Carbon mandate: an account of collusion, cutting corners and costing Americans billions

by Judith Curry

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Releases Oversight Report: Obama’s Carbon Mandate: An Account of Collusion, Cutting Corners, and Costing Americans Billions

From the Press Release [link]:

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released a new EPW Majority Staff Oversight Report today entitled, Obama’s Carbon Mandate: An Account of Collusion, Cutting Corners, and Costing Americans Billions. The report is the product of an ongoing investigation by committee republicans on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) development of Obama’s climate rules.

“The report exposes how the Obama administration’s collusion with outside environmental groups through the use of sue-and-settle tactics has cornered out public input in the rule making process,” said Inhofe. “This oversight report discloses for the first time unredacted communications between EPA and NRDC, putting the final nail in the coffin of President Obama’s broken campaign promise for a new era of government transparency. Between the use of personal e-mail accounts and private meetings in a city park and coffee shops, there were clear attempts to avoid public involvement in crafting the carbon mandates. While EPA failed to even visit West Virginia for a field hearing on the proposed climate rules — less than 100 miles from EPA headquarters — the agency took calls from NRDC on Saturdays and in the evenings, giving them what appears to be unfettered access to EPA officials developing the rules the president announced this week. Just as disturbing, the e-mails show that EPA played politics with deadlines and misled the public on the timing of the rules to avoid election consequences. This report is not the end. The committee will continue to investigate and expose the legally-questionable actions taking place within the Obama administration regarding EPA’s costly rulemaking.”

As stated in the executive summary:

“This Majority Staff Report provides an unprecedented look into the inner-workings of EPA’s rule making process — from the time the agency entered into ‘sue-and-settle’ agreements with environmental activists in 2010 through its June 2014 proposal to limit carbon emissions from existing sources. This report, for the first time, exposes in depth how the settlement process was abused in a way that prevented the American people and those parties responsible for implementing the rules from knowing basic details of EPA’s plans to regulate let alone from participating in the process.

“Critically, documents illustrate that EPA seemingly misjudged its ability – or was too willing to appease its environmental allies – to appreciate the complexity of the task at hand. EPA initially agreed to finalize rules for new, modified, and existing sources by May 2012, less than a year and a half after the settlement was reached and well within President Obama’s first and potentially only term. That timeline quickly proved unrealistic as EPA realized these rules could cause political problems for the President or add to a regulatory “train wreck” during an election year. Despite environmentalists’ angst over completing the rules before the 2012 election, EPA tempered the groups’ expectations until after the President’s reelection.”

Findings from the report include, but are not limited to:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) efforts to regulate carbon emissions from power plants were driven by Obama Administration officials and environmental activist groups who worked to fulfill the President’s climate commitments following the defeat of climate legislation in Congress and lack of support for an international climate treaty. – pages 15-17, 29, 50, and 56

EPA rushed into a “sue-and-settle” agreement with environmental activists groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and other environmental activists in 2010 to issue unprecedented carbon regulations with little regard to the technical, legal, and policy challenges that that these rules would present. – pages 14-19, 21, 26, 30-39, 45-48, 56, and 61

EPA played politics with the regulatory process by trying to manipulate rulemaking deadlines to avoid a public backlash close to the 2012 Presidential and 2014 midterm elections, and to push implementation of the rules to the next Administration. – pages 16, 17, 31-34, 40-49, 55, and 64

EPA officials repeatedly misled the American people, the news media, and Congress about their negotiations with environmental activists and the contribution made by these activists to the development of the carbon rules. – pages 4-6, 47, 48, 54, 62-64, and 67

The White House, EPA, and environmental activists worked together to manage the public message on the carbon rules. – pages 28-29, 33-35, 39, 46, 47, 50-51, 54, and 68

EPA’s process for developing the carbon rules deviated from the Agency’s statutory authority under the Clean Air Act and established policies and circumvented transparency laws and public participation requirements. – pages 22, 23, 28, 32, 43, 48-49, and 62-64

EPA and environmental activists had cozy relationships and egregiously used personal emails and held meetings away from EPA headquarters, including a local park and coffee shops.

To read the full text of the report, click here.

Some articles written on this report:

I haven’t picked up much of a buzz about all this, but imagine if it were oil companies pulling some of this stuff; there would be widespread outrage. Outrage sure is selective these days; if your cause is politically correct, your transgressions will be overlooked.  The Peter Gleick effect, I guess.

 

205 responses to “Carbon mandate: an account of collusion, cutting corners and costing Americans billions

  1. Italian Fascism reincarnated.

  2. Inhofe’s ideal EPA would not listen to any environmentalists and would just work on behalf of the fossil fuel industry the way he does.

    • Jim D shows his bias yet again. You “know” what another person thinks/believes

      • Rob,
        Yes, I agree that JimD shows his bias with that comment. However, I do worry his may not be the only bias involved: “This Majority Staff Report provides an unprecedented look into the inner-workings of EPA’s rule making process …………”
        Since the Majority Staff is made up of those hired by, well, the majority we may not be getting the full story. After all, this is politics.

      • What about the inner workings of Inhofe’s decisionmaking process? That should be equally interesting. When do we get to see his emails with donors?

    • Translation – “It’s okay for the EPA to lie, cheat, collude, cover up and waste billions in tax dollars because we’re the good guys and the bad guys would do worse than that.” Personally I find that attitude to morally and ethically repugnant.

    • I am fairly sure the NRDC would have also talked to the Senate Environment committee during the process, and nothing would have been wrong with that either. Inhofe acts like they have been blindsided just because he disagrees with a policy.

      • Curious George

        I am fairly sure that Jim D sees a Republican/coal/oil/gas conspiracy everywhere. Lewandowski stuff.

      • I think the fossil fuel industry are getting their money’s worth for sure. Inhofe is Exhibit A.

      • Actually, Jim D, there are legal restrictions on talking to agencies during rulemakings. There are no such restrictions on talking to Congressional staffers.

      • My very first guest post here in 2011 exposed how deliberately deceitful the NRDC was in briefing Congress on possible warming impacts to crop yields. On top of which, the study they deliberately mischarcterized was itself (deliberately, IMO) fatally flawed. This got proven without question when the proud authors released their data visualizations for maize.

      • > My very first guest post here in 2011 exposed how deliberately deceitful the NRDC was in briefing Congress on possible warming impacts to crop yields.

        I think you mean 2012, and about the NRC, Sir:

        The 2011 NRC booklet itself is worse than misleading. Text accompanying the chart says, “Solid lines show best estimates”. That makes it overtly false; the worst modeled outcome is re-characterized as the best consensus estimate. And the single US maize statistical study portrayed by the NSF chart is itself false.

        https://judithcurry.com/2012/03/22/nrcs-artless-untruths-on-climate-change-and-food-security/

        I could not find a quote with the word “Congress”.

    • Jim D – In your mind there are two issues : the behaviour of the EPA and the behaviour of Sen. Jim Inhofe. You dismiss others’ concerns about one because you have concerns about the other. I suggest that a better approach would be to treat the two separately – investigate concerns about the EPA to check that they have operated correctly and investigate concerns about Sen. Jim Inhofe to check that he has operated correctly, bearing in mind that they operate under different rules.

      Incidentally, I think it might be a good idea also to review your opinion of the motivation of the fossil fuel industry : it isn’t a single entity with uniform objectives. For example, the nat gas industry has a lot to gain from the destruction of the coal industry, and it is certainly plausible that some in the nat gas industry could be working towards just that.

      • Yes, natural gas benefits a lot from the CPP, and I expect we won’t see them complaining. It is very obvious where most of the complaining is coming from, and that is Big Coal. Inhofe is just pro-CO2 because he sees the writing on the wall for Big Oil if anything is enacted. It makes sense.

      • Inhofe is just pro-CO2 because he sees the writing on the wall for Big Oil if anything is enacted. It makes sense.

        Can you spell ad hominem?

      • I think Inhofe makes no secret of putting Big Oil first in his priorities. Maybe you would be surprised if it was true, but that is a naive attitude.

      • You might as well say “nothing the defense attorney says is worth listening to because he’s on the defendant’s side.”

    • Jim di, ”carbon loot money” is a ”protection money” – same as the Chicago Mafia used to do – only now the Reds are doing it on a large scale / globally.

      ”Profiteering under false pretence” is already a crime, in every country!!! Think when the public realizes what YOU and your commissars are doing!!
      https://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/venus-runaway-greenhouse-con/

    • “Sunlight is the best disinfectant” – Loise Brandeis, SCOTUS

      “Rats do their work in the dark.” – JustinWonder, cynic and social commentator

  3. Well. I’m outraged.

    But.

    Given that morality is an artifact of a particular society at a particular time, and given that a large proportion of the American public approves of the EPA’s actions, you can’t call them immoral.

    • Likely to be seen as the ends justify the means.

      • There are two pieces to this. There is the policy and there is the process used to create the policy.

        It is perfectly fine to point out that the process for creating a policy is exceedingly flawed regardless of your position on the policy itself.

        Of course that requires honesty and a bit of respect. Sadly, the honesty piece was tossed out the window a long, long time ago. When the honesty went out the window, so did the respect. Now the default position for most politicians on the left is that the public is to stupid to understand the issue and, therefore, the lying, cheating and ethically questionable collusion is fine. After all, its ‘for their own good’.

        The conservatives have a different problem with this kind of stuff. The conservatives tend towards ‘Because God said so’ which is just as invalid as the liberal ‘Because you are too stupid to understand!’.The constant liberal refrain of Consensus! is nothing more than an appeal to authority. When the consensus is based upon the likes of Mickey Mann and John ‘I like to dress up as a Nazi’ Cook, there is a serious problem.

        If the process for creating policy is flawed chances are the policy will be as well. If the policy turns out to be right, it is by accident and not a function of the process.

        Slee

      • “The conservatives have a different problem with this kind of stuff. The conservatives tend towards ‘Because God said so’ “….is a caricature of a conservative consummated in the deluded liberal mind. I’ve seen no evidence that religious people abandon reason with any more frequency than atheists, agnostics, humanists or any other group. For most conservatives I know their conservatism is based on ideology and it’s benefits and not on religion….. although one can reinforce the other for some. I’m sure it’s happened but I can’t think of a republican that has defended any position solely on what God told him

      • Indeed, and I have studied this. Religious reasoning, when it comes to public policy, typically means finding religious reasons to support your views.

      • You must of just bought a newspaper.

        http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/poll-one-third-americans-would-827179

        Believers can now see Agitprop, Hollywood style. First take a poll…

      • tumble is correct….it is immoral and possibly illegal to deliberately avoid public discourse and scrutiny when making laws and public policy. We are a constitutional republic with the separation of powers, with a Congress constitutionally endowed with the power to enact legislation via a well defined public process.

        These people are rats operanting in the dark. We should shine a light on them and then we should crush them like vermin.

      • @justinwonder: These people are rats operanting in the dark.

        Oh, great portmanteau word, justin. Rants set to the music of Verdi would surely elevate the tone. And rats? Shades of Ratatouille.

        We should shine a light on them and then we should crush them like vermin.

        When exactly? While they were hitting a high C?

        And what with? RICO?

        Anyone can use RICO. That doesn’t mean that anyone should.

    • “given that a large proportion of the American public approves of the EPA’s actions”

      A large majority of the American public does not even understand the ramifications of the EPA’s actions in a way which could allow for legal consent if the sc***ing was a bit more intimate.

    • It is immoral and unethical to deliberately mislead. The morality of the subject matter is irrelevant.

    • Wrong! This is relativism. The level of morality of a society does change over time, but what constitutes morality varies little over time IMHO. “Do unto others…” is just as true now as 2,000 years ago, it’s society’s faithfulness to that creed that varies.

    • The EPA as an organization? No. I am betting the majority are dedicated to doing their jobs.

      Certain folks in leadership? Maybe not immoral. But certainly with an agenda and not bothered by actions which are below board.

      • Sue and settle,
        A fine fished kettle.
        ==============

      • One could look at it as the children growing up. Little Greenpeace, Sierra, WWF and NRDC have learn how the game is played. Revolving doors between agency and business are nothing new.

        The question becomes do you hold NGO’s to the same standards as you think Boeing, Exxon, Morgan Stanley and the rest should be held to.

      • @timg56: But certainly with an agenda

        As 90% of the present audience will attest, timg56 has no agenda whatsoever. Right?

      • Everyone tends to have agendas Vaughan.

        One of mine is to work with students to develop an interest in science. So that they can make their own evaluations instead of listening to people with agendas.

        My comment about the EPA was to restrain people from using too broad a brush in describing an agency with tens of thousands of people. And if you don’t believe that upper echelons of leadership there don’t have an agenda, then you are not paying attention or turning your blind eye towards it.

  4. Thanks for the post JC. These revelations are beyond scandalous, but that’s not the worst of it; once upon a time these sorts of disclosures would have had heads rolling, but today it’s business as usual. I would like to believe things will be different this time but society may be too far gone to care or pay attention, the latter IS the worst of it.

  5. Haven’t had a chance to read the whole thing yet; however, this press release suggests – at least to me – that this EPA “process” could well be the “model” (you should pardon my use of the word!) for the manner in which a desperate legacy-seeking Obama (with more than a little help from his underlings) chose to conduct the more recent so-called “negotiations” with Iran.

    • But but we just know that when they say “Death to America” they are speaking metaphorically. Right?

    • Everyone who thinks the Iran deal is good needs to watch an eye sis bee heading video or an Iranian public winch-dangling of a (happy synonym) person just to be reminded of what and who we are dealing with. The Facebook page JewsNews is a great source.

      Full disclosure: I am a big supporter of Israel. I am not a Jew. You have to know who your friends are

  6. There’s a phrase about, industry capturing its regulators, that has some elements of truth to it. In this case, the claim is the EPA has been captured. Sacrificed their objectivity and credibility.

    • Ragnaar,

      You are on to something. Instead of big oil it looks like big NGO is the hijacker. If anyone doesn’t think we are being strongly influenced by an invisible unelected government – the NGO space – they better take a good long hard look.

  7. Meetings held in coffee shops! Who do these people think they are!!!

    • Has Inhofe never met an oil exec in a restaurant? What is he implying?

      • He is holding the EPA to its promise to publish complete and transparent appointment calendars.

        pretty simple. the EPA screwed up.

        But go ahead and make excuses, like glieck

      • The opaque EPA is just symptomatic of the larger opaqueness that characterizes the Obumbles administration. This after Obumbles promised the most transparent Presidency EVA!

      • JimD and his incredibly shrinking credibility. Watch it live!

    • It would be really bad if the EPA took all of that fossil fuel money that Inhofe has taken. If that happened the “skeptics” would be going crazy..

      • BS Alert!!

      • I wouldn’t trust a partisan report from either side. And I don’t have the time or inclination to comb through the report to look for mistakes. So my default position is to usually ignore them. Have any of you read it either? Are you gonna accept the conclusions at face value?

      • I’m not the one spouting BS, you are.

      • John Carpenter

        The EPA has no problem taking money from fossil fuel companies, none whatsoever.

        http://cfpub.epa.gov/enforcement/cases/

        Some how when you take it as a penalties, the money loses its stigma…. go figure.

      • Huh? Do you understand that EPA is part of the Executive? Do you know how they are funded? Do you understand the differences between lobbying a congressman and the Executive colluding with special interests?

      • Doug, where is the evidence for “collusion?”

      • As stated in the report……
        They were colluding with special interests to circumvent the rule making process. Many people here don’t seem to have any clue about the process for rule making, e.g. notice in the Federal Register, comment period, etc

        If true, very serious issue.

      • Joseph – the other J$&@^%, or is he the same?

        “…And I don’t have the time or inclination to comb through the report to look for mistakes. So my default position is to …”

        …spout bullpucky. All bullpucky, all the time, and you have plenty of time.

      • Have you read it, justin? Do you really want to spend the time verifying everything that you read? I have already made why I think these partisan committee reports are a waste of time.

      • @jim2: I’m not the one spouting BS, you are.

        Yet another fine specimen from jim2 of the logic that has hanged people for millennia.

      • “I wouldn’t trust a partisan report from either side. And I don’t have the time or inclination to comb through the report to look for mistakes.”

        Then the intellectually honest thing to do would be to suspend judgement and STFU.

        The simple fact is this. If they did what the report claims– then they have a problem. Big problem? dunno I suspend judgement. I honestly don’t know. Just be honest Joseph, remember we are the good guys.

    • I was rather joking, I mean if this is the stuff making it into the report then its no wonder its getting ignored.

    • And for more info on the political contributions to Inhofe over his career.
      :
      https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/industries.php?cycle=Career&type=I&cid=N00005582&newMem=N&recs=20

      Energy & Natural Resources
      $2,940,298 – with Oil & Gas being number 1

      • Big oil got it’s money selling a useful product to people like you and me, different though we are.

        And how much in federal taxes do the oil companies pay?

        Do you not benefit from fossil fuels J$&@$&?

        How much do the NGOs pay in taxes?

        Do you live in a magical world bootstrapped by renewables?

        So many good questions, but so few honest answers…

      • Big oil spends a lot money on political spending to influence politicians on issues of concern. Obama’s clean power rules are a big issue of concern for fossil fuel interests.

      • You dodged the questions J@$&^%. Please answer them or be off with you.

        You sound like a politician. If it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck then…

    • Oh I know humanity. I was just trying to point out that this a partisan study and the information they used and conclusions drawn should be taken with a grain of salt.

      • Point out the errors. Otherwise, you’re just a smear artist.

      • “Oh I know humanity. I was just trying to point out that this a partisan study and the information they used and conclusions drawn should be taken with a grain of salt.”

        you are talking about the EPA right?

      • Phil Cartier

        Donating money legally to a senator or representative is perfectly OK. You may not like who donates or gets what, but it is legal.

        Subverting the Federal Rules procedures is unethical, immoral, and illegal. Negotiating the rules outside of public view is illegal. The rules process only works when the regulators are, in the words of the law, “disinterested and equitable”.

    • WRT the report I guess the question is whether any of these ‘revelations’ highlight illegal activity? I’m guessing the absense of such accusations in the summary suggests not. In which case the report amounts to little but a listing of how your political opponent may have intervened in the process to favour her position. Big deal!

      • Remember how the lefties screamed bloody murder because Cheney had an open, honest meeting with representatives of the oil companies? One meeting, not hidden. Because everyone has the right to lobby and petition government. But simply having the meeting was a huge stink.

        But the lefties violate the law with private emails (see e.g. Hillary) and violate rules for hearings. Repeatedly as part of their normal practice.

      • IMO it is notna question of ‘illegality’. Itmis a question of whether the procedures specified by the Clean Air Act were properly followed. SCOTUS just scuttled the new mercury regs because they were not. This report might open the coal regs to the same line of legal attack.

    • coffee shops and other places are a problem if they are not disclosed on the appointment calendar, as Jackson promised transparency on appointment calendars.

      basically, you don’t want off the record meetings. same goes for them using perssonal emails.

      Sorry, with the power to make regulations comes responsibility.

      anyone who has dealt with the government knows this crap.
      jeez I could not even keep a free day planner a salesman gave me, but had to report it.

    • Working after hours and on weekends, oh the humanity, will anyone think of the children.

      If the environmentalists sue government agencies for failing to meet regulatory deadlines, I have no problem with that.

      Of course the coal companies want to fight tooth and nail but didn’t the Supreme Court rule that the EPA is obligated to regulate emissions under the clean air act.

      • No, the SC ruled that EPA had to make an endangerment finding under the CAA, because the CA mentions climate change in one of several definitions of pollutant.

  8. Not sure what curryja thinks she is up to by posting this but her comment that “imagine if it were oil companies pulling some of this stuff; there would be widespread outrage” suggests that she thinks that putting a price on carbon emissions is a mistake. Apparently the Chinese do not think so given their cap and trade announcement today. The science is simple – CO2 traps heat and warms the atmosphere and a warming planet alters the climate with unknown but potentially catastrophic consequences for human civilization. We can argue about the timing and depth of climate changes but why a serious scientist would want to continue this uncontrolled experiment on our only home is a distressing puzzle. Perhaps she could reconsider her obstanence for the sake of our collective future. Other than a few Republicans, the rest of the world thinks we should reconsider our current behavior including the Pope and the Chinese. Tax carbon!

    • To anyone paying attention, the science is anything but simple.

      • Bill, I’m paying very close attention. The science of the role of CO2 in the planetary system is simple. How the trapping of more heat manifests in the system is complex. Waiting to figure out whether the complexity is dangerous or not is foolish, particularly when human ingenuity can find a way to get us off of carbon.

      • Can’t fix stupid. He’s on a mission to save the planet. Too busy to think.

      • Uncle writes- “The science is simple – CO2 traps heat and warms the atmosphere and a warming planet alters the climate with unknown but potentially catastrophic consequences for human civilization.”

        My response- You have no reliable evidence of any net harm much less catastrophic consequences. What you have is a strong system of belief

      • Rob Starkey: My response- You have no reliable evidence of any net harm much less catastrophic consequences. What you have is a strong system of belief

        Whereas your opposing belief is backed up by more reliable evidence?

        Unless you have such evidence then you have an even stronger system of belief, namely that UR has no reliable evidence.

        Which is complete rubbish, UR has tons of evidence, sufficiently convincing for 60,000 members of the American Geophysics Union and a comparable number of members of the European Geophysics Union, to to believe that evidence.

        Say what you like but you’re fighting a losing battle. CO2 is a serious problem recognized by scientists worldwide along with those who take the scientists’ word on this more seriously than that of the climate sceptics.

    • Curious George

      The science may be simple, but models got an elementary physics wrong, and don’t do anything to correct it, see
      https://judithcurry.com/2013/06/28/open-thread-weekend-23/#comment-338257

    • To believe or not to believe in taxing carbon isn’t the relative point in reference to ““imagine if it were oil companies pulling some of this stuff; there would be widespread outrage”: the outrage is in regards to the collusion; subterfuge; dishonesty; manipulation; opaqueness; etc., basically doing ends around the American people in the leverage of power. The fact that you don’t even recognize this as and issue, besides the fact that it’s astonishing that you don’t, is entirely the point to the PC reference.

    • Uncle Robot

      Here is the Wall Street Journal take on the deal

      http://www.wsj.com/articles/as-china-unveils-carbon-cap-and-trade-challenges-loom-1443187293

      The details are due to be announced during talks with Obama. I don’t know if this has happened yet or happens tomorrow? (I am from the UK)

      China currently runs several cap and trade schemes whose effectiveness seems to be unclear. One of the problems will be monitoring, another will be endemic corruption which might mean firms circumvent the scheme.

      tonyb

    • Uncle illogical
      Not sure what curryja thinks she is up to by posting this but her comment that “imagine if it were oil companies pulling some of this stuff; there would be widespread outrage” suggests that she thinks that putting a price on carbon emissions is a mistake”

      1. You say you dont know what she is up to.
      2. You argue that it suggests she thinks carbon pricing is a mistake.

      It suggests NO SUCH THING.

      Dr. Curry is complaining about the asymetrical response to getting favors.

      Case A: FF companies getting favors
      case B: Enviro groups getting favors

      BOTH pollute the setting of policy.

      As you claim, you dont know what she is up to

      A) FRICKING ASK HER
      B) Keep your speculations to your self. if you dont know, suspend judgement

    • Well, Steve, if she outright said carbon pricing is a mistake or Obama’s policy should be rejected, then that would be explicit advocacy and she tries to avoid that (although I think not always successfully) but what she seems to do frequently is ‘suggest’ that we shouldn’t back a policy by posting negative commentaries on policies or their implications.

      • there is evidence of (let’s call it) misbehavior on the part of the EPA in the creation of policies which is an indicator that those policies might be equally “not about the science”, right?

        No, Danny, you need to tell me how the EPA regulations are “not about the science.” Those are your words. Do you think the “science” would tell us they needed to do something different or not reduce our emissions at all?

      • Joseph,

        You’ve given an answer enough for me. You don’t seem to care about the science whatsoever as long as you get the policies you want. You’re quite obviously comfortable that the ends justify the means.

        Dr. Curry in her congressional testimony stated that our emissions reduction plans would have inconsequential effects. I’m confident that you would not accept that as evidence. I’m equally confident that you would accept no other evidence I provided. You’ve fully rejected the ‘majority’ staff’s report already. So I fear there would be no value in my providing further evidence as it would be contrary to your ‘belief’ and therefore a theological issue.

        To make it easy for you, here’s the link she kindly provided to us once again: https://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/house-science-testimony-apr-15-final.pdf

        From page 11: “Apart from considerations of feasibility and cost, it has
        been estimated24 using the EPA MAGICC model that this commitment will prevent 0.03o C in warming by 2100. When combined with commitments from other nations, only a small fraction of the projected future warming will be ameliorated by these commitments. If climate models are indeed running too hot, then the amount of warming prevented would be even smaller. Even if emissions immediately went to zero and the projections of climate models are to be believed, the impact on the climate would not be noticeable until the 2nd half of the 21st century. It is not clear exactly what the INDC commitments are expected to accomplish.”

      • Dr. Curry in her congressional testimony stated that our emissions reduction plans would have inconsequential effects.

        So what the environmentalist wanted in the EPA rules is inconsequential effects?

      • Joseph,
        “So what the environmentalist wanted in the EPA rules is inconsequential effects?”
        Or maybe they erred?

        You asked for some science and it was provided. Ironically, sourced from an EPA tool (MAGICC).

        Sounds a bit like you’re ‘speculating’ there Joseph, and I thought it was quite clear that that’s not your style. Yet still, it seems you’re awfully comfortable that the ends (no matter the result) just DO justify the means.

        Prior to this dialogue, this would not have been my impression of you. Today, however………………

      • I don’t know what you are talking about. Danny. The takeaway from this is that because they discussed the rules with environmental that somehow everyone else had their concerns ignored. And the implication is that because of this we ended up with what environmentalists wanted and it is somehow flawed. I haven’t seen the evidence for any of this in this article and don’t want to wade through the report. So maybe you can summarize it for me, Danny.

      • Joseph,
        No, I won’t summarize. Do your own work or Mosher will disown you! If I state it, you won’t believe it anyway. Dr. Curry presented the data (to Congress in fact), provide the source, and the source went thru it in detail. It’s up to you from here. You would not ‘believe’ me anyhow. And Dr. Curry stated to JimD that she’s just reviewed a paper that indicates the results of the EPA’s emissions regulations will actually be less advantageous than the source she used to congress indicated.

        I don’t think it indicates the EPA regs are flawed (depending on the goal), just ineffective (in reduction of global warming). So using the ‘less than above board methods’ the EPA used in achieving those policies (as indicated via the majority report) may have resulted in damage to the EPA’s reputation all while leading to less than effective results. And as someone else stated, congress controls the money so the EPA’s reputation might just be important.

      • I would like to see the working numbers that gives 0.03 C, because any normal assumptions give something in the range of 0.2 C, the effect of several hundred GtCO2 which the US alone can have.

      • JimD,
        That’s a great question and one that I think is quite reasonable to ask Dr. Curry for the support of that conclusion. Thankfully, at the bottom of page 11 an internet address was supplied. Following that address leads to CATO but within that a full explanation is provided. Now I didn’t myself download the MAGICC Ver 6, but you can should you chose. As Mosher insists, the did “show their work”.

        Links: http://www.cato.org/blog/002degc-temperature-rise-averted-vital-number-missing-epas-numbers-fact-sheet

      • JimD,
        It appears that CATO used RCP6.0 in achieving that result:

      • I’ve actually just reviewed a paper on this topic, and the numbers are slightly smaller

      • If they are using IPCC numbers, you get 1 C per 1500 GtCO2. The reduction from cutting emissions by 80% by 2050 is several hundred GtCO2 just from the US alone, depending on what you consider BAU to be. This can only give tenths of a degree, not hundredths.

      • JimD,

        Is that what the EPA plan proposes? “All told—the Plan puts our nation on track to cut carbon pollution from the power sector by 30 percent
        by 2030—that’s about 730 million metric tonnes of carbon pollution. ”
        http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-06/documents/20140602fs-important-numbers-clean-power-plan.pdf

        Cato’s assumptions:
        1) U.S. carbon dioxide emissions make up 50 percent of the OECD90 carbon dioxide emissions.
        2) Carbon dioxide emissions from electrical power production make up 40 percent of the total U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.

        Then Cato’s methods:
        To examine the impact of the EPA proposal, we replace the emissions attributable to U.S. power plants in the original RCPs with targets defined in the new EPA regulations. We determined those targets to be (according to the EPA’s Regulatory Impacts Analysis accompanying the regulation), 0.4864 GtC in 2020 and 0.4653 GtC in 2030. Thereafter, the U.S. power plant emissions were held constant at the 2030 levels until they fell below those levels in the original RCP prescriptions (specifically, that occurred in 2060 in RPC4.5, 2100 in RCP6.0, and sometime after 2150 in RCP8.5).

        We then used MAGICC to calculate the rise in global temperature projected to occur between now and the year 2100 when with the original RCPs as well as with the RCPs modified to reflect the EPA proposed regulations (we used the MAGICC default value for the earth’s equilibrium climate sensitivity (3.0°C)).”

        And results:
        “The rise in projected future temperature rise that is averted by the proposed EPA restrictions of carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants is less than 0.02°C between now and the end of the century assuming the IPCC’s middle-of-the-road future emissions scenario.

        While the proposed EPA plan seeks only to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, in practice, the goal is to reduce the burning of coal. Reducing the burning of coal will have co-impacts such as reducing other climatically active trace gases and particulate matter (or its precursors). We did not model the effects of changes in these co-species as sensitivity tests using MAGICC indicate the collective changes in these co-emissions are quite small and largely cancel each other out.”

        Certainly there are indications of health benefits and associated cost reductions, but the conversation and Dr. Curry’s citation were specific towards the impacts on temperature and this indicates it would be nominal at best.

      • The energy plan is only a part of a broader announced plan to reduce total emissions 80% by 2050. With these numbers the effect of the policy as a whole is several hundred GtCO2, even if you take BAU as flat, not rising emission rates. Sure, you can select small parts of the policy and seemingly ignore the 80% by 2050 goal, but that is not representative of the actual US commitment for 2100 which amounts to an order of magnitude greater effect.

      • JimD,
        You’re gonna have to provide sources.

        EPA (which is what Dr. C’s statement was based) says reduce by 30% by 2050:
        UNFCCC is a 2025 plan, but not part of what is seen as an EPA commitment: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/03/31/fact-sheet-us-reports-its-2025-emissions-target-unfccc

        And hope, but no plan (needs congressional action) for 80% by 2050.
        “While ultimately we believe that bipartisan Congressional action is vital to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050, we applaud the Obama Administration for this monumental first step.”
        http://fcnl.org/issues/energy/EPA_carbon_rule_101/

        Are you possibly providing Jim D’s ‘wishful thinking’?

        Looks to me like Dr. C and Cato are right on target with this one, Mr. D.

      • Yes, I don’t think they are asking the EPA to make plans now beyond 2030, because they have to plan for that first, but the broader INDC commitment for all sectors is 80%, and more useful as a guideline if you are looking at effects out to 2100 as Cato was. It is plainly a bad assumption for them to think they will just stop at 30% given this broader context. It is almost like they are trying to downplay the policy’s effect deliberately, because I think many were fooled by the 0.02 C number, and not being given the number for the long-term commitment of all sectors.

      • JimD,
        I don’t think that’s correct at all. The EPA has a published and marketed set of goals and the fact that those goals do not achieve much in the way of accomplishment towards the purported goal of addressing global warming needs to have the light of day shined upon it. Dr. Curry used (rightly IMO) the evidence at hand. The RCP scenarios have numerous built in assumptions and much reliance is paid to those scenarios. Having a fair and even handed evaluation of those scenarios published is eminently reasonable. At least as reasonable as the publishing of the scenarios themselves.

        As you stated: “It is almost like they are trying to downplay the policy’s effect deliberately, because I think many were fooled by the 0.02 C number, and not being given the number for the long-term commitment of all sectors.” It is equally ‘almost like others are trying to up play the BAU scenarios’ and based on the observable evidence in hand that scenario could lead to ‘many being fooled’ as well. In fact, I believe Dr. Curry told you earlier in this thread she has participated in the review of a work indicating the numbers might be even less. Peer review and all, ya know.

        Keep in mind the heading of this post: “Carbon mandate: an account of collusion, cutting corners and costing Americans billions”.

      • Like I said, a poor assumption to say that no further reduction takes place after 2030 given the INDC that I am sure they know about, wouldn’t you agree? What were they thinking?

      • Jim D,

        What were they thinking? I think it’s stated quite clearly. The EPA’s emissions regs won’t prove effective.

        The rest is all assumptions.

      • Obviously if they just reduce it 30% and stop there until 2100, it would not be effective, but the broader INDC policy, of which this is just a part, says that is exactly what they are not doing. That says the total effect by 2100 would be ten times larger. It is a piece of information that, if omitted, comes close to just misinformation, because now you only hear the 0.02 C quoted by the politicians, not the 0.2 C. Switching from coal to mostly natural gas is not the extent of the US policy, not even close.

      • Jim D,

        Show me! Don’t tell me. Dr. C and Cato showed me and the discussion was about the EPA. INDC is not the EPA, but for your ease here’s the latest link I can find: http://www4.unfccc.int/submissions/INDC/Published%20Documents/United%20States%20of%20America/1/U.S.%20Cover%20Note%20INDC%20and%20Accompanying%20Information.pdf

        This was found via the whitehouse link provided earlier and leads to 28% reduction from 2005 levels. Close enough to the EPA goals of 30% which have been analysed and shown to be ineffective (at temp. reduction) by Cato and indications are there’s a paper in peer review which may show ‘it’s worse than you thought’.

        Lacking data, the rest is assumptions.

      • Why would you or anyone think that the EPA plan is independent of the INDC? They are not coincidentally both near 30% for 2030. Cato only want to separate it as a divide and conquer strategy. Next they’ll say fuel economy measures only save x hundredths of a degree too. They have already separated the US out from a global plan. It’s just playing politics.

      • This seems to come from an article published on the CATO website by Chip Knappenberger and Pat Michaels: “0.02°C Temperature Rise Averted: The Vital Number Missing from the EPA’s “By the Numbers” Fact Sheet”

      • “So what the environmentalist wanted in the EPA rules is inconsequential effects?”
        Or maybe they erred?

        They didn’t err. The effects on “global temperature” (assuming linear IPCC assumptions) were inconsequential. The effects on the economy are intended to be massive.

        Watermelons. “Green” on the outside, red on the inside.

      • AK,
        Um. I can’t quite buy in to that. I don’t for a moment ‘believe’ that there is some sort of massive ‘kill the economy’ conspiracy out there. My ‘belief’ is that most folks are of good hearts in this conversation, but sometimes their minds just don’t play out scenarios as well and thoroughly as they should.

      • AK,
        Can’t watch. Don’t have that good of internet right now. But Naomi is no more of a ‘climate scientist’ than Al Gore is. She’s a historian but with a bias.

        As I said, the minds sometimes don’t play out the scenarios as thoroughly as they should.

      • The takeaway from this is that because they discussed the rules with environmental that somehow everyone else had their concerns ignored. And the implication is that because of this we ended up with what environmentalists wanted and it is somehow flawed.

        They “discussed the rules with environmental [sic]” then cheated using the courts to make an end run around discussing it with anybody else. This is essentially unfair in process, it’s hardly surprising that anybody finding the result offensive feels cheated. Rightly.

    • “The science is simple – CO2 traps heat and warms the atmosphere and a warming planet alters the climate with unknown but potentially catastrophic consequences for human civilization.”

      You’re right…that really is so simple…in fact, so simple that it not only isn’t accurate but highly misleading. I’m surprised that anyone would maintain this cartoon characterization of how the atmosphere and climate work.

    • “Well, Steve, if she outright said carbon pricing is a mistake or Obama’s policy should be rejected, then that would be explicit advocacy and she tries to avoid that (although I think not always successfully) but what she seems to do frequently is ‘suggest’ that we shouldn’t back a policy by posting negative commentaries on policies or their implications.”

      In this case she is doing something different.
      She is noting selective outrage

      She is advocating INTEGRITY

      stop being dense, we are on the same side and your logic is embarassing

      • For some, integrity is whatever furthers the revolution.

      • She is advocating INTEGRITY

        stop being dense, we are on the same side and your logic is embarassing

        I don’t see her pointing out any integrity issues with the “skeptical.” side. Why is her outrage so selective, Steven? Are the skeptics and fossil fuel industry all angels on this issue?

      • your logic is embarassing

        Does this post make you want to oppose the EPA regulations or support them, Steven? Why does Dr. Curry even need to post this in the first place? This has NOTHING to do with climate science.

      • Joseph,
        Pardon my interruption but :”This has NOTHING to do with climate science.”

        Isn’t that the point of the post? The report (yes, it might be biased) indicates there is evidence of (let’s call it) misbehavior on the part of the EPA in the creation of policies which is an indicator that those policies might be equally “not about the science”, right?

        So Joseph, do you care more about the goals being reached (ends justifying the means as P.E. suggested) or do you care more about “the science”?

        And I’ll answer your question. The post itself makes me neither support nor oppose the EPA regulations. But it does give reason to view them with just a bit of skepticism.

        And you?

      • Danny, what leads you to believe that they weren’t following the science when determing how much to reduce emissions? Obviously, this is just a first to get to the emissions reductions we will need in the future. In fact, a conservative first step, compared to what most environmental group would want. No I don’t see how the influence of lenvironmental groups is superseding the science

      • Joseph,

        I’m guessing you didn’t read what I wrote. I suggested the report is likely biased due to it’s source. I commented there is evidence of ‘misbehavior’ on the part of the EPA leading to policies which (and I quote) “might be equally not about the science”.

        Since you’re so comfortable with the ends justifying the means here please provide the science that was followed; what the future emissions reductions we will need (since this was such a ‘conservative first step); the results of those reductions. Thank you.

        Or, since you so clearly stated: ” No I don’t see how the influence of environmental groups is superseding the science” was that statement based on the answers to my requested evidence in para 2 above, or based on ‘belief’?

      • Joseph- Regardless of one’s position regarding the risks of future harm, all should agree that government regulators should have integrity and follow the established processes. A failure to do so (regardless of the side benefiting or cause) harms the long term function of effective government.

      • Talking to a lefty about the Rule of Law is like talking to a Muslim about women’s rights.

      • Joseph- Regardless of one’s position regarding the risks of future harm, all should agree that government regulators should have integrity and follow the established processes. A failure to do so (regardless of the side benefiting or cause) harms the long term function of effective government.

        You are right, Rob. But I wouldn’t rely on some partisan committee report for your information. They aren’t reported on by the media because they are usually obviously biased and misleading on both sides. I used to follow politics very closely and watched CSPAN, so I know how it works.

      • Yeah, the media is a reliable source of unbiased information.

      • Folks,

        Leave Joseph alone. He has repeatedly stated he isn’t qualified or knowledgeable enough to evaluate the science. He has also regularly demonstrated critical thinking skills that are on par with those of my slightly retarded brother.

      • TIMG56,
        Please don’t.

        There are many more of us out here who don’t have the background and can use the assistance of those of you who do. I ask for that assistance regularly myself as I’m aware of my lacking.

      • “I don’t see her pointing out any integrity issues with the “skeptical.” side. Why is her outrage so selective, Steven? Are the skeptics and fossil fuel industry all angels on this issue?”

        Its simple. Other people are calling out FF industry… noo point in piling on.

        Its a rare person who can call out both sides equally.

        Further it has no bearing on the necessity of calling out the EPA and greens.

      • Danny,

        You are interested in learning. Joseph doesn’t appear to be.

        All he brings is his sincerity. My brother is usually sincere. Doesn’t make him any less challenged mentally.

    • The science is simple – CO2 traps heat and warms the atmosphere and a warming planet alters the climate with unknown but potentially catastrophic consequences for human civilization.

      potentially catastrophic consequences for human civilization.”

      Warming is a trend, and if you extrapolate any trend indefinitely into the future, things get bad.

      Population growth is also a trend. Extrapolate indefinitely and you can also panic.

      But, wait, population is rapidly decelerating, on track for a decline soon. Hooray!

      And guess what? CO2 won’t increase indefinitely. Hooray!

      Further, populations are declining where the world has developed economically.
      Contrary to what the egregiously wrong Erlichs, and Schneiders, and Popes of the world have said, capitalism leads to declining population and reduced environmental footprint. Hooray!

      And that’s not all.

      People focus on ‘solving’ the imagined problem of global warming by changing fuel types to reduce CO2. But below are the problems of overpopulation from Wiki include:

      Inadequate fresh water
      Depletion of natural resources
      Increased levels of air,water, soil, and noise pollution
      Deforestation and loss of ecosystems
      Loss of arable land
      Habitat destruction
      High infant and child mortality
      Child malnutrition
      Unsanitary conditions and disease spread
      Conflict over scarce resources
      Less personal freedom and more restrictive laws

      So, you could:

      1. Change fuel and:
      reduce CO2.

      -or-

      2. Reduce
      reduce CO2, and
      insure greater fresh water per person, and,
      insure greater access to natural resources per person, and
      reduce air,water, soil, and noise pollution, and,
      reduce deforestation and loss of ecosystems, and,
      increase the amount of arable land per person, and,
      reduce habitat destruction, and,
      reduce high infant and child mortality, and,
      reduce child malnutrition, and,
      reduce unsanitary conditions and reduce disease spread, and,
      reduce conflict over scarce resources, and,
      increase personal freedom

      Choose wisely.

    • You seem to have a lot of questions.
      Given the depth of knowledge implied by your other points,
      I’m not surprised.

    • Tax carbon!

      You see, you have not only a problem (supported by “science”), but a “solution” you are mis-using the science to support.

      Sure, there’s a risk. And there are things that could, and in many people’s opinion should, be done to mitigate it (the risk). But that doesn’t necessarily include a carbon tax.

      A carbon tax wouldn’t work, or wouldn’t happen. (That is, one big enough to work isn’t going to happen, and one small enough to happen wouldn’t work.) The science is very iffy, and certainly doesn’t justify the size of carbon tax that would be necessary.

      Go away. Preferably back to the drawing board.

    • John Carpenter

      But the Chinese
      But Climate Change!
      But catastrophic climate change!
      But the rest of the world
      But the Pope… and China

    • The science is simple – CO2 traps keeps the atmosphere from cooling and is major part of the food chain, not increasing it alters the climate with unknown and potentially catastrophic consequences for human civilization.

    • Robotic thinking. Time for an upgrade. Don’t forget to reboot for the upgrade to have an effect.

    • Uncle robot…Then why mess around? Why not declare that we are going to provide enough electrical energy to the grid to power public and private transportation with electricity.? Toward that end we will replace Coal fired power facilities with nuclear in sufficient quantity to meet the new level of demand. The President announces this as an “Apollo” goal to implement in fifteen years! Problem solved and with the introduction of thorium reactors the issue of waste mitigated! And now we have the sort of robust energy production that can support a modern industrial society!

    • Uncle:

      Have you actually looked at the agreement that China announced? They promise to start curbing fossil fuel usage in 2030(!)

      So if you think the Chinese are serious, you are not…

  9. I don’t advocate for or against policy, I just post consistently negative things about it…

  10. There is administrative law governing ex parte contacts during agency rulemaking. The question is whether that law has been broken? Sue and settle may also be illegal if it can be shown to be the result of collusion between the agency and the plaintiffs. Keep in mind that this report was written by lawyers who know this area of the law well.

  11. In other news, WUWT reports that 90% of scientists in all fields believe AGW (WUWT says …but continental drift), and they report on the Pope’s climate view (WUWT says …but Galileo).

  12. Ok, the press release and report is dated 4th August 2015. Presumably in the intervening 7 weeks there has been much informed comment, repercussions, claims and counter claims on the released findings?.

    There sees to be some cultural overtones with the EPA from some denizens that I miss out on, so could someone bring me up to date on what has happened SINCE August 4th?

    tonyb

    • Tony, I monitor several green wire services and never heard about this report, so I guess it has mostly been ignored. The Pope has been the central focus. Mind you Congress was on holiday for most of this time and now we are facing a government shutdown next week, which takes most attention. But I see this report more as a legal brief than as a pot boiler. EPA talks to environmentalists is not a news hook.

  13. JC – will you post on the news today of China agreeing to cap and trade program (New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/25/world/asia/xi-jinping-china-president-obama-summit.html), how that will really affect China’s CO2 emissions and how it even can happen in any meaningful foreseeable future: around 65% of China’s primary energy is from coal and 5% from natural gas; 63% of electricity generation is from coal and 4% from natural gas; and, 80% of total CO2 emissions are from coal (all EIA figures). China has very little natural gas pipeline and supply infrastructure. I am anxious to hear Xi Jinping’s/China’s detailed plan and how implementing cap and trade will solve the real problem. More likely it is a positive bone to throw out in the current negotiations in Washington DC that will be covering Chinese espionage & hacking, China’s future role with Iran, and China’s aggressive territorial expansion in the South China sea plus aggressive military buildup.

    • Yes, i am starting to work on week in review. the china news is definitely a big one.

    • Maybe the Republican talking point about America not being able to do anything alone, so don’t even try, is gone now. In the real world, everyone is making a parallel effort.

      • We are about as much impressed with the Red Chinese Thugocracy’s lip service to cap and trade as we are with their lies about human rights guarantees.

      • John Carpenter

        But China

      • Well when you manipulate your stock exchange, manipulate your currency and keep building new coal powered power stations at an accelerated rate and then tell the world and a gullible President that you won’t decrease your carbon emissions until 2030 because it will impact on your economy detrimentally, you know who the Chinese are looking after and it ain’t the worlds climate. And if you think that they are the good guys, then join Obama as the next act on the Comedy Channel.

    • JC – will you post on the news today of China agreeing to cap and trade program

      Don’t be fooled again!

      China agreed in 2014 to slow down CO2.
      This 2015 announcement is to reduce CO2 emissions outright.

      But why are they making these announcements?

      Because they already have falling rates of emissions!

      This is predictable from demographics and economics:

      This is not a bad thing.

      But in the same way that fertility rates in China were falling decades before‘one-child’ policy, the don’t fall for the idea that government actions ( any government, not just China ) are changing the world – the reverse is true – the governments are trying to coat-tail onto existing change.

  14. Someone needs to explain sue-and-settle. Is it just an effective way of getting things done within the legal framework? Wouldn’t Republicans use sue-and-settle if the shoe was on the other foot?

    • Someone needs to explain sue-and-settle.

      EPA’s Secret And Costly ‘Sue And Settle’ Collusion With Environmental Organizations

      “Sue and Settle “ practices, sometimes referred to as “friendly lawsuits”, are cozy deals through which far-left radical environmental groups file lawsuits against federal agencies wherein court-ordered “consent decrees” are issued based upon a prearranged settlement agreement they collaboratively craft together in advance behind closed doors. Then, rather than allowing the entire process to play out, the agency being sued settles the lawsuit by agreeing to move forward with the requested action they and the litigants both want.

      In other words, the agency throws the case, somewhat like Bre’r Rabbit agreeing to be thrown into a favorite brier-patch. A big difference however, is that in this case, Farmer McGregor andMr. Rabbit were partners in the scam from the beginning. It’s the unwary American public that actually does get caught in the thorns.

      While the environmental group is given a seat at the table, outsiders who are most impacted are excluded, with no opportunity to object to the settlements. Accordingly, both the litigants and the defendant agency, operating in coffee bars and friendly courtroom shadows, avoid the harsh outside glare of oversight. No public notice about the settlement is released until the agreement is filed in court…after the damage has been done.

      Bottom line: the bureaucrats and radical NGO’s are doing an end-run around the legally mandated public comment and approval process. Even if the public got to comment, the agency would have no requirement to listen to their comments, because there was already a court order in place.

    • Is it just an effective way of getting things done within the legal framework?

      An effective way of getting things done by excluding many of the most important victims/stakeholders?

      • I think the Republicans just figured out that they got outsmarted.

      • I think a few bureaucrats and radicals engaged in a RICO conspiracy.

      • Anyway, they didn’t just figure it out. That Forbe’s article I linked was from Feb, 2013.

        My guess, this is more Paris posturing, like the leftist demand for RICO prosecutions. Or rather, the timing is. They do seem to have a pretty good case.

      • The question is whether it is legal? What the Republicans may now have is good evidence of wrongdoing. That this has been going on is well known, but having good evidence is another matter. Could be fun.

      • 88 cases. How many of those are related to CO2 from power stations? Few, if any, I think. I still don’t see the connection to CPP. Are they clutching at straws?

      • This brings to the fore the tantalizing question if a judge can be indicted under RICO!! :)

      • Are they clutching at straws?

        Nope. if the EPA is a bunch of gangsters in collusion with radical NGO’s, if the accusation and investigation are even out there, it will make a big difference at Paris. Same as the proposed RICO investigation of oil companies.

        More importantly, and longer-term, there need to be better standards for regulatory agencies. This avenue of making an end-run around the public comment and approval process needs to be closed off.

        Of course, one of the biggest problems is that Congress keeps loading stuff onto the EPA that it’s not prepared to do. And part of the reason for that, IMO, is the child-like faith leftists have in “government regulation”. The seem to see it as some sort of magical process that will magically solve tough, “wicked mess”-type problems with a few hundred pages of regulations.

        A far better approach, IMO, would be to come up with general proposals that wouldn’t take a lot of regulatory interpretation to implement: something like a fossil-carbon analog of the Flat Income Tax, in preference to the maze of laws, original regulations, and implementary regulations that currently infest the Federal income tax structure.

        And no, a “carbon tax” wouldn’t do it. Not by the time you factor in the need to avoid driving local industry away, which requires new tariffs on imports from countries without an equivalent tax, and the need to deal with changes to relative currency values, and their impact on whether, and what size, tariffs would be needed between which countries.

        I can imagine the “climate crisis” even being used to drive the demand for a single world-wide currency, with a single world-spanning equivalent of the Federal Reserve.

        Isn’t that a wonderful idea? They could put Rajendra Pachauri in charge!

      • If all these cases are about individual local issues like haze, endangered species and sulfate pollution, which is all I have seen so far, they are beside the point for CO2 and CPP. Someone has to make the connection, which may be why this did not take off.

    • Curious George

      A Smith&Wesson is an extremely effective way to achieve almost anything.

    • No. Because they didn’t when they were in the White House.

      Is it effective? Sure. Corrupt and illegal, but effective.

  15. This sounds much more RICO-worthy than being an oil company and pushing back against new science that threatens your business. Sue-and-settle is could plausibly be considered extortion and/or racketeering. Quite plausibly.

  16. Holy Father!
    after contemplating the information in the last post about the possible threat of CO2 to the oceans
    … a more deep contemplation BTW, unusual for me
    I come to Climate Etc. and read this post and
    I am yanked back to my natural shallow state
    this whole thing is a political cult
    CO2 the magic molecule
    bringer of life, destroyer of worlds, trace gas
    depending on one’s politics

    of all the things that could alter our lives
    of all the possible impact humans may be having on the environment
    and all this focus on CO2?
    this has the hallmarks of a fetish

    beats anything I’ve ever seen
    and I been to two barn dances and a out a town rodeo
    (paraphrasing once again my favorite line from Dr. Strangelove)
    :)

  17. Add unauthorized redistribution to the list.

    “At EPA, we couldn’t agree more. Environmental justice is at the core of everything we do – including our work to address climate change. Climate change is personal—it affects every American. But low-income and minority communities are particularly vulnerable to climate-related changes like stronger storms, floods, fires, and droughts. And on top of that, they are often the least able to rebuild after a disaster.”

    https://blog.epa.gov/blog/2015/09/the-popes-visit/

  18. Cass R. Sunstein: What Jeb Bush gets right on regulatory reform

    […]

    Also excellent: Reform the process of “sue-and-settle,” in which public interest groups sue federal agencies to force them to issue rules. In some cases, the agencies don’t really disagree, but have refrained from acting in part because of political constraints. Once an agency enters into a settlement agreement, it’s under a legal obligation to act within a specified amount of time.

    That’s a problem, because the public may not get a sufficient chance to comment on the regulation, and because OIRA review will be limited by the settlement agreement. Bush wants to ensure a more vigorous process of public scrutiny and OIRA review before regulations are submitted to courts. That step would rein in unnecessary costs.

    If even hyper-liberal Cass Sunstein is against it, it’s pretty bad.

    • Just a glancing hypothesis, but Cass is ALL about government control, so maybe that explains his position on this.

      “and because OIRA review will be limited by the settlement agreement.”

      maybe.

  19. These environmental activists are often funded by oil and gas companies to screw over the coal companies.

  20. I have spent most of my career as an engineer in a “regulated industry”: heavy duty trucks. I have had many types of relationships with EPA in my time, most of which were cordial..at least polite..and productive. We worked with them on methods and practices and the science. I think it is fair to characterize the EPA of the past as having a science-driven agenda with cleaner air and cleaner water, and a healthier environment as the goal. For people of my vintage, we remember smog alerts and rivers green with industrial waste. It it beyond question that EPA has been successful in these areas.

    Sadly, the agency has morphed into an instrument of policy for the administration, as many of their recent actions demonstrate. This is unfortunate, but should not be interpreted as indicating that there aren’t some very good people there. The undue influence of any interest group may simply be to stifle the voices of reason and science that I know are still active at EPA; who serve the public interest with integrity and dedication.

    That said, collectively they have lost their way and need to be refocused on their core mission: the public good.

    • DT
      EPA accomplished a lot. May be past the easy success low hanging fruit. Superfund cleanups and clean water point discharge reductions have greatly reduced toxic loads in the US. Removal of lead additives and then MTBF(oops) from fuels have reduced impacts of transportation. Vehicle emissions controls have reduced local transportation smog and coal fired power plants controls on NOx and SOx plus mercury have reduced pollutants and particulates. Maybe they are looking for new successes that are not as easily achieved as the first round. They should be careful to maintain scientific credibility and not embroiled in politics and big green machine crony capitalism. Lots of outstanding successes. Rivers are cleaner, sewage treatment much improved, discharges into air and water reduced and the entire US environment improved. Going down the path of CO2 prioritization risks alienating their supporters with little payback in environmental improvements. One % of one degree can they reduce temperatures while increasing electricity prices four fold? We have one side trying to aboiish the entire organization and impeach the leadership because the objectives are not shared by most of the populace.
      Scott

      • Mission creep – we’ve done the critical things and have no sensible grounds for our continuing existence – so let’s move on the the marginal and nonsensical. Standard bureaucracy.

      • Scott…

        Abolishing EPA would be a bad idea, in my opinion. Industry has shown that they (we) are pretty bad at self regulation, left to our own (defeat) devices. (That was a VW joke….get it?)

        There has to be a framework of regulation that drives responsible behavior relating to real environmental needs, and there have to be cops to enforce compliance. I think, and it seems that you agree, that the best and most effective regulators are those that stand above the fray on a very solid scientific foundation. Clearly, EPA has allowed their position to erode from this ideal.

        Strangely, I felt more comfortable with clueless political appointees in the Clinton and Carter Administrations than I do with Gina McCarthy, who was a real scientist of sorts and career civil servant until her appointment. I’ll have to think more about this, but I think things have gotten worse in the last year or so.

        I agree with you that they are burning through their cred pretty fast, but at this point, only a regime change is likely to make much difference!

    • DataTurk

      Trajectories matter, and the near future will most likely look like the recent past. I would bet the EPA is now hiring, recruiting, and being sought out by people like themselves. The distant past is probably irrelevant. It ain’t the old EPA anymore.

  21. If this were about the science, EPA would release the secret “data.”

  22. Obama is the Tricky Dick President of our era complete with his own Dirty Tricks brigade.

    “I am not a crook!”

  23. “EPA and environmental activists had cozy relationships…”

    As I recall, these are better described as “sweetheart relationships”.

  24. WHY ALL THE ”CARBON LOOT MONEY”?:

    The Warmist only weapon: Stefan Boltzmann’s crappy experiment; heating CO2 in a tube is not same as warmed CO2 in the atmosphere- which goes INSTANTLY up, when warmed, to cool down! Remember: CO2 is made 66% from oxygen! Even the cavemen knew that, reason they invented the chimney!!! In the tube/ sealed chamber, warmed CO2 cannot expend, but keeps warming up when heated – on the other hand: in the air, as soon as CO2 warms up-> INSTANTLY goes UP, where is thinner air and much colder, to release the heat!!! Comparing CO2 warming in the sealed tube AND: free CO2 in the air, is same as comparing a bird on the top of the tree, with a bird in the oven. That’s what the 30000 criminally oriented ‘’questionable scientist in what fields’’ are trying to con the public, for fleecing the Urban Sheep! And for Marxist /Bolsheviks model oppression!
    https://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/cooling-earth/

  25. Test

  26. “I haven’t picked up much of a buzz about all this, but imagine if it were oil companies pulling some of this stuff; there would be widespread outrage.”

    There seem to be little mentioning of this in the mainstream media. Watchdog journalists are supposed to pick up on such things. Are there no one left?

    “Silence is the ultimate weapon of power.”
    – Charles de Gaulle

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