Since the Obama Administration came to power in Washington, the EPA has taken upon itself the mission of addressing global climate change. They have been very proactive in getting information out confirming that climate change exists and that it is caused, at least in part, by human activities. Ten petitions were sent to the agency to challenge the EPA’s position on climate change. Upon review, the EPA has decided to fully reject the claims made in the petitions, determining that they are without merit.
In December of 2009, EPA made the determination that climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions threatens public health and the environment. This sparked a barrage of petitions which claimed that climate science is unreliable. The petitioners claimed the presence of a high-level conspiracy to promote the “myth” of human induced climate change. Among the entities involved in the conspiracy are the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the US National Academy of Sciences, and the US Global Research Program.
Several petitions also expressed dismay with the process the EPA used to develop its December 2009 finding, known as the “Endangerment Finding.” For example, they claim the EPA did not independently judge the underlying science and did not post the referenced scientific studies in the docket. They also take issue with the fact that EPA ignored public concerns over emails sent by scientists from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the UK. This episode was known colloquially as “climate-gate.”
The petitions originated from industry groups, individuals, and even state governments. The petitioners include the Ohio Coal Association, Peabody Energy, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the State of Texas, the Southeastern Legal Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Arthur Randol, the Coalition for Responsible Regulation, the Pacific Legal Foundation, and the United States Chamber of Commerce. The petitions were thought-out, well written, and they warranted serious attention by the EPA. However, in the end, the EPA rejected their petitions.
EPA found there is no evidence to support the claims made by the petitioners, and felt the claims were not sufficient to alter the conclusions of the December 2009 Endangerment Finding. They believe that evidence supporting their finding is strong, thorough, and compelling. EPA believes climate change is happening, can be proved by examining key climate change indicators, and that climate change is effected by human activity.
Whether or not this action by the EPA is enough to silence anthropogenic climate change skeptics remains to be seen. Both sides are fully entrenched in their positions and believe the facts are on their side. Regardless of their disagreements, action on reducing man’s impact on climate change is imminent and perhaps long overdue.
Article by David A. Gabel, appearing courtesy Environmental News Network.