Leaked OMB CO2 memo: "no demonstrated direct health effects"

US-CO2-emissions

All is not well in CO2 regulation land. You may have heard about a leaked memo from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that questions the EPA findings on CO2 being a “threat to human health”. BTW there is still time to lodge your comments (as is your right as a US citizen) on this finding, details here.

The leaked internal memo, was  marked “Attorney Client Privilege”.

It has some strong language about the negative impact EPA regulation of CO2 would have on the U.S. economy.

“Making the decision to regulate CO2…is likely to have serious economic consequences for regulated entities throughout the U.S. economy, including small businesses and small communities,”

But there is more than that.  The Hill (a political blog) say the memo indicates that the burden of proof of CO2 as harmful isn’t there:  (emphasis mine)

An EPA finding last month that greenhouse gases are a danger to public health rests on dubious assumptions and could have negative economic impacts, a memo from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) warned.

The memo has no listed author but is marked “Deliberative–Attorney Client Privilege.” A spokesman for OMB told Dow Jones Newswires that the brief is a “conglomeration of counsel we’ve received from various agencies” about the EPA finding, the conclusions of which would trigger regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

The author(s) of the memo suggest the EPA did not thoroughly examine the relationship between greenhouse gases and human health.

In the absence of a strong statement of the standards being applied in this decision, there is concern that EPA is making a finding based on…’harm’ from substances that have no demonstrated direct health effects,” the memo says, adding that the “scientific data that purports to conclusively establish” that link was from outside EPA.

But here is the real kicker.

There’s language in the memo that says there may be beneficial effects to increased CO2 rather than negative effects, and that man, as always, can quickly adapt:

“To the extent that climate change alters out environment, it will create incentives for innovation and adaption that mitigate the damages,” the memo reads. “The [EPA finding] should note this possibility[.] … It might be reasonable to conclude that Alaska will benefit from warmer winters for both health and economic reasons,” the authors note.

According to The Hill:

At a Senate hearing [yesterday], Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) grilled EPA administrator Lisa Jackson about the memo.

“This is a smoking gun,” Barrasso said, accusing the EPA of making the finding for political reasons.

Jackson responded that the finding was based on science and was in no way politicized.

No, never.

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timetochooseagain
Jon H.

I know… we can all turn off our Air Conditioning, starting with Congress and the White House.

Scott B

Anyone making the claims that increased CO2 is beneficial is just as deluded as those saying it’s a serious danger. We don’t know enough about the various factors that influence our climate to say either way.

Ron de Haan

Right, the memo should do the job and bring some sense into the minds of the EPA Officials. Unfortunately, the Lady in charge was hand picked by Obama for one purpose only. Regulate CO2 Emissions at any price.
Hopefully Cap & Trade does not make it and the fight returns into to courts.

hunter

Will we dodge the bullet of AGW-inspired misregulation and abuse by the EPA?

Ron de Haan
Indiana Bones

Not just a “smoking gun” but a clear indication that the Administration is wildly torn on this subject. White House Council is generating memos that will demonstrate prior knowledge that CO2 is NOT a toxic substance and there is no foundation scientific or medical to show that it is.
The writing is on the wall. Now, it would be good for ALL other participatory agencies to study the OMB memo and start making plans to withdraw from the entire AGW program. When your own internal investigation tells you you are blowing smoke where there is no smoke – it’s time to execute the exit plan.
Finally, we can put this foolhardy, wrong-headed game plan to make CO2 a demon – in the trash bin. With the real toxic stuff, like SO4, CO and the Piltdown Man.
Thank you OMB, steadfast skeptics, and good scientists the world over. You have won the day!

rbateman

Pay attention to that Sector Emissions graph.
Only Residential must bear the burden of reducing emissions. All others get cap & trade allowances. That is how we can continue to transport as much goods as possible halfway across the globe: To support global trade, which is good for Earth business.

John Galt

It’s never been about health, the environment, endangered species or saving the planet. Those issues are just a facade to hide the underlying political objectives — expand government, collect more taxes and regulate how we live.

Joe Black

” Scott B (09:01:28) :
Anyone making the claims that increased CO2 is beneficial is just as deluded as those saying it’s a serious danger. We don’t know enough about the various factors that influence our climate to say either way.”
Patently false.
One would have to claim that increased CO2 is extremely beneficial to be just as “deluded” as the AGW alamists.

Scott:
That is true that there is not enough information to assert that warming will result in NET benefit, but there are clearly localized benefits to warming, just as there are localized benefits to cooling.

Mike Bryant

It seems odd to me that CO2 output is broken down into transportation, industrial, commercial and residential, since the only one of the four categories footing the bill is the last one, residential. Every person in every category lives in a residence. I think this is another way of trying to divide Americans. Why must it always be “us” against “them”?
If you live here in the United States of America, and you are gainfully employed, you will pay every cost associated with all the sectors outlined above. Don’t fall for the rhetoric. When they say that they will not go after small business or residential, they are plainly lying. Any costs added by the government, whether they call it “cap and trade”, “carbon tax” or “raid and pillage” will be paid by those who actually work for a living. If you do not understand this simple truth, you are either very young or hopelessly naive. It’s time to stop bailing out the banks, the unions the feds and Acorn. I think I’ll take a four year vacation, get a bike and turn the utilities off. Let’s see how they raise taxes from zero activity and zero income.

Ron de Haan
Owen Hughes

Hunter (9:05:13): I doubt we’ll dodge it. Obama is intent upon getting at least the start of a regulatory structure in place, over as many aspects of our economic lives as possible. As noted by Ron de Haan (9:01:39) his appointees were not chosen for their principles or their knowledge, but because they are obedient hacks and zealots. They know what will befall them if they fail. They also know that, if they toe the line, they can expect to be protected against criticism (see: tax cheat Treasury Secretary, others), and that a variety of illegal or unsavory tools will be used to help them ram through the agenda (see: Chrysler, GM, banks). That agenda is all about control, seized urgently. Obama knows he has a limited window during which his “shock and awe” campaign is most likely to succeed. He will use that window, facts, science and law be damned.

rbateman

What science? Where is the science that says that C02 is toxic? Lingering health effects such as Carbon Monoxide poisoning? I have never seen any. Present levels are nowhere near being able to replace Oxygen in the air to the point where nobody can breathe normally.
Not even on a factor of 10.
Ms. Jackson refers to scientific documents. What documents are those?
OSHA & MSHA have PEL’s for C02. You have to be in a confined space with motors running to get anywhere near those limits. Really confined.
Of course, if one is stupid enough to sit in one’s car in the garage with the door shut and the motor running, one will perish of CO poisoning long before CO2 will replace the oxygen in the air. Which is why they have scrubbers on diesels and fans to ventilate.
But science proving systemic toxicity from CO2?
Never seen anything but mention of memos and bozos sitting on benches fed smoking gun memos.

George E. Smith

“”” Scott B (09:01:28) :
Anyone making the claims that increased CO2 is beneficial is just as deluded as those saying it’s a serious danger. We don’t know enough about the various factors that influence our climate to say either way. “””
That’s simply not true Scott. There are too many green house operations growing crops in an elevated CO2 environment to claim that we have no proof that enhanced CO2 can be beneficial.
And I have seen reports that say that 20% of the present world total food production can only be explained by taking account of the 37.5% increase in CO2 since the beginning of the industrial age.
So which 1.2 billion of the world people would you condemn to startvation by returning the CO2 to 280 ppm ?

Indiana Bones

Scott B (09:01:28) :
“Anyone making the claims that increased CO2 is beneficial is just as deluded as those saying it’s a serious danger. We don’t know enough about the various factors that influence our climate to say either way.”
Scott, please meet the Idsos at CO2 Science: http://www.co2science.org/
And the facts:
http://tinyurl.com/p9bbox
http://tinyurl.com/c23hf9
http://tinyurl.com/qu2rp2
There are literally thousands of peer-reviewed studies affirming the enhanced growth of plant life in enriched CO2 environments. The truth is the CO2 is more of a boon to mankind than a burden. The real, toxic emissions from fossil fuels need and ARE regulated now.

Paddy

I am unaware of any research dealing with the level of atmospheric CO2 below which there is danger to the biosphere. Am I wrong?
It seems that we need to know if 350 ppm +/- of CO2 is detrimental. I do know of considerable research that indicates higher CO2 levels are beneficial.
Before policy makers consider massively costly actions that will reduce the CO2 concentration below the current amount, they need to know the consequences of their initiatives.

George E. Smith

“”” David Jay (09:19:31) :
Scott:
That is true that there is not enough information to assert that warming will result in NET benefit, but there are clearly localized benefits to warming, just as there are localized benefits to cooling. “””
Once again David; a wrong conclusion. For a start there isn’t any credible evidence that increased CO2 has caused ANY warming; so if you want to argue the benefits of warming versus cooling, do so, but don’t hang it on CO2.
And the food growth advantages of enhanced CO2 are quite clearly demonstrated in everyday greenhouse operations.

UK Sceptic

I guess they are going to have to come up with a new scam to fleece US taxpayers…

David in Davis

CO2 is an asphyxiant, not a toxin, i.e., as long as the air or gas mixture contains sufficient oxygen you will not die or be harmed if you breath it.
CO2 can be and has been used safely as an anesthetic – again, as long as sufficient oxygen is present. Pure oxygen on the other hand is toxic to alveolar epithelial cells if breathed for several hours, i.e., a small fraction of CO2 or inert gas must be present in the gas mixture to prevent damage from oxygen.
Should we regulate atmospheric oxygen? Put a limit on how much oxygen that trees can produce?

John Boy

Hold your breath and discover the effects of CO2.
The Boy of John

Oxygen in excess can be a poison; at a partial pressure greater than 1.5 bar (“surface equivalent value” = 150 percent), it may cause the rapid onset of convulsions, and after prolonged exposures at somewhat lower partial pressures it may cause pulmonary oxygen toxicity with reduced vital capacity and later pulmonary edema. – Encyclopedia Britannica
Toxic, toxic, toxic.

Joseph

Those that would like to read the OMB memo in it’s entirety can do so here:
http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/carbon20090512.pdf
Somebody in the OMB has a good head on their shoulders.

If you think that facts will cause this administration to back out of anything, just watch how fast Pelosi is backing out of not knowing about “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques”. In other words: Not at all.
They will continue to lie and present it as fact, as long as it gets them more power and money. When they bleed the pig dry, they will blame it on anyone but themselves.

Frank K.

This toxic mixture of science and political advocacy is slowly destroying “climate science” – especially when you have loose cannons running around like Jim Hanson, Mark Serreze, and Heidi Cullen. And apparently the majority of the climate scientists appear to be OK with that…so long as the big research dollars continue to flow to them.

David L. Hagen

Somewhere I read that a minimum level of CO2 is essential for some physiological process. Can anyone provide details and a reference?

UK Sceptic

Unbelievable! I’m listening to the BBC News right now and they’re reporting that the Catlin expedition has proof that the Arctic icecap will be gone in 5 years! And to prove that the ice is so thin it’s melting away there’s a lovely shot of someone pushing a thin pole through the ice mere feet away from where the ice ends in open sea.
What a shower!

Bill P

Somebody in the OMB has a good head on their shoulders.

I would say soomebody’s head (John Orszag?) may be separated from his shoulders.
Read the retraction:
TUE, MAY 12, 4:31 PM EST
OMB Director Orszag Corrects the Record on the OMB & EPA
In a post entitled “Clearing the Air”:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/OMB-Director-Orszag-Corrects-the-Record-on-the-OMB-and-EPA/
Still, it makes one wonder if all is running smoothly in the new Camelot.

Robinson

In other news, A species of bream, sarpa salpa, which can trigger hallucinations when eaten, has been been discovered in British waters due to global warming.
I don’t know whether this is good news or bad news. By the way, has the sea temperature around the British coast increased due to Global Warming or not? Does anyone know if I should cook this fish with garlic and onion, or a white sauce?

Robert Wood

David L. Hagen @10:22:57 if you are serious in that question?
Then: Plants must have CO2 to live; without plants, animals die, that includes us. We put additional CO2 in greenhouses, not to warm them uyp, which it doesn’t, but to make the plants grow better. They seem to love 1000 ppm 🙂

Bill P

Re: “John” Orszag — Make that “Peter”

Joseph (09:59:15), thank you for posting the link.

RobP

As many people have responded to Scott B, I won’t re-iterate, but I will just point out the “trap” he fell into was actually the same as the OMB – considering that the only impact of CO2 is on temperature/climate.
It is precisely this kind of blinkered view of selected impacts of ubiquitous compounds that gets us into trouble. As other commentators have noted, Oxygen is actually more toxic in high concentrations than CO2 and anyone who has handles rocket fuel will know how dangerous liquid oxygen is, so why is there no push for the EPA to regulate it?
Allowing the EPA to regulate CO2 purely from the standpoint of a presumed impact on climate has absolutely no redeeming features – it is plainly and simply stupid.

Andrew P

UK Sceptic (10:24:29) :
Unbelievable! I’m listening to the BBC News right now and they’re reporting that the Catlin expedition has proof that the Arctic icecap will be gone in 5 years! And to prove that the ice is so thin it’s melting away there’s a lovely shot of someone pushing a thin pole through the ice mere feet away from where the ice ends in open sea.
What a shower!

Yes, just seen the report on the web – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8048898.stm – this is probably most shameful piece of so called science reporting I have ever seen on the BBC. As a license fee payer I am disgusted at the depths the organisation has sunk to. The piece may as well have been written, filmed and edited by WWF. And it has been selected as the “Editor’s Choice”!

michel

Where is the emission from agriculture and food production? Its huge, but it doesn’t seem to be shown anyplace. For the UK its at least 25% of the total emissions.

jtom

Paddy, it has long been established that minimum levels of carbon dioxide are required to sustain the biosphere. Photosynthesis in plants stops as levels fall below 200 ppm, with the exact level dependent upon plant species. So extinction of some plant species begins 200 ppm, and the biosphere becomes unalterably affected.
Agricultural crops significantly suffer and may fail at levels below 190 ppm. Agriculture is believe to have started 11,000 years ago, or so. Some scientists posit that before that time, the CO2 levels were too low, around 190 ppm, to make agriculture viable. Crops would only grow in limited areas and yields were low.
Crop yields are dependent upon carbon dioxide levels, with optimum yields occurring when CO2 is about 1000 ppm. Interestingly, with increased CO2 plants will grow in areas that would otherwise be deemed unsuitable due to lack of water, poor soil, or unsuitable temperature. So not only do yields go up, but increased CO2 expands the areas in which plants can grow.
That’s why I’m loathed to support any tinkering by man to reduce levels of CO2 already in nature, like dumping chemicals in the ocean to absorb and sequester carbon dioxide. Some experiments (like that one) are irreversible once begun, and have the potential to really play havoc with our world.

chris y

This is not my most optimistic comment…
The one issue to remember here is that the EPA can fall on prior regulation practices and behavior to justify clamping down on CO2. If this comes to pass, I would expect the same regulations will be applied to water vapor eventually.
The case for regulating CFC’s was based on an observed ozone hole in the antarctic, coupled with future scenarios of ozone depletion based on what we now know may be faulty models of ozone/CFC chemistry in the stratosphere. We didn’t understand the ozone hole then, and we still don’t understand the natural variability of the southern pole ozone hole.
There are no direct health effects of CFC’s, which is one of the reasons CFC’s were so widely used (as well as being efficient refrigeration fluids and low in cost). The increased UV radiation in populated regions of the world due to global ozone depletion out to 2050 was projected to be very slight (the equivalent of moving 200 miles closer to the equator), and increased rates of skin cancer would likely have been undetectable. Yet the Montreal Protocol was ratified with great fanfare and self-congratulatory harrumpfing, and is hailed as the great prototype for CO2 regulation.
The EPA banned DDT after reviewing scientific studies that demonstrated no health effects to humans, that warned of toxic effects to humans of pesticides that would substitute for DDT, and that described animal impacts (eggshell thinning, among others) that relied on dubious (later shown largely to be fabricated or poor) experimental data. Banning DDT led to a malarial genocide that everyone should be well aware of by now.
PCB’s were banned by the EPA even though scientific studies showed no adverse effects of PCB’s in humans, even when saturated with levels of PCB’s in their fatty tissues many times higher than the limits eventually imposed by EPA. We are still paying to clean up superfund sites that are contaminated by a harmless chemical.
The list of examples is long.
The EPA has a glorious history of regulating harmless chemicals in the name of protecting humans, and often in the face of contrary evidence. The EPA should never be confused with being a scientific organization. It is an advocacy group for the philosophically bankrupt precautionary principle, with considerable political power.
The only real argument I can see here is to push the cost-benefit calculation. As EPA has regulated chemicals over the decades, the cost-benefit has increased exponentially, to the point where, for some chemicals, ten’s of billions of dollars of regulatory costs are wasted per life saved.
Sorry to be so glum.

John Galt

John Boy (09:47:37) :
Hold your breath and discover the effects of CO2.
The Boy of John

What you will discover is the effects of a lack of oxygen. CO2 is non-toxic, but you need oxygen.

anna v

David L. Hagen (10:22:57) :
Somewhere I read that a minimum level of CO2 is essential for some physiological process. Can anyone provide details and a reference?
http://theroadtoemmaus.org/RdLb/11Phl/Sci/CO2&Health.html
“Also consider: we would die if we did not breathe in such a way as to retain very close to 65,000 ppm (6.5%) of CO2 in the alveoli (tiny air sacs) of our lungs.”
here too
http://www.sepp.org/Archive/weekwas/2009/TWTW_Feb%2028,%202009.pdf

Fred from Canuckistan . . .

its not that Obama needs to regulate CO2, he needs the money he can skim off CO2 regulation. He’s desperate to get some cash in the door . . . he’ll tax anything under the guise of “saving the planet”

Dana H.

One of the most important benefits of CO2 emissions is that they allow us to live: Some 80% of our energy comes from the burning of fossil fuels, with no serious alternative in the foreseeable future (with the possible exception of nuclear power).

Pierre Gosselin

UK Skeptic,
The BBC has become shameless and arrogant – even your Labour MPs appear to have had enough.
You’ll love this (concerning MP expense abuse):
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/05/12/british-pol-destroys-bbc-hack-how-much-are-you-paid/
Sorry it’s off topic, but it’s nice to see the shameless BBC get put in its place.

Mike86

Ah, that’d be 29CFR1910.104, hazardous materials, oxygen…seriously.
Medical grade oxygen is also a prescription drug. Section 503(b)(4) of the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act; 21 CFR Sections 201(b)(1) and 211.130.
You know, instead of getting people of “wasting oxygen”, maybe they should go for “misuse of prescription drugs”.

John Boy

John Galt,
Increased CO2 in the bloodstream (which results from holding one’s breath) increases PH which is sensed by chemo-receptors in the brain which stimulate breathing. We expell CO2 from our bodies because it is harmful.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T0R-3X3K7FF-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=e1f61aa9aafe3b4b62d70fdea1be8cb6
The link. There is an abstract.
The Boy of John

We have seen in the UK in the last few days that our politicians are the very definition of untrustworthy.
In short they have been ‘fiddling their expenses’ (paid for by the tax payer) in such an egregious way that I doubt we will be able to believe anything they say for quite a while.
It occurs to me that ‘spinning the story’ is now more important than ever before for people in power.
The politiicans here were only caught out when someone leaked details of their expenses claims (this was despite FOIA requests which had been circumvented by the introduction of new laws).
The fact that you folks in the US are now seeing a leaked memo uncover some facts that lawmakers would rather be kept private suggests to me that all Americans should be on guard and encourage your media to uncover the truth on this issue.

Pierre Gosselin

Well I hope this all gets more intense and turns into a real DEBATE.
This is what the demented warmists are petrified of.
They and the fraud they are peddling are beginning to get exposed.

John Laidlaw

Just wait for the inevitable attacks on the OSB… none of which will have anything to do with the science involved, but will simply be attempts to discredit them somehow.

philincalifornia

Andrew P (10:55:25) :
UK Sceptic (10:24:29) :
Yes, just seen the report on the web – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8048898.stm – this is probably most shameful piece of so called science reporting I have ever seen on the BBC. As a license fee payer I am disgusted at the depths the organisation has sunk to. The piece may as well have been written, filmed and edited by WWF. And it has been selected as the “Editor’s Choice”!
———————————-
I expected them all to lie harder as their their bogus theories disintegrated, but this seems like an inordinate level of fraudulent reporting. Do you think the British Government is fearful of lawsuits to reclaim taxes (e.g. the airline taxes, and the Cap and Trade taxes) so it is pushing this pack of lies on all potential class action plaintiffs via it’s propaganda division, the BBC ??
Since they do business here in the States (I’ve paid airline taxes to the British government), I wonder if our renowned class action attorneys are looking at this one too ??

AKD

I am surprised the Bad Cop/Good Cop routine is not more obvious to all. Of course Obama does not want the EPA to regulate CO2. Cap and Trade would provide a much more lucrative revenue stream and can be passed off as neither a tax nor a penalty.