Currently no scientific or logical basis for regulation of CO2 emissions, logician tells EPA
Guest essay by Terry Oldberg
Submitted to the EPA’s Public Listening Session on 111(d) Carbon Pollution Standards For Existing Power Plants November 5, 2013 in San Francisco, California:
I’ve come to this hearing to play the role of logician. Logicians are interested in whether or not arguments reach valid conclusions. Consideration by the EPA of carbon pollution standards for existing power plants is based upon an argument whose conclusion is that an intolerable level of global warming would result from continued emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from combustion of fossil fuels. Earlier this year, I published a peer-reviewed article which proves this conclusion to be scientifically and logically unfounded.
The title of this article is “A Common Fallacy in Global Warming Arguments”; the article is available on the World Wide Web at http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=7923 .
In brief, the above referenced conclusion is drawn from an “equivocation,” that is, an argument in which a term changes meaning in the midst of this argument. By logical rule, to draw a conclusion from an equivocation is logically improper. To draw such a conclusion is the “equivocation fallacy.”
The equivocation fallacy is the source of the conclusion that an intolerable level of global warming would result from continued emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from combustion of fossil fuels. Scientific research is not the source of this conclusion though this is commonly assumed.
Currently, there is neither a logical nor a scientific basis for regulation of greenhouse gas emissions by the EPA. The EPA’s staff can and should learn the logical basis for this conclusion by reading the article at http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=7923 and carefully digesting its content. Then it should reverse regulations already on the books. Finally, it should halt efforts toward promulgating new regulations until a basis in science and in logic exists for them.
The federal government has spent 100 billion dollars on global warming research without producing a product that is useable for its intended purpose. Federally supported researchers have, however, made it seem to political leaders, journalists and members of the general public as though there is a useable product; they have done so through applications of the equivocation fallacy. Massive amounts of money have been spent on the assumption that the basis for federal, state and local regulation of greenhouse gas emissions is both scientific and logical. This state of affairs suggests the need for changes among the ranks of those individuals who plan and manage global warming research for the federal government.