Written by icecap.us
As reported in The New York Times, 25 August 2009 by Michael Burnham of ClimateWire here, the nation's largest business group is asking U.S. EPA to hold a public debate on climate change science-or face litigation-as the agency prepares to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.
In April, EPA said it planned to declare that emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride from new automobiles and their engines contribute to air pollution that endangers public health and welfare. The proposal, which does not include any regulations, comes in response to the Supreme Court's 2007 Massachusetts v. EPA ruling.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a 21-page petition with EPA today, asking the agency to approve an on-the-record proceeding with an independent trier of fact who would allow EPA and environmental and business groups to engage in a "credible weighing" of the scientific evidence that global warming endangers human health.
EPA has hosted two public hearings and received more than 300,000 public comments on the matter already.
"They don't have the science to support the endangerment finding," Bill Kovacs, the chamber's vice president for environment, regulatory and government affairs, said in an interview. "We can't just take their word for it."
Kovacs envisions the EPA proceeding as a modern-day "Scopes Monkey Trial," where the science of global warming-rather than evolution versus creationism-would be debated. The 1925 trial, which pitted prominent defense attorney Clarence Darrow against three-time presidential candidate Williams Jennings Bryan, centered on the prosecution of John Scopes for violating a Tennessee law by teaching evolution in a high school classroom.
Much is at stake in the modern climate change debate. Declaring greenhouse gases as pollutants from automobiles would trigger Clean Air Act regulation of other emission sources, such as power plants and oil refineries, Kovacs said.
"An endangerment finding would make EPA the regulator of the U.S. economy," he warned.
Roger Pielke Sr. has posted on the EPA action in this post on his Climate Science blog here.
There was a news article in the LA times on August 25 2009 by Jim Tankersley entitled "U.S. Chamber of Commerce seeks trial on global warming". "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, trying to ward off potentially sweeping federal emissions regulations, is pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to hold a rare public hearing on the scientific evidence for man-made climate change."
I do not know if a "trial" is effective, however, it is certainly clear that the EPA ruling is scientifically very flawed, as I wrote in a series of posts:
As I have written in the last weblog above:
"In conclusion, the EPA Endangerment findings is the culmination of a several year effort for a small group of climate scientists and others to use their positions as lead authors on the IPCC, CCSP and NRC reports to promote a political agenda. Now that their efforts have reached the federal policy decision level, Climate Science urges that there be an independent commission of climate scientists who can evaluate the assessment process that led to the EPA findings as well as the climate science upon which it is constructed." The Chamber of Commerce statement further documents that independent assessments of the EPA findings are required.