Thursday, February 11, 2010

Republicans Join Lawsuit To Nullify Endangerment Finding

The Center believes climate change and global warming are real and represent the most important environmental issues facing us today.

However, Republican lawmakers have seized on what they refer to as “Climategate” as proof that the scientific research driving global warming concerns is fraudulent. A coalition of 13 Republican House members and 17 southeastern companies and industry associations Wednesday asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2009 determination that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare. The litigants are charging that the ruling is based on a flawed 2007 scientific assessment.

The lawmakers join the companies and industry groups in asserting that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on which EPA heavily relied in making the endangerment finding is based on faulty science. The finding was triggered by a 2007 Supreme Court ruling in which the court held that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a Clean Air Act pollutant, and that if EPA finds the gas endangers public health and welfare the agency must regulate motor vehicle CO2 emissions. Those regulations, in turn, would trigger Clean Air Act requirements that EPA regulate CO2 from large stationary sources.

The suit was brought by Reps. John Linder (Ga.), Dana Rohrabacker (Calif.), John Shimkus (Ill.), Phil Gingrey (Ga.), Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.), Tom Price (Ga.), Paul Broun (Ga.), Steve King (Iowa), Nathan Deal (Ga.), Jack Kingston (Ga.), Michele Bachman (Minn.), Kevin Brady (Texas) and Joe Barton (Texas), senior GOP member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and perhaps the most outspoken House skeptic on climate change. The industries joining Wednesday’s lawsuit are spearheaded by Valdosta, Ga.-based Langdale Co. and seven Langdale affiliates, six southeastern trucking companies, the Georgia Motor Trucking Association and the Georgia Agribusiness Council.

The legal attack on the EPA endangerment finding is based on the contents of some 1,000 private e-mails, documents and computer codes hacked from the servers of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of East Anglia University in Great Britain, which houses one of numerous sets of climate change data and other materials used in preparing the 2007 IPCC report.

The biggest controversy stemming from the release of the stolen e-mails involves the scientists referring to their solution of a modelling problem as a “trick” that would “hide” the faulty data set to preserve the modeling results they preferrred. The other controversy involved a discussion of excluding the views of a CRU scientist who was hostile to the climate change theory. (The Energy Daily, 2/11/10)

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