Opinion

Chasing Climate Change Politics At The EPA

Pulling out of the faulty Paris climate accord, which was steeped in political and scientific gyrations, was necessary for the U.S.

Meanwhile, at the nation’s capital, former and current top level Environmental Protection Agency officials are stressed out about politics influencing scientific practice at the EPA.

In Washington, D.C. earlier in May, at a conference of the Health Effects Institute–an organization funded by the EPA and motor vehicle industry–a former Obama EPA science policy adviser, along with a senior EPA research staffer, both defended the EPA’s present climate research program.  Both rightly regard politics as being a threat to scientific practice; both were seemingly anxious about the incoming Administration’s lack of faith in consensus climate science.

Stress over presidential politics’ lean on climate science is not new.  Several years ago, Dr. Alan Carlin, now a retired EPA senior analyst, concerned about politically-influenced science, had publicly challenged the Obama EPA’s bias on climate change.  The difference is that Carlin was resisting the politically correct Obama administration.

Carlin, with an undergraduate degree in physics from Caltech bolstered by a doctorate in economics from MIT, had been at the EPA almost from its inception in 1970.  In early 2009, after submitting serious negative comments on the EPA’s draft technical support document for the endangerment finding on the adverse effects of rising levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases, Carlin had been maligned by the EPA powers-that-be for challenging the Obama administration’s poor economics and science represented in these findings.

In his 2015 book, Environmentalism Gone Mad: How a Sierra Club Activist and Senior EPA Analyst Discovered a Radical Green Energy Fantasy (Stairway Press), Carlin asserts that even if EPA’s current effort to control carbon-dioxide emissions are successful, “it will not change the climate or extreme weather in any measurable way even though Obama has proclaimed it will.  It will simply increase the rates paid for less reliable energy, with lower-income Americans bearing most of the burden along with the slow recovery of the U.S. economy.”

No surprise that Carlin is not a big fan of consensus climate science.  Alternatively, it seems that one of the Obama administration’s tactics for enforcing “consensus” opinion on climate change was to establish a post at the EPA for a Scientific Integrity Official.  The former president ostensibly created that position as part of his effort to “restore science to its rightful place”.

Recently, Kimberley Strassel, columnist extraordinaire for the Wall Street Journal, in a piece titled “Anatomy of a Deep State,” shined a spotlight on the Scientific Integrity Official.  The person hired for that position was a former director for the Union of Concerned Scientists, an apparent leftist political-science organization.  What better person to enforce rigid thinking on an airy subject than a dedicated activist.

There certainly are many of us concerned scientists in the skeptical-of-“consensus”-climate-science camp, but because we don’t think the way many Union members believe, our thinking is heretical.

Unfortunately, leftist politics has a symbiotic relationship with contemporary climate science–a science largely dominated by a leftist ideology.  So, any challenges to “consensus” climate conclusions must be opposed.  What better way to do this than by putting a leftist Scientific Integrity Official in charge of enforcing the status quo at the EPA.

The Trump administration surely has its political bent, yet such influence for scientific endeavors is unfortunately typical of Washingtonian operations.  With a fresh perspective on global climate conditions, let’s hope the Trump EPA doesn’t sacrifice science on the altar of politics, which in so many ways was apparently part of the ritual of the previous administration.

Anthony J. Sadar is a Certified Consulting Meteorologist and author of In Global Warming We Trust: Too Big to Fail (Stairway Press, 2016).