A new study by University of Houston researchers could threaten to unravel scientific claims used to justify the Obama administration’s global warming agenda.
Texas researchers published findings that global warming is actually reducing high-ozone days in the Houston area. The finding contradicts claims made by the Environmental Protection Agency that global warming will increase the number of days with high levels of ground-level ozone.
“We examined the past 23 years of ground-level O3 data and selected meteorological parameters in Houston, Texas, which historically has been one of the most polluted cities in the United States,” wrote researchers with the University of Houston’s Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science.
Scientists found increased sea breeze due to “increasing land surface temperatures, increased pressure gradients, and slightly stronger on-shore winds” are contributing to lower days with high levels of ground-level ozone in Houston. Stronger breezes could also be cleaning up ozone in coastal cities around the world, according to researchers.
“These patterns driven by climate change produce a strengthening of the sea breeze, which should be a general result at locations worldwide,” Texas researchers noted.
These results are good news for the city of Houston, but bad news for the Obama administration. The White House claims warmer weather — caused by fossil fuel emissions — will increase ground-level ozone concentrations and cause more problems for people with respiratory illnesses like asthma.
The University of Houston study, however, suggests coastal cities around the world could see ozone levels decrease as temperatures rise, not increase, like the Obama administration has claimed.
Ground-level ozone “is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the presence of sunlight,” and can come from natural and human sources, according to the EPA.
The agency says global warming will increase ozone levels and cause more cases of asthma and other respiratory illnesses. The EPA uses such claims as justification for tough regulations on power plants.
“Scientists project that warmer temperatures from climate change will increase the frequency of days with unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone, a harmful air pollutant, and a component in smog,” the EPA says on its webpage on the health effects of global warming.
“Ground-level ozone can damage lung tissue and can reduce lung function and inflame airways,” the website says. “This can increase respiratory symptoms and aggravate asthma or other lung diseases.”
“Because warm, stagnant air tends to increase the formation of ozone, climate change is likely to increase levels of ground-level ozone in already-polluted areas of the United States and increase the number of days with poor air quality,” the EPA warns.
The EPA is close to finalizing regulations to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The agency says its rule will cut 730 million metric tons of CO2, thus helping to reduce global temperatures and risks of high-ozone level days.
The agency doesn’t quantify the effects reducing CO2 emissions will have on ozone levels, but does argue that forcing coal-fired power plants to shut down will yield billions in health benefits from reduced ozone levels.
“The Clean Power Plan will lead to climate and health benefits worth an estimated $55 billion to $93 billion in 2030, including avoiding 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children,” according to an agency fact sheet.
The EPA’s regulation itself will have little actual effect on global climate, but the Obama administration has said the regulation is key to galvanizing support for a global climate deal to cut carbon dioxide emissions.
“If I can encourage and gain commitments from the Chinese to put forward a serious plan to start curbing their greenhouse gases, and that then allows us to leverage the entire world for the conference that will be taking place later this year in Paris,” President Barack Obama told VICE News earlier this year.
“When I’m done, we’re still going to have a heck of a problem, but we will have made enough progress that the next president and the next generation can start building on it,” Obama said.
The EPA did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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