Bush Administration's Position on EPA Waiver is All Spin

A recent New York Times editorial described perfectly the spin that the Bush administration is using to block progressive climate change policy in California.

As the Times points out, “The Clean Air Act of 1970 allows California to set stronger air pollution standards as long as it gets a waiver from the federal government.” But while California has always received waivers in the past - and has led the U.S. in instituting environmentally conscious emission regulations as a result - this particular federal administration has done everything in its power to block action on this issue.

What have been the arguments?

The Bush administration first said that CO2 was not a “pollutant,” under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency. The Supreme Court said, “Yes it is.”

The Bush administration said California's legislation could result in a “patchwork” of regulations to which industry could not adjust. But the Clean Air Act allows only two sets of rules - and most progressive states are eager to sign on with California's version.

The Bush administration said that new federal regulations would achieve greater greenhouse gas reductions. This is just fiction. California's regulations are almost twice as effective.

This mix of half-truth and flagrant misdirection is too typical of this administration and too common on this issue. If there is a reason, other than the eager protection of fossil fuel interests, that should actually prevent California from acting in the interests of its citizens - and leading the nation and the world in addressing climate change - the Bushites should step up and say so. Otherwise - and especially given the lame, lame, lame nature of the duck that currently leads this parade - they should get out of the way.


In 2008, a 100 Percent Chance of Alarm

“… Today’s interpreters of the weather are what social scientists call availability entrepreneurs: the activists, journalists and publicity-savvy scientists who selectively monitor the globe looking for newsworthy evidence of a new form of sinfulness, burning fossil fuels.

A year ago, British meteorologists made headlines predicting that the buildup of greenhouse gases would help make 2007 the hottest year on record. At year’s end, even though the British scientists reported the global temperature average was not a new record — it was actually lower than any year since 2001 — the BBC confidently proclaimed, “2007 Data Confirms Warming Trend.”

When the Arctic sea ice last year hit the lowest level ever recorded by satellites, it was big news and heralded as a sign that the whole planet was warming. When the Antarctic sea ice last year reached the highest level ever recorded by satellites, it was pretty much ignored. A large part of Antarctica has been cooling recently, but most coverage of that continent has focused on one small part that has warmed.

When Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans in 2005, it was supposed to be a harbinger of the stormier world predicted by some climate modelers. When the next two hurricane seasons were fairly calm — by some measures, last season in the Northern Hemisphere was the calmest in three decades — the availability entrepreneurs changed the subject. Droughts in California and Australia became the new harbingers of climate change (never mind that a warmer planet is projected to have more, not less, precipitation over all) …”

Definitely worth reading the whole article: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/01/science/01tier.html?ref=environment&pagewanted=all

The NYT should be embarrassed by this stuff.

The author, columnist John Tierney, dances all over the subject, implying that global warming is overblown and in no real need of attention, and he does so by cherry picking bits of data that are outdated or just plain wrong.

Most obvious is Tierney's contention, quoted above, that “When the Antarctic sea ice last year reached the highest level ever recorded by satellites, it was pretty much ignored.” Of course, Tierney provides no source for this “fact.” He offers no indication that there is - as always in science - debate about the measurement techniques being used by those who speculate that warmer air is actually increasing the Antarctic snowpack. And I suppose he has to be deemed merely unlucky that less than two weeks after he wrote this column, a more recent and thorough study showed that the loss of Antarctic ice has increased by 75 per cent in the last decade.

When the question comes round to “availability entrepreneurs,” though, you might actually identify two categories. We have those who look at the total of all current scientific study - who see that global warming is a real and pressing threat and look for the most compelling way to engage the public's attention on that issue. And we have cherrypickers like Tierney and “Ya, Right” who stress dated, distorted and incorrect exceptions, and then imply that we really don't have to take climate change seriously.

Pick your poison. 

Ah Richard, how it warms my heart to see you thresh around, trying to obfuscate when you have been backed into a corner. Delightful.

Littlemore is a true NYT sychophant – just as long as they continue to play to his prejudices.

Surprisingly, for the NYT, the second editorial posted makes some excellent points.

P.S. Be careful ZOG. Littlemore might find a spelling error in your comment, which, as I learned to my eternal shame, is what passes for winning an argument around here.

Sorry, “thrash”. My rural roots showing, you see; I did a bit of threshing in my misspent youth.

“Although 2007 did not post a new record high, the year stands out as being extremely warm despite several natural factors that usually cool the planet. El Niño conditions in the southern Pacific tend to increase the global average temperature, and yet the second half of 2007 saw the opposite develop—a La Niña, which would usually depress global temperature. This is in stark contrast to conditions in 1998, the third warmest year, when temperatures were boosted around 0.2 degrees Celsius by the strongest El Niño of the century. In addition to the moderate La Niña, solar intensity in 2007 was slightly lower than average because the year was a minimum in the 11-year solar sunspot cycle. The combination of these factors would normally produce cooler temperatures, yet 2007 was still one of the warmest years in human history.”

I am copying this from the North Denver News because I can’t find the original story from Japan that I read the other day.

The evidence cited in the NYT displays a very linear thought process, as though the whole progression of effects of AGW will play out in a steady and consistent way, each day being a little warmer than the day before everywhere on the planet, a little more precipitation everywhere season by season, .25mm of sea level rise every year across the globe – regardless of other geographic factors. Vary but a little and the cry goes up “Ya, Right!”

In one breath, deniers tell us that climate systems are far too complicated to be predictable by models, in the next they point out that a peak year (1998) is followed by cooler years (“see? global warming has stopped! stock up on Lifa”). You can’t have it both ways.

Fern Mackenzie