset shows no warming for 18 years and two months. The others would have shown no warming for 14 years, but the three terrestrial datasets have been tampered with this year to show more warming than has actually happened. However, there is a limit to the possibility of tampering, because the satellites of RSS and UAH are watching.
In the Scottish Parliament a couple of days ago, I asked three representatives of the “renewable-electricity” lobby what contingency plans they had if there was not a lot more global warming.
One looked me in the eye and said that his organization – a consultancy group – maintained a business-as-usual scenario in its modeling. The other two would not look me in the eye. Instead, each of them made a declaration of faith in the new religion and in the holy books of IPeCaC. I was sharp with the pair of them.
We must now make the unthinking governing class aware of its obligation to require the modelers to model the possibility of little or no further global warming. By this gentle step, we shall hope to bring our rulers back to sanity on this question.
In the meantime, 60 percent of Scotland’s once-beautiful landscape now has wind farms on it. Tourism is likely to collapse if this goes on. Even in my beloved Rannoch, which has been spared the attentions of the racketeers so far, there will soon be windmills many hundreds of feet high.
I have told the chairman of the Renewables Committee of the Scottish Parliament that I should like to address it and let it hear the other side of the case. He did not seem keen. For our biggest problem from now on will be to convince the global governing class to admit it was wrong and change its mind, before any more trillions are squandered.
And that won’t be easy. For governments can never be wrong, and global tyranny – which is what we’ll get if we don’t look sharp in the next 12 months – will always have the power to force us to accept that it is right, whether we like it or not.
Freedom is our birthright. The forthcoming climate treaty – if the failed Copenhagen draft of five years ago is any guide – may yet prove a greater threat to liberty than fascism or communism. For it is the same threat writ global, albeit with the jackboots and guns very carefully hidden – for now.
Media wishing to interview Christopher Monckton, please contact email@example.com.
John Coleman, meteorologist and co-founder of the Weather Channel, wrote a letter to the Hammer Forum – which held a climate change symposium Thursday night in Los Angeles – outlining his position on the topic of man-made climate change. The main points from the letter, which was picked up by the British publication The Express:
- There has not been man-made global warming in the past, is none in the present, and there’s no reason to fear that there might be any in the future.
- Efforts to prove the CO2 emissions cause climate change have failed.
- There has been no warming over the last 18 years.
- There is no climate crisis, the oceans aren’t rising, polar ice is increasing, polar bears are increasing, and heat waves and storms are not increasing.
- Climate change is a political and environmental agenda item without basis in science.
Princeton University climate expert William Happer added the following:
“The incredible list of supposed horrors that increasing carbon dioxide will bring the world is pure belief disguised as science.”
In 2010 a high-level inquiry by the InterAcademy Council found there was “little evidence” to support the IPCC’s claims about global warming.
It also said the panel had purposely emphasised the negative impacts of climate change and made “substantive findings” based on little proof.
Another related and interesting fact that came to light this week on this topic: the President’s assertion last month that the U.S. has cut greenhouse gases was proven to be wrong by data that show that greenhouse gas emissions actually increased last year.
Here’s the problem: CO2 emissions have increased dramatically over the last two-hundred plus years yet temperatures have varied. Or, in the case of the last 18 years, haven’t moved at all. Regardless of arguments about “climate sensitivity,” CO2 simply cannot be the driver of global temperatures with such fluctuations.
A 2013 NOAA article “Why did Earth’s surface temperature stop rising in the past decade?” hosted at Climate.gov poses:
“The most likely explanation for the lack of significant warming at the Earth’s surface in the past decade or so is that natural climate cycles—a series of La Niña events and a negative phase of the lesser-known Pacific Decadal Oscillation—caused shifts in ocean circulation patterns that moved some excess heat into the deep ocean.”
Yet here is NASA nearly one year later blowing that theory out of the water:
The cold waters of Earth’s deep ocean have not warmed measurably since 2005, according to a new NASA study, leaving unsolved the mystery of why global warming appears to have slowed in recent years.
This is the important point: the IPCC predicted that as CO2 level increases, temperatures will consistently increase as well, but they have not.
One thing seems to be certain among the many re-evaluations going on and that is that CO2 (and furthermore, manmade CO2) seems to not have the dramatic impact on global temperatures some scientists assert. Considering this, perhaps John Coleman has a point.