NY Post baselessly claimed EPA finding is “theft of power,” based on “cooked” science

A December 10 New York Post editorial falsely claimed that the “Climategate e-mails strongly suggest that the science underlying” the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) December 7 greenhouse gas endangerment finding “has been cooked” and that the EPA finding constitutes an “egregious theft of power” undermining “the separation of powers.” In fact, climate experts have stated that the emails stolen from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia do not change the current scientific understanding of climate change; moreover, the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the EPA is required under the Clean Air Act to examine the science on the effects of greenhouse gases and to issue appropriate regulations based on that assessment.

NY Post falsely claimed stolen emails “strongly suggest” that science behind EPA finding “has been cooked”

From the December 10 New York Post editorial:

As we noted on this page two days ago, the EPA's radical power grab “paved the way for the agency to order an economically crippling cap on emissions by power plants, factories, even motor vehicles -- the very same cap that Congress has so far refused to OK.”

But Congress is quite right to proceed with caution.

Those Climategate e-mails strongly suggest that the science underlying the administration's extravagant carbon-cap claims has been cooked.

And anyway, no other major nation is willing to sign on to the effort. Is America to sacrifice its economy while others do nothing?

In fact, scientists say the emails do not undermine climate change science. Wired's Threat Level blog reported on November 20 that Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said: “There's nothing in the e-mails that shows that global warming is a hoax. ... There's nothing hidden, no manipulation. It's just scientists talking about science, and they're talking relatively openly as people in private e-mails generally are freer with their thoughts than they would be in a public forum.” The American Meteorological Society, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the science journal Nature, and others have similarly stated that the emails do not change the current scientific understanding of climate change or the consensus that human activities are contributing to global warming.

EPA finding based on several major climate research assessments. The EPA finding stated that "[t]he major assessments by the U.S. Global Climate Research Program (USGCRP), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the National Research Council (NRC) serve as the primary scientific basis supporting the Administrator's endangerment finding." A summary of these assessments is provided in the EPA's Technical Support Document, which states:

This version of the TSD, as well as previous versions of the TSD dating back to 2007, have taken the approach of relying primarily on these assessment reports because they 1) are very recent and represent the current state of knowledge on GHG emissions, climate change science, vulnerabilities, and potential impacts; 2) have assessed numerous individual, peer reviewed studies in order to draw general conclusions about the state of science; 3) have been reviewed and formally accepted, commissioned, or in some cases authored by U.S. government agencies and individual government scientists; and 4) they reflect and convey the consensus conclusions of expert authors.

IPCC chair: Assessment process “ensure[s] the elimination of any possibility of omissions or distortions.” The IPCC, which is a scientific body established by the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization, “reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide,” and its reports are the product of contributions from "[t]housands of scientists from all over the world." In a statement on the stolen emails, IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri asserted that "[e]very layer in the process (including large author teams, extensive review, independent monitoring of review compliance, and plenary approval by governments) plays a major role in keeping I.P.C.C. assessments comprehensive, unbiased, open to the identification of new literature, and policy relevant but not policy prescriptive," and that "[t]his thoroughness and the duration of the process followed in every assessment ensure the elimination of any possibility of omissions or distortions, intentional or accidental."

NY Post previously distorted EPA finding to claim it says “anything goes -- whether science justifies it or not.” In a December 8 editorial, the New York Post distorted quotes from EPA's December 7 finding to suggest that the decision is not based on reliable science, but rather on the “judgment” of EPA administrator Lisa Jackson. In fact, the full context of the quotes the Post cited makes clear that they do not support the editorial's claim that the EPA finding did not rely on scientific justification.

NY Post asserted EPA finding is an “egregious theft of power” undermining “the separation of powers”

From the December 10 New York Post editorial:

Members of Congress -- regardless of party -- should be outraged by the Obama overreach.

Whatever happened to the separation of powers, anyway?

Republican and Democratic legislators need to slap down President Obama's egregious theft of power -- now.

In fact, the Supreme Court ruled that Clean Air Act required EPA to examine greenhouse gases. The EPA finding stated that "[t]he Administrator's findings are in response to the Supreme Court's decision in Massachusetts v. EPA," in which the court ruled in 2007 that “the Environmental Protection Agency violated the Clean Air Act by improperly declining to regulate new-vehicle emissions standards to control the pollutants that scientists say contribute to global warming,” as The Washington Post reported. The court stated that “EPA identifies nothing suggesting that Congress meant to curtail EPA's power to treat greenhouse gases as air pollutants” and further ruled:

Under the Act's clear terms, EPA can avoid promulgating regulations only if it determines that greenhouse gases do not contribute to climate change or if it provides some reasonable explanation as to why it cannot or will not exercise its discretion to determine whether they do. It has refused to do so, offering instead a laundry list of reasons not to regulate, including the existence of voluntary Executive Branch programs providing a response to global warming and impairment of the President's ability to negotiate with developing nations to reduce emissions. These policy judgments have nothing to do with whether greenhouse gas emissions contribute to climate change and do not amount to a reasoned justification for declining to form a scientific judgment. Nor can EPA avoid its statutory obligation by noting the uncertainty surrounding various features of climate change and concluding that it would therefore be better not to regulate at this time. If the scientific uncertainty is so profound that it precludes EPA from making a reasoned judgment, it must say so. The statutory question is whether sufficient information exists for it to make an endangerment finding. Instead, EPA rejected the rulemaking petition based on impermissible considerations. Its action was therefore “arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not in accordance with law,” §7607(d)(9). On remand, EPA must ground its reasons for action or inaction in the statute. Pp. 30-32.

EPA: Supreme Court “interprets the statute to allow for the consideration only of science.” The EPA finding stated of the 2007 Supreme Court decision: "[I]n Massachusetts v. EPA, the court clearly indicated that the Administrator's decision must be a 'scientific judgment.' 549 U.S. at 534. She must base her decision about endangerment on the science, and not on policy considerations about the repercussions or impact of such a finding."