October 04, 2011
Posted by Katie Brown Katie_Brown@epw.senate.gov
Inhofe Calls for Hearing on Serious Flaws in EPA Endangerment Finding Process
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today delivered a speech on the Senate floor on a recently released report from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which reveals that the scientific assessment underpinning the Obama EPA's endangerment finding for greenhouse gasses was inadequate and in violation of the Agency's own peer review procedures. Senator Inhofe has requested that Senator Boxer hold a hearing on EPA's failure to engage in the required record-keeping process and peer review procedures.
Full Text of Speech:
The EPA Inspector General report released last week confirms that the endangerment finding, the very foundation of President Obama's job-destroying regulatory agenda, was rushed, biased, and flawed. It calls the scientific integrity of EPA's decision-making process into question and undermines the credibility of the endangerment finding.
The Inspector General's investigation uncovered that EPA failed to engage in the required record-keeping process leading up to the endangerment finding decision, and it also did not follow its own peer review procedures to ensure that the science behind the decision was sound. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson readily admitted in 2009 that EPA had outsourced its scientific review to the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This is an institution whose credibility has already been called into question. Even so, EPA still refused to conduct its own independent review of the science. As the EPA Inspector General found, whatever one thinks of the UN science, the EPA is still required - by its own procedures - to conduct an independent review.
Of course, I have long warned about the IPCC process. In fact, it was six years ago I sent a letter to Dr. Pachauri, the head of the IPCC, specifically raising the many weaknesses in the IPCC's peer-review process. But Dr. Pachauri dismissed my concerns. Here's how Reuters reported his response: ‘In the one-page letter, [Pachauri] denies the IPCC has an alarmist bias and says ‘I have a deep commitment to the integrity and objectivity of the IPCC process.' Pachauri's main argument is that the IPCC comprises both scientists and more than 130 governments who approve IPCC reports line by line. That helps ensure fairness, he says.'
And then as I predicted, it all came apart for the IPCC. On the Senate Floor last year, I highlighted several media reports uncovering serious errors and possible fraud by the IPCC.ABC News, the Economist, Time Magazine, and the Times of London-among many others-reported that the IPCC's research contains embarrassing flaws, and that the IPCC chairman and scientists knew of the flaws, but published them anyway-well. Media reports uncovered a number of non-peer reviewed studies that the IPCC used to make baseless claims, including that global warming would:
- Melt Himalayan glaciers by 2035
- Endanger 40 percent of Amazon rainforest endangered by global warming
- Melt mountain ice in the Alps, Andes, and Africa.
- Slash crop production by 50 percent in north Africa by 2020
These embarrassments led to a number of these same publications to demand that IPCC come clean on the review process of the IPCC
- Financial Times: "Now it is time to implement fundamental reforms that would reduce the risk of bias and errors appearing in future IPCC assessments, increase transparency and open up the whole field of climate research to the widest possible range of scientific views."
- Time magazine reported that "‘Glaciergate' is a "black eye for the IPCC and for the climate-science community as a whole."
- The Economist: "This mixture of sloppiness, lack of communication, and high-handedness gives the IPCC's critics a lot to work with."
- Newsweek: "Some of the IPCC's most-quoted data and recommendations were taken straight out of unchecked activist brochures, newspaper articles, and corporate reports-including claims of plummeting crop yields in Africa and the rising costs of warming-related natural disasters, both of which have been refuted by academic studies. Just as damaging, many climate scientists have responded to critiques by questioning the integrity of their critics, rather than by supplying data and reasoned arguments.
I concluded that speech saying, "there is a crisis of confidence in the IPCC. The challenges to the integrity and credibility of the IPCC merit a closer examination by the US Congress. The ramifications of the IPCC spread far and wide, most notably to the Environmental Protection Agency's finding that greenhouse gases from mobile sources endanger public health and welfare. EPA's finding rests in large measure on the IPCC's conclusions-and EPA has accepted them wholesale,without anindependent assessment. At this pivotal time, as the Obama EPA is preparing to enact policies potentially costing trillions of dollars and thousands of jobs, the IPCC's errors make plain that we need openness, transparency, and accountability in the scientific research financed by U.S. taxpayers."
Two months before that speech I had asked EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to delay the EPA endangerment finding based on Climategate. She told me:
"I do not agree that the IPCC has been totally discredited in any way. In fact, I think it is important to understand that the IPCC is a body that follows impartial and open and objective assessments. Yes, they had had concerns about e-mail. I do not defend the conduct of those who sent those e-mails. There is peer-review, which is part of the IPCC process. There are numerous, numerous groups of teams and independent researchers all a part of coming up with IPCC findings, such that even the IPCC has said that while we need to investigate and ensure that our scientists are to a standard of scientific conduct that we can be proud of, we stand behind our findings."
Lets remember what folks said about climategate:
- The Guardian said "Pretending that this isn't a real crisis isn't going to make it go away.
- Daily Telegraph: "this scandal could well be the greatest in modern science."
- Atlantic Magazine - "The stink of intellectual corruption is overpowering.
Now let's remember the economic ramifications of global warming regulations imposed by the Obama-EPA under the Clean Air Act will cost American consumers $300 to $400 billion a year, significantly raise energy prices, and destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs. This is not to mention the ‘absurd result' that EPA readily admits they will need to hire 230,000 additional employees and spend an additional $21 billion to implement its greenhouse gas regime if they are not given wide discretion to circumvent the law. And all of this economic pain is for nothing: as EPA Administrator Jackson also admitted before the EPW committee, these regulations will have no affect on the climate.
Also of note, what happened to Administrator Jackson's vow in 2009 that the Agency would commit to high standards of transparency because ‘The success of our environmental efforts depends on earning and maintaining the trust of the public we serve' or Obama Advisor John Holdren's promise that the Administration would make decisions based on the best possible sciencebecause, as the Presidentsaid,‘The public must be able to trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions'? Given what has come to light in this report, it appears that the Obama EPA cannot be trusted on the most consequential decision the agency has ever made.
I am calling for EPW committee to hold immediate hearings to address EPA's failure to provide the required documentation and have the science impartially reviewed.EPA needs to explain to the American people why it blatantly circumvented its own procedures to make what appears to be a predetermined endangerment finding.