A look at the behind the scenes legal battle with the EPA over the ‘social cost of carbon’ and looming carbon tax

epa-logo[1]WUWT has been granted exclusive first access to this new legal document challenging the EPA’s proposed use of calculations on SCC.

While this submission to OMB from Attorney Menton may look forbiddingly legalistic document to many WUWT readers, a number of you may well have signed one or more of the Amicus Briefs and other materials cited in it.It is important to read this because it provides a window into the future of a potential carbon tax in the USA.

I consider it a “must read” for those of you who are very concerned about the EPA’s current and proposed CO2 –related regulations. EPA uses its Social Cost of Carbon estimates to justify all such regulations. And, these estimates are also being used as recommended starting points for future carbon taxes. Enough said as to why it makes sense to read and think about the submission?

If not, you will note it begins by showing that using IPCC’s own words, its estimates of Climate Sensitivity must be treated using what  the mathematics of decision theory would call “under “Complete Ignorance Uncertainty.” Therefore, EPA’s reliance on IPCC is hardly justified.

Next, it argues that, in the court room, EPA’s own Endangerment Finding was predicated on three easy to understand “Lines of Evidence,” where each has now been shown to be invalid.

The three lines of evidence used by the EPA are A. B. and C.

The hot spot has not appeared, surface temperatures are stalled, and climate models aren’t modeling reality, yet, in the arcane world of the court system, EPA presses on as if these problems don’t exist.

Finally, it points out that the methodology now being used to calculate the SCC estimates is total nonsense for EPA’s purposed use, yet they are being considered “good to go” at this stage of the game.

Attorney Francis Menton provides this introduction:

OMB is currently seeking submission of comments with regard to the report titled “Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon” document dated November 26, 2013. This document is the precursor for planned regulatory actions in the Administration’s ongoing war against carbon-based energy, and potentially also for legislative actions that could include a carbon tax.

I submitted a comment letter to OMB late last week, which you now have. The comment letter mainly addresses the climate sensitivity issue. It address both IPCC’s science arguments and those of EPA. The counter argument to EPA’s Endangerment Finding is based on science arguments spelled out in three Amicus briefs, one submitted to the DC Circuit and two others to the U.S. Supreme Court in connection with the so-called Greenhouse Gas case that was argued today in the Supreme Court.   I was the lawyer in the Merit Stage Supreme Court Amicus, where I represented a group of scientists and economists.

I hope your readers find this submission interesting and informative.

Here is the submission:

================================================================

Francis J. Menton, Jr.
Attorney at Law
787 Seventh Avenue
New York, New York, 10019

Ms. Mabel Echols
NEOB, Room 10202
725 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20503

Re: OMB request for public comments (“Request for Comments”) (https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/11/26/2013-28242/technical-support-document-technical-update-of-the-social-cost-of-carbon-for-regulatory-impact) as to Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order 12866, November 26, 2013

Dear Ms. Echols:

OMB’s Request for Comments states a particular interest in comments on:

The selection of the three IAMs for use in the analysis and the synthesis of the resulting SCC estimates, as outlined in the 2010 {Technical Support Document } TSD, the model inputs used to develop the SCC estimates, including economic growth, emissions trajectories, climate sensitivity and intergenerational discounting;

The present Comment focuses solely on Climate Sensitivity, which is obviously the most important parameter in the SCC analysis process as currently defined, and about which there has been much debate.

In the Request for Comments, OMB makes several statements describing how its SCC estimates were derived, and that therefore inform this Comment. Among those statements are the following:

The current estimate of the social cost of CO 2 emissions (SCC) has been developed over many years, using the best science available, and with input from the public. . . .

Recognizing that the models underlying the SCC estimates would evolve and improve over time as scientific and economic understanding increased, the Administration committed in 2010 to regular updates of these estimates. . . .

The TSD (Technical Support Document: Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order 12866, Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Carbon, United States Government, February 2010), at page 4, gives information on the key assumptions from which the SCC estimates were derived. It states that:

III. Approach and Key Assumptions

. . .

It is important to recognize that a number of key uncertainties remain, and that current SCC estimates should be treated as provisional and revisable since they will evolve with improved scientific and economic understanding. The interagency group also recognizes that the existing models are imperfect and incomplete. . . .

The U.S. Government will periodically review and reconsider estimates of the SCC used for cost-benefit analyses to reflect increasing knowledge of the science and economics of climate impacts, as well as improvements in modeling. In this context, statements recognizing the limitations of the analysis and calling for further research take on exceptional significance. The interagency group offers the new SCC values with all due humility about the uncertainties embedded in them and with a sincere promise to continue work to improve them.

At page 5, the TSD then describes the methodology by which the SCC estimates were derived:

A. Integrated Assessment Models

We rely on three integrated assessment models (IAMs) commonly used to estimate the SCC: the FUND, DICE, and PAGE models (1).. . .

These models are useful because they combine climate processes, economic growth, and feedbacks between the climate and the global economy into a single modeling framework. . . . There is currently a limited amount of research linking climate impacts to economic damages, which makes this exercise even more difficult. Underlying the three IAMs selected for this exercise are a number of simplifying assumptions and judgments reflecting the various modelers’ best attempts to synthesize the available scientific and economic research characterizing these relationships. . . .

The three IAMs translate emissions into changes in atmospheric greenhouse concentrations, atmospheric concentrations into changes in temperature [emphasis added], and changes in temperature into economic damages. . . . These emissions are translated into concentrations using the carbon cycle built into each model, and concentrations are translated into warming based on each model’s simplified representation of the climate and a key parameter, climate sensitivity. Each model uses a different approach to translate warming into damages. Finally, transforming the stream of economic damages over time into a single value requires judgments about how to discount them.

From the direct quotes above, it is clear that the SCC values that are derived from this process are critically dependent on “a key parameter, climate sensitivity” the value of which in turn is completely unknown. To illustrate, uncertainty about even the expected value of this parameter was still so high that, in late 2013, no “best estimate” could even be made. In fact, the current Request for Comments states that it relies on information from the most recent IPCC Report, AR5 of October 2013:

The revised Technical Support Document that was issued in November, 2013 is based on the best available scientific information on the impacts of climate change. We will continue to refine the SCC estimates to ensure that agencies are appropriately measuring the social cost of carbon emissions as they evaluate the costs and benefits of rules. (Printed October 2013 by the IPCC, Switzerland. Electronic copies of this Summary for Policymakers are available from the IPCC website http://www.ipcc.ch and the IPCC WGI AR5 website www.climatechange2013.org. or http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGI_AR5_SPM_brochure.pdf © 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

However, the very IPCC Report being relied on concedes at footnote 16 on page 14 that “No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given . . . .” From page 14 of Climate Change 2013, The Physical Science Basis, Working Group I Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Summary for Policymakers:

The equilibrium climate sensitivity quantifies the response of the climate system to constant radiative forcing on multi-century time scales. . . .Equilibrium climate sensitivity is likely in the range 1.5°C to 4.5°C (high confidence), extremely unlikely less than 1°C (high confidence), and very unlikely greater than 6°C (medium confidence) 16. . . .

Footnote16: No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given because of a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies. (Emphasis added.)

This footnote 16 literally means that as recently as late last year, given the scientific information available, the IPCC did not deem it possible to develop a credible “best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity.” This statement is extremely relevant in that this climate sensitivity parameter is obviously the most important parameter to the entire SCC analysis. Mathematically speaking, what does not being able to provide a Best Estimate for the equilibrium climate sensitivity imply? First, it means that IPCC is clear that it has not been able to develop a credible subjective probability density function for the equilibrium climate sensitivity parameter. Second, it means that the IPCC admits that it does not have a credible mean, mode or median value of the equilibrium climate sensitivity parameter. In the mathematics of Decision Theory, this situation is called Complete Ignorance Uncertainty.

It should be obvious that no SCC estimates should be published until a credible climate sensitivity probability distribution is developed. This multi- agency effort has relied on the IPCC work, but IPCC’s own results imply that the U.S. government should stop publishing any estimates of SCC until such a credible distribution exists.

Furthermore, the U.S. should base its SCC on its own estimates of this critical parameter. In its finding, EPA relied on the claim by IPCC of 90-99% certainty that observed warming in the latter half of the twentieth century resulted from human activity. EPA bases its own 2009 Endangerment Finding on what it calls three “lines of evidence,” all derived from IPCC work. 74 Fed. Reg. 66518. However, each of these three lines of evidence has been shown to be invalid by empirical data cited in a recently submitted merit stage Amicus submitted to the Supreme Court in case UARG v. EPA. This Amicus can be found at

http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/publications/supreme_court_preview/briefs-v2/12-1146_amicus_pet_scientists.authcheckdam.pdf

Three quotes from this brief regarding each of the three Lines of Evidence are in order:

There is no longer any doubt that the purported tropical “hot spot” simply does not exist. Thus, EPA’s theory as to how CO2 affects global average surface temperature—EPA’s first line of evidence—has been falsified.

Those data thus demonstrate that EPA’s second line of evidence—the claim that there has been unusual warming on a global, this is, worldwide, basis over the past several decades—is invalid.

The models EPA relied on as its third line of evidence are invalid. That is not surprising because EPA never carried out any published forecast reliability tests. And, as discussed above, EPA’s assumed Greenhouse Gas Fingerprint Theory simply does not comport with the real world. Thus, models based on that theory should never have been expected to be valuable for policy analysis involving an Endagerment Finding that so critically affects American energy, economic, and national security.

With each of EPA’s three Lines of Evidence purporting to support their Endangerment Finding shown to be invalid, EPA has no proof whatsoever that CO2 has a statistically significant impact on Global Temperatures. In fact, many scientists feel no such proof exists. A Cert Stage Amicus brief to the Supreme Court also regarding UARG v. EPA stated as follows (at pp. 20-21; http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/GW-Amicus-2013-05-23-Br-of-Amici-Curiae-Scientists-ISO-Petitions-fo…2.pdf )

Amici believe that no scientists have devised an empirically validated theory proving that higher atmospheric CO2 levels will lead to higher GAST. Moreover, if the causal link between higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations and higher GAST is broken by invalidating each of EPA’s three lines of evidence, then EPA’s assertions that higher CO2 concentrations also cause sea-level increases and more frequent and severe storms, floods, and droughts are also disproved. Such causality assertions require a validated theory that higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations cause increases in GAST(2). Lacking such a validated theory, EPA’s conclusions cannot stand. In science, credible empirical data always trumps proposed theories, even if those theories are claimed to (or actually do) represent the current consensus.

Footnote 2: Indeed, empirical data also shows that the claim that there have been such phenomena is itself invalid. Brief of Amici Curiae Scientists in Support of Petitioners Supporting Reversal, at 22-26, Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc. v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 09-1322 (CADC June 8, 2011), ECF No. 1312291.

In fact, EPA has ignored this and earlier warnings that an Endangerment Finding could be flawed. On October 7, 2009, thirty-five very well regarded scientists put a letter to EPA in its associate docket. See 74 Fed. Reg. 18886 (Apr. 24, 2009). Its recommendation was a follows:

Recommendation

We feel strongly that the EPA must not only rigorously address all four of the additional questions outlined at the outset, but also deal with at least the 18 supporting issues. As can be clearly seen by an analysis of the different fields of knowledge and academic skills required to answer the 18 detailed questions listed above, no one scientist should feel comfortable answering each and every question. And yet, without thoughtful, fully-informed judgments on all of the questions by the scientists who are expert in the particular issue area, the EPA should not feel comfortable issuing an Endangerment Finding in support of CO2 regulation. Because of the need to have only those highly qualified to provide answers to each of the questions outlined above, we strongly suggest that the EPA grant the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Petitions, and in particular, adopt its recommendation regarding the use of the an on-the-record hearing conducted pursuant to 5 U.S.C. §§ 556-57.

While following such an analysis process may well be more arduous than planned, the implications of ill-founded CO2 regulation could be truly catastrophic. Hardly a day goes by without another prominent scientist joining the ranks of those who reject the conclusion of the IPCC that the primary driver of the Earth’s climate system is CO2 emissions from human use of fossil fuels rather than other natural forces.

The EPA has the authority to hold on-the-record hearings under the Clean Air Act using procedures based on 5 U.S.C. §§ 556-57. As the Administrative Conference of the United States said, such authority should be exercised whenever (a) the scientific, technical, or other data relevant to the proposed rule are complex, (b) the problem posed is so open-ended that diverse views should be heard, and (c) the costs that errors may impose are significant. See 1 C.F.R. § 305.76-3(1) (1993). The Chamber noted in its petition that “it is hard to imagine a situation where each part of this test is more easily met.” We concur and urge the EPA to hold a formal, on-the-record hearing before proceeding with any proposed Endangerment Finding.

EPA never responded to this letter. One can only hope that this multi-agency effort steps back from its current approach of reliance on IPCC and other clearly biased parties and takes a hard look at whether there is truly any proof that, in the real world, rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations impact global temperatures to a measurable degree. At this point, there would appear to be no such proof. This implies that the SCC project should either be cancelled or at the least put on hold until this matter is resolved.

Regarding the importance of using unbiased parties, the September 26, 2011 EPA Inspector General’s Procedural Review of EPA’s Greenhouse Gases Endangerment Finding Data Quality Processes, which was also filed in Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA, No. 09-1322, is highly relevant. This document catalogues the procedural deficiencies found by the EPA Inspector General regarding the EPA’s peer review and data review methodologies used in promulgating EPA’s December 15, 2009 Endangerment Finding on greenhouse gases including CO2 emissions. Like the October 7, 2009 scientists’ letter quoted above, this review suggested that the EPA could have used a Science Advisory Board mechanism to avoid such deficiencies. Specifically, it stated that:

EPA did not conduct a peer review of the TSD that met all recommended steps in the Peer Review Handbook for peer reviews of influential scientific information or highly influential scientific assessments. EPA’s peer review policy states that ‘for influential scientific information intended to support important decisions, or for work products that have special importance in their own right, external peer review is the approach of choice’ and that ‘for highly influential scientific assessments, external peer review is the expected procedure.’ According to the policy, external peer review involves reviewers who are ‘independent experts from outside EPA.’ The handbook provides examples of ‘independent experts from outside EPA,’ that include NAS, an established Federal Advisory Committee Act mechanism (e.g., Science Advisory Board), and an ad hoc panel of independent experts outside the Agency. The handbook lays out a number of procedural steps involved in an external peer review. Id. at 44.

It would certainly seem that this multi-agency effort should not proceed without delving into the facts involving climate sensitivity estimates and EPA’s Endangerment Finding. Over-reliance on the IPCC analysis must stop due to obvious inherent bias in keeping this wealth transfer mechanism alive.

To illustrate at Climate Day at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, an annual policy-themed gathering of the global elite, a highlight was a panel focused on the link between climate change, economic growth and poverty reduction, featuring former Vice-President Al Gore, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

Not a single panelist noted that attempts at climate change mitigation through governments’ forcing curtailed use of fossil fuels could conflict with their poverty reduction efforts. To quote from the merit stage Amicus brief mentioned above:

Meanwhile the United States is on the cusp of an energy revolution of hydrocarbons from unconventional oil and natural gas sources that is having the effect of rapidly increasing the supply and decreasing the price of carbon-based energy. See, e.g., IHS, American’s New Energy Future: The Unconventional Oil and Gas Revolution and the U.S. Economy, Volumes I, II, and III, September 2013. IHS sees the energy revolution as adding millions of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars annually to the U.S. economy, all based on burning carbon fuels and emitting CO2 into the atmosphere. EPA looks upon this prospect with horror, and the stationary source PSD permitting program is precisely the means it sees available to stop it before it can get too far.

Artificially raising the price of energy is the same thing as impoverishing the American people. It is shocking and disgusting that our government would intentionally pursue such a goal, particularly without any scientific basis whatsoever to do so . . . .

Finally, the currently calculated SCC estimates are being used to justify proposed EPA regulations, and also as input regarding proper carbon tax levels should a future Congress elect to move in this direction. Even assuming that the proposed climate sensitivity estimates were scientifically validated — which has been shown above not to be the case – an appropriate U.S. carbon tax trajectory should not be based solely on what economists call externalities, even while ignoring direct effects on jobs and wealth generation. And, these SCC externality estimates are for the entire world, not just the U.S.

Clearly, America’s initial conditions in terms of its fossil fuel resources, its economic growth prospects, its debt levels, and so forth, matter, if the government is going to arbitrarily increase U.S. energy prices via such carbon taxes. And, it matters a great deal what other key countries are assumed to do as well in this regard. In short, for many reasons, the current SCC estimates are not only worthless; they are extremely dangerous to put forward by this task force as credible input to U.S. energy, economic and national security-related policy analyses.

Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Francis J. Menton, Jr.

===============================================================

This letter is also available in PDF form here: EF_OMB_Menton_Letter022014Final

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52 thoughts on “A look at the behind the scenes legal battle with the EPA over the ‘social cost of carbon’ and looming carbon tax

  1. The question boils down to politics. Will the Supreme Court once again just handwave the facts away and say we have to defer to EPA’s determinations? If so, it’s time to start impeaching justices.

  2. “EPA uses its Social Cost of Carbon estimates to justify all such regulations.”

    In non-liberal speak this means that they will be the judge and how they feel is right, evidence be dammed. Makes me feel like were looking down the barrel of gun… just waiting for it to go off because of how some one feels….

    Social justice is no form of justice.. It deprives one of their rights and trods upon them as door mats. The “perceived wrong” is all they need to proclaim you need to have it done to you.

  3. Well, one wonders, whether such efforts will ever get a fair hearing, but it is encouraging that there are those familiar with the system, who are willing to make the effort.

    I would be happy, if the powers that be would simply acknowledge that earth rotates on its axis, once in 24 hours, and thus can never reach any thermodynamic equilibrium condition. None of the seventeen or so models seem to take note of this simple fact. The climate, does NOT average, the daily weather events.

  4. WARNING don’t go down the path that Australia has done our carbon tax is destroying our way of life because most of our manufacturing base is moving to china please read what is happening to us

  5. The court case exists because the EPA simply ignores input, however framed, and pursues the goal of increasing the cost of producing CO2. Will it also ignore any adverse court ruling?

  6. This argument before the courts boils down to matters of law – as I understand this reading the sole argument is whether or not the EPA has the authority to enact this law, nothing more. What this law is based on is not in question. Therefore, EPA will win this case.

  7. No reason to be optimistic. Standard of review for administrative action is tipped heavily towards the regulators. EPA can be dead wrong on the facts as long as the regulations are not arbitrary or capricious. The thinnest thread of justification for the regulation is usually sufficient to satisfy this requirement. When the EPA wins, steel yourself for the inevitable chorus of warmists calling for the imprisonment of ‘deniers’.

  8. I hope SCOTUS asks a few simple questions;
    Is there a difference between Carbon and Carbon Dioxide. please explain?
    Why always say Carbon when you mean to say Carbon Dioxide that is just as easy to say?
    Isn’t Carbon Dioxide plant food?
    How long has the climate of the Earth been changing and do you really think you can stop it from changing?

    Easy questions like that.

  9. The EPA must use scientific parameters according to its own rules, the same rules they failed to follow in declaring the endangerment finding. this will be the question the court must answer. if they followed the rules and backed them up with facts as their rules demand they should win. But as we know, they did not and they were warned..

    This will be a coin toss.. As I posted above this will come down to feelings, and that is wrong. How far our judicial system has fallen since the inception of our Constitution is sickening..

  10. albertalad says:
    February 24, 2014 at 5:23 pm
    This argument before the courts boils down to matters of law – as I understand this reading the sole argument is whether or not the EPA has the authority to enact this law, nothing more. What this law is based on is not in question. Therefore, EPA will win this case.

    That would be totalitarian and sad. I hope you [are] not right.

  11. I truly hope folks recognize the significance of this action. Your futures/life as you know it, could very well depend on it.

    Just sayin, the UN has obvious influence. Those of you that think that Agenda 21 stuff is fiction, need to wake up. It’s not, and it’s right in your face, right here from the EPA.

  12. Why worry about this tax? In 10-15 years the US is going to look like Venezuela after the exodus of jobs and people seeking to escapes the spiraling tax costs of servicing all the new debt Obama piled up and the decline in individual liberty… America is a dead man walking, thanks to Obama. You just don’t know it yet, like a chicken with no head.

  13. M. Hastings says: That would be totalitarian and sad. I hope your not right.
    ————————-
    Unfortunately this reading is about matters of law and not the details.

  14. What is then this “Carbon Pollution”?
    A sinister, evil collusion?
    CO2, it is clean,
    Makes it grow, makes it green,
    A transfer of wealth, a solution.
    CO2 concentration has increased from about 280 ppm in pre-industrial times to nearly 400 ppm today, and is increasing at a rate of 2 ppm per year. We are way past the point of no return, 350 ppm which would lead to a temperature catastrophe. But instead, something rather interesting is occurring. The earth is getting greener! This 40 % increase in CO2 the last 250 years has led to a more than 30 % increase in agricultural production all by itself without adding fertilizer or using higher yielding seeds. Thanks to this we can now feed an additional two billion people on earth without starvation. The news are so good, that the per capita food production is increasing, even as the population is increasing.
    Look at it this way. The value of basic agricultural products is more than 1.5 trillion dollars worldwide. 30% of that is due to increased CO2. That means that the CO2 emitted id worth 450 billion dollars, spread out over all farmers and ranchers worldwide. This wealth transfer is occurring right now, and knows no national boundary. It is a gift from the developed countries to the rest of the world. Who could be against that?
    It turns out that this wealth transfer occurs without global governance. The leaders of the world will not get their say in who gets the wealth transfer, the U.N. bureaucrats will not get their cut, and politicians cannot get a campaign issue since it occurs without their involvement.
    The complete explanation to this limerick is at:

    http://lenbilen.com/2014/02/22/co2-the-life-giving-gas-not-carbon-pollution-a-limerick-and-explanation/

  15. I am crossing my fingers… we still have hope right? Oh darn, that’s half of Obama’s slogan… [sans and change].

  16. I am afraid that the court will rule on the EPA having the judicial right to regulate CO2 not on the rectitude of those rulings. V

  17. If SCOTUS wants to speak to real experts in the CO2 industry, they should talk to these guys;
    Airgas Liquid CO2
    “Liquid CO2 is a simple, yet versatile gas used in a growing number of applications and in a wide range of industries. Airgas is the nation’s second largest distributor of Liquid CO2. Our Star Mississippi plant is the largest CO2 production facility in the world. Select Airgas Carbonics as your supplier and benefit from our distribution network, our food grade quality product and our product application knowledge”
    “Carbon dioxide is inert, colorless, odorless and tasteless. In can be easily and safely liquefied, solidified, handled, and stored. In its liquid form, is readily interacts with water to form carbonic acid, or carbonated water, the beginning point for the worldwide beverage industry. Come see why most of the leaders in the industry and even our competitors purchase much of their Liquid CO2 from Airgas.”

    http://airgasdryice.net/lco2.htm

  18. 24 Feb: Reuters: Update 1: Shell secures funding for Scottish carbon capture project
    *Government is giving a total 100 mln stg for two CCS projects
    Ed Davey, Britain’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change…”If built, the project could save one million tonnes of CO2 each year”…
    The British government wants to develop CCS to help it meet both national and international targets to reduce environmentally-damaging greenhouse gas emissions.
    By 2050, CCS could save more than 30 billion pounds ($50 billion) a year in fighting climate change, it said…

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/02/24/shell-ccs-idUKL6N0LT1K520140224

    EU ministers adopt fast-track CO2 backloading: official
    LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) – EU ministers on Monday adopted a fast-track plan to prop up European Union carbon prices, an EU official said, in time to allow the withdrawal of a maximum of 400 million permits from auction schedules this year…

    https://www.pointcarbon.com/news/reutersnews/1.4264702

    24 Feb: London South-East: EU member states give green light to CO2 emissions-trading deal
    At present, the cost of permits allowing companies in the EU to produce a set volume of carbon dioxide is considered too low, reducing the incentive for them to invest in modern filter technologies or similar means of reducing their emissions…
    Industry representatives had opposed the initiative, fearing it would drive up their costs…

    http://www.lse.co.uk/AllNews.asp?code=unuyveo8&headline=EU_member_states_give_green_light_to_CO2_emissionstrading_deal

  19. Mr. Merton could have added that:

    * There is no reason to believe in the existence in nature of “the equilibrium climate sensitivity” (TECS).
    * When a numerical value is assigned to TECS, this assignment is not empirically falsifiable thus lying outside science.
    * When a numerical value is assigned to TECS, this assignment conveys no information to the EPA about the outcomes from its policy decisions.
    * In the assignment of a numerical value to TECS through Bayesian parameter estimation, the selection of the prior probability density function is arbitrary.
    * The projections of the general circulation models are not falsifiable, thus lying outside science.
    * The projections of the general circulation models supply EPA policy makers with no information about the outcomes from their policy decisions.
    * The appearance that there is a logical or scientific basis for past or prospective EPA policy decisions has been created through applications of the equivocation fallacy by climatologists.

  20. The science is secondary in this case IMO. The question is whether the EPA has the power to change or reinterpret laws passed by Congress and/or ignore the will of Congress which has not passed carbon tax or cap and trade legislation. That being said, I hope the science or lack thereof, is considered by the justices as they rule on this case. The implications of the Court’s decision are far-reaching because if they rule in favor of the EPA and the Administration, other agencies of the Federal Government will be able to use the Court’s decision as the basis for their efforts to circumvent Congress, whether the FCC, NLRB, HHS, or any of the other myriad (unelected) Federal agencies. Constitution-loving Americans have much riding on this case.

  21. A great fog of scientific madness is engulfing the Western World which will lead to economic decline and social fragmentation. Ironically, Russia and China are immune to this suicidal group think and will rapidly improve their standing with rational scientific work. Who would have gussed this in 1992.

  22. If this does not get reversed we place ourselves on a slippery slope that could send our citizenry zipping by taxes for every breath we exhale and number of children we can have. I kid you not. If carbon can be taxed in the form of CO2 in even one area of commerce, our freedom is burnt toast on the pagan alter of post-normal science where fact is less important than social engineering.

  23. A further huge assumption is the rising CO2 levels are rising because of human activity. In past posts to WUWT, I indicated calculations can show the observed increases in atmospheric CO2 cannot be accounted for by humans burning hydrocarbons and other fuels and producing CO2.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/11/21/on-co2-residence-times-the-chicken-or-the-egg/#comment-1481426

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/11/22/excerpts-from-salbys-slide-show/#comment-1482818

  24. We have 4 progressives on the Supreme Court that could not care one whit about facts or the Constitution. Ruth Bader Ginsburg does not even think the US Constitution should be mirrored by other countries. The court’s four reliably liberal justices — Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor — did not seem to be overly troubled by EPA’s decision to “rewrite” the thresholds for carbon in the PSD program. Breyer, for example, said agencies frequently read “implicit exceptions” into statutes in circumstances where a strict reading of the law “makes no sense.”
    Based on past decisions there is one Justice (Kennedy) that essentially decides mot cases as the swing vote. It is difficult to believe that justice is practiced when most decisions are 5-4.

  25. This, of course, has been the end game all along with the CAGW climate science crackpots – namely, forcing carbon taxes down our throats in the name of “social justice”. And I’ll give you three guesses as to where that carbon tax money ends up…

  26. If you saw all 3 supporting legs off a platform stool, the platform is unsupported and falls….right? Maybe not….

    The comment letter above sufficiently severs each leg of the EPA’s platform for regulating CO2 as a cause of global warming. In a rational world, the hypothesis is falsified and EPA’s arguments rejected. We do not live in a rational world, unfortunately.

    We have a Supreme Court staffed with legal scholars that are science illiterates, a majority of which have already supported EPA’s falsified claims. We have an Executive branch and a majority in the Senate that are pleased to use the ‘CO2 causes global warming’ meme as a means to achieve their socialist ends. We have an EPA staffed with environmental extremists determined to save the planet, even though it means impoverishing further the most vulnerable in our society. The odds are daunting……

    Do I believe this is a ‘lost cause’? Hell no! The case stated above is substantial, direct, and conclusive. Even if we do not win this round, the fight goes on. Circulate this post to coworkers, friends and families, especially the youngest generation of voters that currently support the global warming meme. Help those who lack sufficient background to grasp the importance of Francis Merten’s letter to the court. The case is clear: The hypothesis of CO2 causing global warming is unsupported by the science. The EPA’s position is unsupported. The Senate’s position is unsupported. Our Dear Leaders position and his Administration’s position are unsupported.

    Knowledge, distributed to an informed electorate, is how we ‘win’. When the majority understands how they have been mislead… and abused, the remaining supporters will be dismissed like old hippies in tattered tie dyed T-shirts and bed sheet sarongs, driving their rat ass ’64 VW bus in the left freeway lane with their turn signal stuck on. No politician that wants to stay in office will be associated with it, after that.

  27. The public, by and large, has awoken to the consequences of Carbon Taxes.
    They get that, by and large, they will be left out in the cold, bearing the weight of it.
    I like to call Carbon Taxes what they really are: Austerity Measures.

  28. It all comes down to whether SCOTUS defers to IPCC Summary for Policy Makers judgement that the sensitivity should be higher than can be supported by the Working Group’s lack of agreement estimate, as noted in the footnote???

  29. a breakthrough in Australia today:

    25 Feb: SMH: Peter Hannam: Labor backs Coalition plan to scrap carbon auctions
    Labor will not oppose the Abbott government’s plan to cancel carbon auctions but denies the move signals a weakening of its support for retaining a price on pollution.
    The federal opposition on Tuesday voted in caucus to side with the government in the Senate on plans to cancel the voluntary auctions, allowing the Coalition to overcome a potential block had Labor sided with the Greens…
    Greens leader Christine Milne said it was “a shame” Labor had fallen for “a stunt by Tony Abbott” but the auction cancellation would not spell the end of a price on carbon.
    “The Clean Energy Package and the price stands,” Senator Milne said. “It is arrogance in the extreme in the face of a new [Senate] election in WA to assume that the Clean Energy Package will be repealed.”
    “The Australian Greens will oppose every move by Tony Abbott to undermine action on global warming and we call on Labor to do the same,” she said…
    Environment Minister Greg Hunt said Labor’s decision marked “a very significant moment…when the ALP has started to crumble in their support for the carbon tax”.
    The ALP was starting to “crabwalk away from the carbon tax” and now it was time to take “the big step” and repeal the carbon price entirely…

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labor-backs-coalition-plan-to-scrap-carbon-auctions-20140225-33eq1.html

  30. It is interesting to note the link between carbon tax and feminism in a country. Neither are based on facts, and both affect the core of a society in profound ways. They both also seek refuge from the unsupporting data social engineering of the events that are simply not there. You have a “patriarchy” on one side and CAGW on the other. Thawing Arctic and a rape culture. And above all gravy train multi billion global franchises.

  31. the point is to destroy western industrialised society and it looks like they won’t let facts that there is no co2 deathstar ‘get in the way’. If you have a Captain Ahab there will be a white whale.?

  32. Many of these arguments are as emotive as those used by the AGW lobby. Surely the starting point should be that an analysis should be done of the long term climate data including Fourier analysis. This shows that there are clearly defined cycles present. Any model purporting to model future climate should have to pass the test of producing matches for these analytically proven cycles. We should not be forced to listen to ridiculous claims of pauses and high sounding equivalents from ignorant use of a thesaurus by pompous and inadequate pseudo scientists before they have had to justify why thee same cycles are not present in their supposedly beyond question work.

    They have been allowed for far too long to dismiss evidence from out of their own blinkered viewpoint as that of non experts. There are experts in other fields and if their evidence contradicts that of climate scientists then there should be public debate of the validity of each field of expertise to the question. Possibly the most important comparison is prediction with reality which used till climate science evolved from the swamp be the standard on which science was judged.
    Predictions used for comparison should be frozen at the first date when the science was publicly sold as beyond question.

  33. I have relevant comment that I hope will reach the author. One of the best arguments is that the EPA is not accounting for the costs of its action. for example what if it were to succeed in reducing CO2 to say 150 ppm? Related, what is the cost to the american people of increased death by electricity bill, fuel poverty most recently seen in the UK, the social cost of burning corn in SUVs instead of sending it in food aid.

    1. How is reducing CO2 and subsequently crop yields going to improve social cost, that’s, a social defecit.

    2. How is increasing fuel costs going to improve health outcomes where poor people will no longer be able to afford health care a social defecit

    3. In reducing food availability and driving the climate back toward preindustrial where a fall of just 0.7 degrees C below todays temperature killed half of Europe is the EPA violating the principles of Life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. driving the climate back to the little ice age will deprive people of life, as will increasing their fuel bills, the cold temperatures of an EPA induced preindustrial CO2 will drive farmers of the land in the north as the glaciers advance. It will impoverish farmers who will yield say 15 % less per acre. The current freeze can be used as an example of what could be expected per IPCC science should the EPA suceed. The IPCC say 2 degrees wqrming , a benefit, but 0.7 degrees fall killed half of Europe.

    4. Is there a constiitutional element, is the government in effect trying to withdraw a common good , being warm weather and cO2 from landowners. Is your Co2 an essential trace gas supporting all life on earth being confiscated by the government? Do they have the right. It’s an an easy legal argument, make the assumtion that all CO2 was withdrawn, what would be the consequence, ask it of the EPA witnesses. How can a good that is essential to all
    life be declared legally harmful. If the “quantity” argument arises, ask the EPA witnesses to prove the point at which CO2 goes from being essential to all life to being harmful. The IPCC in thier report says that most likely 2 degrees of warming will be nett beneficial. But is it 800 PPM, 1200 PPM what is the break even point where CO2 becomes nett negative compared with 2014? given the uncertainties involved when will that happen?

    Finally, consider very carefully the words, social cost of Carbon canmot scientifically or legally be the same as the social cost of greenhouse gasses, it may well be that in using its political language the EPA has made a legal blunder and is capable of regulating only soot, pencil leads and diamonds. If the EPA has some right to regulate all carbon compounds then find a carbon compound the EPA is not entitled to regulate, for example the “emission” of babies, or baby animals, “emission” of plants, all made from carbon compounds.

    Now I know that none of this would really happen because climate sensitivity is low, but the argument is about using a high sensitivity in the formula for cost of carbon. The best defence is a good offense, show the converse of the argument what would happen for a halved CO2 using the same sensitivity they use in their cost of carbon model.

    Anthony, you are welcome to pass on my details to the attourney involved.

  34. When talking about the “electorate” (as above) the assumption is it (as a group) wants to be informed rather than titillated. In my experience, while there are a minority who exercise their right to vote with as much information as they can gather, most could care less. Sorry America, I don’t see a bright future.

    Mike

  35. See also the amicus curiae filed by CFACT and their website, and the testimony of Bonner Cohen there – they say much the same thing.

    Let’s don’t forget that this is not about CO2 or pollution o=r the environment but about the urges of a bunch of sick, twisted, heartless, just plain evil individuals to wield power, and to demonstrate it in Orwellian fashion by causing suffering and committing waste. THAT is what the EPA is about.

    No amount of facts or reasoned argument will prevail with the four climate Nazi justices – we can only hope they do with Kennedy. If he funks, the financial loss, suffering and even the death of millions will be blood on his hands as well as theirs.

    And yes, the money from carbon taxes goes to billionaire kleptocrats at home and abroad. The poor people injured by them? Too bad for them, according to these people. Let them eat cake, say the wealthy leftists behind this whole exercise. Besides, if they die that moves us closer to Holdren’s population objective.

  36. Yearly CO2 emmission taxes collected in ‘little’ UK £36 billion in 2009 just on motoring taxation alone !
    Plus all that levied on the manufacturing of goods thats added on through the whole system europe wide. I nice little earner to bolster Govt coffers A wonderful new tax they’ve been looking for.
    Just what the current US aministration would like to get a taste of, anyway they can, I would expect is their agenda.
    Now who was it who said ‘A Govt who tries to tax its self into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket & trying to pull himself up by the handle’

  37. Agree with the pessimists here.

    Kennedy has already shown he will not stand against EPA. The jig was up once the EPA found that CO2 was a form of “harmful” pollution in the 2007 “Mass. vs. EPA”, and Supremes subsequently capitulated, saying that the agency was entitled – even obligated – to protect us chickens from the ravaging wolves of greenhouse gasses. This is just a pitiful last gasp effort on the part of states to maintain their sovereign rights to regulate their own industry.

    The threshold of 100 tons of carbon dioxide emissions was a nice round number, but stationary emitters of CO2 yield many times that amount, so when EPA realized the statute would ensnare millions of schools and small businesses, they “unilaterally invented the new limit of 75,000 tons”.

    WSJ Article

    These were clear grounds for a suit targeting the EPA’s usurpation of Congressional authority to create such sweeping law, and (if I understand it) the suit therefore challenges EPA to enforce their own “absurd result”. This contrarian charge (isn’t it in fact a dare?) is strangely depressing: in effect businesses saying that EPA cannot unilaterally raise its threshold in order to exempt low-level greenhouse gas “polluters” – to do so is overreach. But to seek redress by holding them accountable to “absurdity”… is, well, absurd. Assuming the courts uphold the suit, won’t we be stuck with a result which could only be deemed Kafkaesque?

  38. Carbon dioxide emissions occur directly and indirectly from every person and nation on the planet, and are constantly changing significantly. There is currently no way for the EPA to accurately apportion culpability [for climate effects, local or global, real or asserted] due to CO2 emissions occurring within the jurisdiction of the United States.

    Nor can the EPA accurately measure carbon sinks to assign a “net culpability” for any nation. Therefore the EPA cannot accurately calculate a “social cost of carbon” within the jurisdiction of the United States. Any derivative legislation resulting in fiscal fines/taxes would thus be based [increasingly] on events happening outside the United States.

    Does the yet EPA have authority to make findings based on US foreign policy?

  39. When it comes to the cost of carbon… it should also be noted that:
    1) The ~1.5C temperature rise since the LIA has to date been very beneficial to humans. Whatever part of that is due to CO2 is unknown at this point, but temperatures now are clearly much more desirable than those of the LIA.
    2) Crop yields have increased 30% since the 1970s. It is likely that much of this increase is due to the increased CO2 levels as green-house experiments have shown that plant growth and size is greatly accelerated at higher CO2 levels. At 200ppm and lower, plants become severely stressed and start to die off, which would undoubtedly lead to mass animal (humans included) die-off as well. Having earth’s CO2 levels safely above the 200ppm threshold is clearly desirable.

  40. In reality what needs to be done, is our Congress needs to take back their authority to write laws. Hard to believe that there aren’t enough conservatives elected to congress yet that they don’t demand their constitutional authority back. EPA should NEVER be allowed to enforce any regulation without it first securing a passing vote from the house and senate. EPA should be forced to submit any proposed regulation to congress FIRST before it becomes an enforceable law/regulation.

  41. I wonder if the recent propaganda push by warmists was intended to influence the Supreme Court — making it think that the political “tide” is running in favor of Doing Something — and that it would be risky / unwise to try to thwart it.

  42. The present trajectory of the EPA is driven by finding any excuse to gain more power and control over a previously free people. Every aspect of human existence can be tied back to the environment. It has now given itself the power to regulate our breathing. Of course it claims that it is not interested in that for the time being. It is busy with outlawing wood stoves by assuring us that doing so will save lives. Never mind the consequences of this madness and how it forces society to become even more dependent upon utility grids that can fail or be destroyed.

    (BTW, at present propane prices, a cord of white oak displaces $1,024 in propane.)

    Much of this madness originates with a government that has given itself the power to create as much money as it pleases out of thin air. It uses that money to sustain growth in government power and to pay for “benefits” for supportive voter groups. When enough states call for a Convention to consider amendments to repair the Constitution, the first order of business must be to remove from government the power to create money out of thin air and thereby live beyond its means. A smaller government will be forced to make choices based on more rational priorities.

  43. If anyone is looking for a gov’t job, don’t waste your time with the EPA [or any other agency, for that matter.

    Or at least, pretend to be a True Believer in the “carbon” scare.

  44. Creeping Facism !

    Every day our liberties are eroded and layer upon layer of government control is imposed on our lives and incomes.

    This charge being led by the very defenders of democracy.

    Carbon is a Trojan Horse of the power mad.

    Be afraid ! Be very afraid !

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