Pat Michaels: “A Climate Roadmap for Pres. Trump”

By David Middleton


A climate roadmap for President Trump

by Patrick Michaels | Jul 14, 2017

This week, President Trump is likely getting an earful in Paris over his extrication of the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement earlier this year. But our withdrawal will be meaningless unless he follows up with two important actions before he leaves office.

First, the administration must vacate the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2009 “Endangerment Finding” from carbon dioxide. Under the 2007 Supreme Court case Massachusetts v. EPA, this finding is required for the Agency to regulate carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act. No finding, no policy.

Second, the U.S. must pull out of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This treaty, which was ratified by the Senate, is the document that enables subsequent emissions agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol (not ratified) and the Paris agreement (an executive agreement).


Washington Examiner


At first glance, Dr. Michaels’ “roadmap” appears to be a short trip over a simple route.  There are a multitude of reasons for withdrawing from the UNFCCC and no reasons to remain a party to this organization… And withdrawal is wholly within the powers of and at the discretion of the President.  So, the last stop on Dr. Michaels’ itinerary is the easy bit.

Vacating the EPA’s endangerment finding may sound easy, but it may not be…

Is the EPA’s Landmark ‘Endangerment Finding’ Now Itself Imperiled?

The EPA’s court-backed determination that greenhouse gases are a threat to America’s health and security might prove hard for a Trump administration to undo.

by Abrahm Lustgarten
ProPublica, Nov. 22, 2016


The agency’s conclusion rested on thousands of pages of peer-reviewed research, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, from the U.S. Global Climate Research Program, and from the National Research Council. The agency wrote its rules and subjected them to public criticism. The public submitted voluminous comments, all of which were reviewed by the EPA before it issued a final rule.

The original rule-writing process alone took 14 months, (or 10 years if you count the arguments leading up to the 2007 Supreme Court fight). After its completion, The American Chemistry Council and other groups petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia to review the validity of the finding. In 2012, that court upheld the EPA’s endangerment rule, finding that the agency’s interpretation of its authority and of its obligation to regulate carbon dioxide “is unambiguously correct.”

In order to effectively eliminate the rule now, one former EPA attorney told ProPublica, the Trump administration would likely have to reargue the original decision, including the merits of the scientific evidence, and then build on it.

Per the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision, the new administration would have to use existing evidence to prove no risk is posed by climate gases. Then it would have to explain how new information that has emerged since 2009 — a period including the hottest years on record, some of the biggest storms and driest droughts, and destabilizing mass human migration — demonstrate how the EPA erred in its 2009 conclusion.

It’s a steep hill to climb, and, as Gerrard points out, would inevitably lead to a fresh wave of lawsuits both against the EPA and against polluters directly in courts across the country.



Per the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision, the new administration would have to use existing evidence to prove no risk is posed by climate gases.

Setting aside the fact that there is no such thing as “climate gases”… The “existing evidence” for the endangerment finding consists of climate models which forecast a a multitude of doomsday scenarios without deep reductions in so-called “greenhouse” gas emissions.

It’s basically impossible to use the existing evidence to vacate the endangerment finding unless the Trump administration can invalidate the models… And Dr. Michael’s roadmap may have a pathway to invalidating the models…


One of the foundational documents for the Endangerment Finding is the 2009 “National Assessment” of climate change. Its next iteration, in 2014, claimed it was “the most comprehensive and authoritative report ever generated about climate change,” as well as being “a key deliverable of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.”

The problem is, these “assessments” rely solely upon computer climate models for their future scenarios of gloom and doom. As it turns out, climate modeling (or forecasting) isn’t necessarily climate science, because the modeler gets to choose a preferred answer, and then tune the internal equations to get there.

The forecast models are known as “general circulation models,” or GCMs, and are generated by various government research groups around the world. Every six years, the U.S. Department of Energy supervises a “model intercomparison” project. For the most recent one, in 2013, 34 modeling teams sent in a “frozen code” model to be compared with the predictions from other groups. These form a community of base models, which the researchers feel are their “best” version, and after this point the code cannot be changed until the inter-comparison is done.

According to an Oct. 2016 news story in Science magazine, the modeling team from Germany’s Max Planck Institute was finalizing their inter-comparison version when the team leader, Erich Roeckner, became temporarily unavailable to participate in the work. As the team tested the model before submitting it, they found it now predicted twice as much warming (7 degrees Celsius) for doubled carbon dioxide as it had in its previous iteration. Science reported that Roeckner had a unique ability to tune the model’s cloud formation algorithm, and so in his absence, the model produced heating way outside the norm. Roeckner’s team eventually got the warming down to a level that was within the range of the other models.

Enter Frederic Hourdin, who headed up the French modeling effort. He rounded up modelers from 13 other groups and recently published “The Art and Science of Climate Model Tuning” in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. All of the climate models the world uses to create and justify things like the U.N. Framework Convention, the EPA endangerment finding, and the Paris agreement, are “tuned” to arrive at parameters forecast within an “anticipated acceptable range,” to quote Hourdin. But the big question is, acceptable to whom? One of Roeckner’s senior scientists, Thorsten Mauritsen, told Science, “The model we produced with 7 degrees [Celsius] was a damn good model.” But in his opinion that was too hot, so it had to be tuned.


It will be a considerable task to document the tuning problem. But if the Trump administration does this, it will have sufficient justification to warrant vacating the Endangerment Finding, which itself will justify getting the U.S. out of the U.N. Framework Climate Convention, and out of Paris for good.

Patrick J. Michaels is the director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute.

Washington Examiner


In anticipation of, ‘The climate models are not tuned!”

[1] Hourdin, F., T. Mauritsen, A. Gettelman, J. Golaz, V. Balaji, Q. Duan, D. Folini, D. Ji, D. Klocke, Y. Qian, F. Rauser, C. Rio, L. Tomassini, M. Watanabe, and D. Williamson, 2016: The art and science of climate model tuning. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-15-00135.1, in press. [link to full manuscript].

[2Climate model tuning, July 9, 2013 by Judith Curry

[3The art and science of climate model tuning, August 1, 2016 by Judith Curry

One would think that this would be the only evidence needed to vacate the endangerment finding:

Either way, EPA Administrator Pruitt’s “Red Team” should focus like a laser beam” on the climate models and snuff out the CAGW flashlight.


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70 thoughts on “Pat Michaels: “A Climate Roadmap for Pres. Trump”

  1. You would think that a simple query as to what evidence was the original endangerment finding based on and if the answer is that it was the output from models with no demonstrated level of predictive skill then surely that’s game over?

  2. Court cases and reviews are difficult because they are just “arguments”. Surely a simpler and probably very much cheaper alternative would be to fund some actual experiments which could show that the unique EM frequency response (I.R.) of CO2 is not “heat trapping”. It looks pretty easy to me to come up with a multitude of experiments both on small scale volumes of CO2 or mixed gases including CO2 at various concentrations and also to do much larger scale experiments in the actual atmosphere over lengths of several kilometeres.
    One could get loads of the lab sized experiments up and running in days for less than $10 million and a few larger scale experiments could yield results in less than 6 months and still see change from $200 million I reckon.
    Once you have actual repeatable experimental results which have falsified the CO2 related bit of AGW surely the arguments in court will be relatively simple. In fact if a serious effort is made to go down this route I suspect a large part of the AGW belief system is going to collapse or become dumb even before the outstanding and completely unexpected (/s) results are revealed.

    • “One could get loads of the lab sized experiments up and running in days for less than $10 million and a few larger scale experiments could yield results in less than 6 months and still see change from $200 million I reckon.”

      That’s pocket change for a conservative billionaire. Perhaps if the government doesn’t do this, then maybe it can be privately funded.

  3. Now is the time to begin this process as the lawsuits can be defended with the resources ( wink wink ) of the Federal government. The models ruled as being validated, or invalidated, by observations is a 30 minute afternoon TV understandable argument. Now is the time.

  4. Why doesn’t Congress do it’s job for a change and pass a law taking away the EPA’s power to regulate CO2 since that was never contemplated in the original law establishing the EPA? I’m sick of unelected bureaucrats making up laws.

    • Congress would have to amend the Clean Air Act. Easy to do in the House. Not so easy in the Senate. Unless they found a way to amend the CAA through budget reconciliation, it would take 60 votes in the Senate… Unless they totally eliminated the filibuster rule.

      • “Unless they totally eliminated the filibuster rule.”

        The Senate Republicans should eliminate this rule. Leaving it in place just gives the Democrats more ability to block the conservative agenda.

        The Democrats are playing hardball and are *not* going to cooperate with the Republicans, so Republicans need to use every tool available to thrwart the Democrat obstructionism. The Democrats are harming the U.S. with their delusional, hysterical, behavior.

      • I agree that the Republicans are incapable or unwilling to play hardball… Which is why they are unlikely to eliminate the filibuster for legislation. They are terrified of being criticized by the media.

        I was kind of surprised that they eliminated it for SCOTUS nominations.

      • “They are terrified of being criticized by the media.”

        I think that is exactly why the Republicans do what they do. They want to stay out of the MSM crosshairs more than anything. And you can see why. Trump is in the crosshairs and look how the MSM are trying to work him over.

        Of course, Trump is strong enough to fight back successfully (it helps that he is not guilty of any crime:). Not many Republican Senators or Representatives could or would do what Trump does to the MSM. So they run just as fast as they can from the MSM. They are really paralyzed into inaction over it. Their first thought is: What will the MSM think and say?

      • Don’t need to eliminate the filibuster.

        Just need to require a true floor action … rather than the threat of a floor action filibuster.

        As it stands any Senator just needs to claim that he will “filibust”, and then it takes 60 votes to move anything past. This not a filibuster; this a 60% minimum vote to pass anything.

        Go back to the way it was … let the aholes stand there for 4 days and talk. Let them show themselves for the clowns that they are.

    • Griff, my friend, if nothing else, you are an eternal optimist.

      Macron and Branson are in for a lesson in Sandbagging 101.

    • Trump might get back in the Paris Accord if we can rig up a deal where other countries pay the U.S. oh, say, $30 billion per year, and no emission restrictions are placed on the U.S (just the reverse of the current deal).

    • Oh boy Griff that’s your funniest post yet by a wide margin against stiff competition. So Branson says

      “I’ve got a feeling that the president is regretting what he did. Maybe his children and son in law [adviser Jared Kushner] are saying, ‘Look, I told you so.’ Hopefully there is a positive change of mind.”

      Now what exactly is it Trump is supposed to be looking at that he was told about by his brainwashed younger family? The non-warming climate? The non-accelerating sea level rise? The non-acidifying oceans? The non-increase in extreme weather? The non-existent lower tropospheric hotspot? What? What is Trump supposed to be looking at?

      • I think posters on this site ignore the very significant fact that the rest of the world is sticking to the Paris agreement and even pushing further than what they signed up to.

        USA is still on the naughty step, they think…

      • Yeah, after it becomes apparent that the U.S. is not going to be paying out the big bucks for the UN Green Climate Fund, I think there will be countries who will rethink their position. Turkey is already complaining.

        It’s all about getting the money for many nations. They were bribed into joining the Paris Accord and now the biggest banker says it is no longer going to play.

      • Griff: You assume the US cares enough to fork out millions to parasites who will do nothing to curb their emissions. Not sure that’s true at this point. You can feel free to send a really big contribution and maybe that will help the US look “nicer”.

  5. The EPA needs to reassess the academic establishment’s method of climate forecasting .The IPCC was not tasked with the objective analysis of the science but with evaluating i.e proving, that the human contribution
    would be dangerous over time and also that future temperatures could be lowered by limiting CO2 production. This is where the publications ,promotions, and jobs were .This is what largely government and public funds and grants paid for and academia jumped on the gravy train and delivered on cue.
    The reality is that Climate is controlled by natural cycles. Earth is just past the 2003+/- peak of a millennial cycle and the current cooling trend will likely continue until the next Little Ice Age minimum at about 2650.See the Energy and Environment paper at
    and an earlier accessible blog version at
    Here is the abstract for convenience :
    This paper argues that the methods used by the establishment climate science community are not fit for purpose and that a new forecasting paradigm should be adopted. Earth’s climate is the result of resonances and beats between various quasi-cyclic processes of varying wavelengths. It is not possible to forecast the future unless we have a good understanding of where the earth is in time in relation to the current phases of those different interacting natural quasi periodicities. Evidence is presented specifying the timing and amplitude of the natural 60+/- year and, more importantly, 1,000 year periodicities (observed emergent behaviors) that are so obvious in the temperature record. Data related to the solar climate driver is discussed and the solar cycle 22 low in the neutron count (high solar activity) in 1991 is identified as a solar activity millennial peak and correlated with the millennial peak -inversion point – in the UAH6 temperature trend in about 2003. The cyclic trends are projected forward and predict a probable general temperature decline in the coming decades and centuries. Estimates of the timing and amplitude of the coming cooling are made. If the real climate outcomes follow a trend which approaches the near term forecasts of this working hypothesis, the divergence between the IPCC forecasts and those projected by this paper will be so large by 2021 as to make the current, supposedly actionable, level of confidence in the IPCC forecasts untenable.”

    The EPA needs to establish an Advisory Panel on Climate Science to review the latest data. The most likely outcome would then provide the basis for the overturning of the endangerment finding.

  6. One thing that could help would be to have a solid critical review of the latest RSS changes. If these changes could be debunked or at least shown to be very questionable then the administration would have solid ground to stand on showing climate science is extremely biased. This would then provide a basis for removing the endangerment finding.

    • Or you could consider they are sensible and accurate and blow part of the skeptic narrative out of the water.

      I note from this week’s news round up that some people are still quoting RSS when it agrees with their viewpoint…

  7. “Per the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision, the new administration would have to use existing evidence to prove no risk is posed by climate gases.”

    Good lord . . . how on earth does one prove a negative AT ALL? And how could one even attempt to do so when, as in this case, you can’t use any new data AND the time period is measured in decades at the minimum and millennia overall?


  8. Hourdin, Frederic, Thorsten Mauritsen, Andrew Gettelman, Jean-Christophe Golaz, Venkatramani Balaji, Qingyun Duan, Doris Folini et al. “The art and science of climate model tuning.” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 98, no. 3 (2017): 589-602.

    We survey the rationale and diversity of approaches for tuning, a fundamental aspect of climate modeling, which should be more systematically documented and taken into account in multimodel analysis.

    Cited by 16

    Schmidt, Gavin A., David Bader, Leo J. Donner, Gregory S. Elsaesser, Jean-Christophe Golaz, Cecile Hannay, Andrea Molod, Rich Neale, and Suranjana Saha. “Practice and philosophy of climate model tuning across six US modeling centers.” Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss., doi:10.5194/gmd-2017-30, 2017 Manuscript under review for journal Geosci. Model Dev. Discussion started: 14 February 2017

    At minimum, we recommend that all future model description papers (or systematic documentation projects such as ES-DOC include a list of tuned-for targets, and describe (as in Table 2) their use of historical trends and imbalances.

    • Show what the models had projected in 2007 versus what the actual (not adjusted) observations were in 2007.
      Heck, even use the 2007 adjusted numbers. Just be sure to include the satellite and balloon numbers.

  9. “It’s basically impossible to use the existing evidence to vacate the endangerment finding unless the Trump administration can invalidate the models.”

    If Lord Monckton is correct, the calculations in his forthcoming paper will invalidate the models. All existing models have simply over-estimated the feedback factor. It only takes one paper, if it is correct.

  10. To the extent necessary to decision and when presented, the reviewing court shall decide all relevant questions of law, interpret constitutional and statutory provisions, and determine the meaning or applicability of the terms of an agency action. The reviewing court shall—
    (1) compel agency action unlawfully withheld or unreasonably delayed; and
    (2) hold unlawful and set aside agency action, findings, and conclusions found to be—
    (A) arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law;
    (B) contrary to constitutional right, power, privilege, or immunity;
    (C) in excess of statutory jurisdiction, authority, or limitations, or short of statutory right;
    (D) without observance of procedure required by law;
    (E) unsupported by substantial evidence in a case subject to sections 556 and 557 of this title or otherwise reviewed on the record of an agency hearing provided by statute; or
    (F) unwarranted by the facts to the extent that the facts are subject to trial de novo by the reviewing court.
    In making the foregoing determinations, the court shall review the whole record or those parts of it cited by a party, and due account shall be taken of the rule of prejudicial error.
    (Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 393.)

  11. “Tuning”. What a perfectly precious term. It is a damn pity it was not current in the mid-1940’s, or Eric Blair, writing as George Orwell, would have had commentary on it.
    “War is peace”, . . .

  12. I have invalidated the climate models, at WUWT here, and in my presentation at the 34th annual DDP meeting here.

    If journal editors could overcome their political fears in the face of climate modelers’ incompetent hostile reviews, this whole problem would be solved. Four years and counting, though.

      • But the temperature and ice extent data -the hard, observed and recorded facts – still support the science -its warming.

      • Yes, Griff…it is warming. It has been warming for about 250 years. The hard, observed and recorded facts indicate that it was warming at a faster rate in the early and late 20th Century than it is warming now. These facts do indeed support the science of natural climate variability. These facts don’t support the science of the AGW theory at all!

      • Sorry Griff, while it did warm there is no evidence of warming over the past 20 years. CFSR supports the UAH satellite data which shows a return to pre El Nino levels. We know that UAH showed no warming prior to the El Nino.

        What’s even more impressive is we’ve had weak El Nino conditions and both UAH and CFSR still show no warming.

      • The point of utterly unreliable climate models, Griff, is that there *is* no causal science of warming.

      • Pat Frank rejects radiative physics. Interesting. I guess Pat doesn’t understand what a “cause” is.

      • Richard, you have to take only the UAH record and reject surface temps and RSS to support your viewpoint…

        i.e you are cherry picking to get a desired outcome.

      • Wrong…

        The only times the observations have ever approached the model-mean have been during strong El Nino events.

        Ever since Hansen et al., 1988, the temperatures have consistently tracked strong mitigation scenarios in the models, despite very little mitigation.

      • Not even the “Karl-ized” RSS manages to bailout the models…

        The yellow band is 5-95%.

        RSS bounces around bottom of the yellow band.

        Models = Epic Fail

  13. The endangerment finding is a crucial foundation for many other regulations and must be reversed. Yes this will require considerable work, but each and every argument made to bring it about can be disputed. Much evidence against AGW has been developed since the endangerment finding was published in the Federal Register (2009). The EPA should immediately put together a team (probably will have to contract it out) to begin the process. After a year or so, the new endangerment (lack of, that is) arguments can be published in the Federal Register. Then of course there will be the environmental organizations bringing suit, and it will rise to the Supreme Court over the next couple of years. There are two reasons why the Supreme Court will accept this new non-endangerment finding.

    1. The courts tend to give way to the Executive Branch agencies when it comes to technical matters.

    2. The SC has changed!

    • Unfortunately, the deciding vote in Massachusetts v EPA is still on the bench. Justice Kennedy sided with the lib’s on this one. Unfortunately, recent rumors of his impending retirement have not come to fruition.

  14. How to “vacate the endangerment finding” – how to prove a negative, namely that increased CO2 is not dangerous, cannot be done in less than a thousand years. So it is no use setting about doing that at this point in time. Better ignore it. Who worries about that ruling, really? – Just empty words on pieces of paper. Opponents of EPA’s actions or in-actions can only institute legal proceedings which are easily stalled. The crux of the matter is whether any nation coughs up the money promised under the Paris agreement – and not many nations have so far.

  15. climate models do not model the future. they model what the model builders believe the future will be.

    consider this: if a model just happened to show the future correctly, but the answer was “too hot” or “too cold” as compared to what the model builder believed, the model builder would think the model was in error and would “tune” the model to return a more acceptable result.

  16. The endangerment finding is not based on any valid evidence. Other environmental rules, such as those regarding particulates, were backed up by at least a modicum of statistical and econometric studies that had results that passed the minimal significance levels. But the GCM projections have no significant statistical results. There is simply no scientific evidence for the warming that is projected. That simple fact should be the basis of invalidating the endangerment finding.

  17. I meant to add that the PM2.5 rule also does not have any valid evidence. It is based on an unsupportable projection of the (weak) results from studying the effects of much larger particulate matter.

    • All “my” science is sound, I just have a problem convincing more than 0.1% of people that it is so.

  18. Getting out the UNFCCC is easy. According to US, law any UN agency, which the US is a member of, that recognizes the “Palestinian” state: the US is required to resign form such organization. The UNFCCC has recognized Palestine as a country. Therefore, the US is required, by law, to exit the organization.

  19. “It’s basically impossible to use the existing evidence to vacate the endangerment finding”

    First principles physics is all you need. The problem is that climate science makes the climate system to be far more complex than it really is. It’s not rocket science and barely extends beyond basic arithmetic. Connect the dots between the behavior of ideal BB and that of the Earth and the problem is solved.

  20. Maybe the way to go would be to establish that CO2 is essential to life, and that if some CO2 is good, then more CO2 must be better. There is the well known plant-food argument in favour of more CO2, but also the lesser known O2 argument, whereby oxygen in the atmosphere is maintained by plants, which in turn are maintained by CO2.

    The courts would then be faced with contradictory evidence, which may lead to the desired outcome.

  21. Wouldn’t the easiest/quickest solution be to just place a “hold” on any EPA ruling/regulation or enforcement having anything to do with CO2 until the Red Team activities have been fully completed and evaluated? After 7 years of careful study and reflection, and failure of warnist projections, the Endangerment Finding could be quietly dropped.

  22. Dave wrote: “One would think that this would be the only evidence needed to vacate the endangerment finding” and then presented UAH and RSS data vs. model predictions.

    How does one prove that a model or group of models used in the endangerment finding were invalid? Tough question. Remember, your “proof” must convince the Supreme Court. As long as Chevron Deference exists, the court believes that the head of the EPA (approved by Congress) is the one best able to make such a decision.

    How far off do the need to be to be invalid? If there were a reasonable consensus the EBMs were correct, would that be enough to prove they were invalid? For that matter, would an ECS of 2, be low enough to prove that there is no danger from rising GHGs? How about an ECS of 1? Even the smallest amount of future warming that can be assigned to GHG’s will cause sea level rise and therefore damage. Even if natural variability were larger than a forced change in SLR, one could argue that GHGs made it worse.

    Even if the US withdrew from the UNFCCC, the EPA could still regulate GHGs under the Clean Air Act.

    If we can’t stop GHG emissions from being regulated under the Clean Air Act and we can’t amend it without Democratic votes, then the only choice is to make rules that minimize the amount of harm any future EPA could do. Could the EPA or Congress issue a rule saying that regulation of GHG emissions must make sense from a domestic cost-benefit perspective. US costs must be lower by US benefits. Foreign benefits would count only if a binding treaty between the US and that foreign nation existed. The Social Cost of Carbon is zero if we regulate by those rules. The other big factor in the Social Cost of Carbon is the discount rate. If we think our descendant are going to be far richer than we are, then it makes sense economically to let them spend some of their riches adapting to whatever comes rather than asking the current generation to mitigate. Create a precedent of using the growth rate over the last century in projections for the next century. If we can’t stop the EPA from regulating, we must prevent the future damage they can cause.

    Findings that the 1.5 and 2.0 degC targets adopted by the Paris Treaty are not based on sound science and economics might eliminate their use by any future head of the EPA.

    • Dr. Spencer compared models to UAH and HadCRUT4 in that particular graph…

      The endangerment finding is based on model projections.

      Reality runs cooler than 90-95% of the models.

      • David: Massachusetts sued the Bush II EPA for not regulating GHG emissions and won, giving the EPA the power to regulate under the Clean Air Act. Massachusetts didn’t claim that climate models must be right; they claimed that SLR (from a non-specified amount of warming) was going to damage their coasts. Your graph shows that both HadCRU4 and UAH show warming. Warming means thermal expansion, some loss of ice from Greenland, some SLR, and some damage. AFAIK, the amount of warming and damage is irrelevant to the EPA’s ability to regulate. (IIRC, the original Clean Air Act didn’t even require that the benefits of any regulations exceed their costs. Cost-benefit analysis came later and isn’t always a requirement.)

        So your graph doesn’t answer my question, how low can climate sensitivity (ECS) before the EPA is not allowed to regulate? What scientific evidence can prove that the case that reached the Supreme Court was wrongly decided? From a lukewarmer perspective, it can’t be done. The best we can do (as long as Chevron deference exists) is to make sure the EPA uses the proper information to decide on a Social Cost for Carbon. At $10/ton or less (calculated by using a low ECS, high discount rate and benefits only from the US), the cost of regulation will be negligible. At $100/ton or more (calculated using a high ECS, a low discount rate and world-wide benefits), coal becomes uneconomic partly because it has additional costs via traditional particulate air pollution. Gasoline only costs an additional $0.25 per gallon and it has fewer smaller liabilities in terms of traditional air pollution.

      • It’s not a matter of the EPA being allowed to regulate and SCOTUS didn’t base their ruling on science. They left the science up to the EPA.

        SCOTUS ruled that under the Clean Air Act, the EPA must regulate GHG emissions if they deem them hazardous through an endangerment finding.

        The Obama EPA issued an endangerment finding based on the models which predicted all sorts of hazardous impacts from GHG emissions. The Social Cost of Carbon is also based on the model projections of future impacts.

        If the EPA can demonstrate that the models were wrong… or “tuned” to yield hazardous impacts, it could revoke the endangerment finding.

        The models don’t use realistic climate sensitivities.

        The discount rate applied to the SCC is a different matter. SCC is used to estimate a present day value of future damages for the purpose of pricing GHG emissions. If the EPA applies a real world discount rate of 7% to the SCC, it would drop to $0/ton or less. This wouldn’t vacate the endangerment finding. But it would render a carbon tax or cap & trade totally moot.

      • David: We are mostly in agreement, but you seem to be dodging my point: How wrong do climate models need to be to get rid of the EPA’s Engenderment Ruling? Suppose a Trump Administration red team says the central estimate for ECS should be based on observations (ie EBMs), not AOGCMs with tuned parameters. Or a compromise between EBMs and AOGCMs. What would that do to the endangerment finding????

        As best I can tell, an endangerment finding is driven by the precautionary principle. If something with both good and bad aspects is happening, the EPA looks at the bad aspects and issues an endangerment finding. If new science says that the danger of warming has been cut in half, some danger is still left and the endangerment finding stands. If so, Pat Michaels call to vacate the endangerment finding is a waste of time. See the 2009 EPA Endangerment Finding below.

        When the EPA gets around to issuing RULES after an endangerment finding, they often (always?) do some kind of cost-benefit analysis to prove that the country as a whole will be better off under their new rules. With new information about ECS, the cost-benefit analysis can change radically. Obama’s Regulatory Czar in OBM, Cass Sunstein (the nation’s most cited law professor, not scientist or economist) managed the process of setting a SCC for regulatory purposes. This link explains a little of that process – which may be the ONLY means left by which lukewarmers can influence policy. Which is why a red team should focus on ECS and SCC – more radical options may turn out to be fantasies.

        This link suggests that the discount rate is an adjustable parameter to be chosen by a political process. For economists, however, an optimum discount rate if given by a mathematical theorem involving the future economic growth rate. In words, the richer you think the next generation will be, the less you should ask the current generation to spent on mitigation and the more the next generation should spend on adaptation.

        On December 7, 2009, the Administrator signed two distinct findings regarding greenhouse gases under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act:

        Endangerment Finding: The Administrator finds that the current and projected concentrations of the six key well-mixed greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)—in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.

        Cause or Contribute Finding: The Administrator finds that the combined emissions of these well-mixed greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engines contribute to the greenhouse gas pollution which threatens public health and welfare.
        These findings do not themselves impose any requirements on industry or other entities. However, this action was a prerequisite for implementing greenhouse gas emissions standards for vehicles. In collaboration with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, EPA finalized emission standards for light-duty vehicles (2012-2016 model years) in May of 2010 and heavy-duty vehicles (2014-2018 model years) in August of 2011.

        Note: We are unlikely to emit enough SF6 to cause a significant amount of climate. Nevertheless it is a “danger”.

      • The models need to be wrong enough for the EPA to revoke its endangerment finding. The starting point would be to demonstrate that the models were “tuned” to yield certain results.

        Then models which incorporated realistic climate sensitivities would have to run. If these models eliminated the justification of the endangerment finding, it could be revoked. Of course this would lead to more litigation.

        In an ideal world, Congress would amend the CAA to exclude climate change and GHG’s. Or Trump would get to replace one of the 5 justices who sided with Massachusetts, the EPA would revoke the endangerment finding and SCOTUS would uphold the revocation.

      • David says: “The models need to be wrong enough for the EPA to revoke its endangerment finding. The starting point would be to demonstrate that the models were “tuned” to yield certain results.”

        How wrong is “wrong enough”? EBMs have a central estimate for ECS of 1.5-2.0 K, but their 95% confidence interval is more like 1.0-4.0 K (unless one uses an unbiased prior). What happens to the endangerment finding when the average model had an ECS of 3.3 and a few greater than 4. (My guess is that wouldn’t be considered to be wrong enough.)

        It is possible to calculate the confidence interval or the difference between two means given the confidence interval for both means. If AOGCMs – EBMs difference is 1.5 +/- 1.0 that would imply the models were wrong. However, is this a 70%, 90%, 95% or 99% confidence interval? In other words, do the models need to be “likely wrong”, “very likely wrong”, “extremely likely wrong”, or “virtually certainly wrong”. And which of these meets a legal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” or a “preponderance of the evidence. Certainly the hiatus didn’t prove that AOGCMs were wrong.

        Being able to demonstrating that models were tuned to yield a specific result is even more unlikely. Studies with ensembles of simpler models show that there are lots of sets of parameters that are equally good (or bad if you prefer) at representing today’s climate. Few of them have a climate sensitivity as low as EBMs. In the process of tuning a model, a scientist might have some idea which of two mediocre choices made while tuning a model is more likely to yield a higher climate sensitivity, but proving intentional bias is extremely unlikely.

        I’d love to hear someone propose a convincing solution to the problem of scientifically getting rid of the endangerment finding that is quantitative and practical. Until then, it appears to be a fantasy.

  23. Looking at Dr Spencer’s models graphic there’s 1 model which is running just about spot on, in yellow, and another in purple running very close. Shouldn’t those 2 be subject to much closer scrutiny because at present they’re the closest to observations?

  24. Surely, from an American’s point of view it is plain crazy to have an endangerment finding based solely on a projection of currently (very) inaccurate models showing warming that is an artifact of higher “minimum” temperatures.

    So the endangerment finding (presumably for the health of Americans) solves these problems by:-

    spending billions on a duplicate power system that is not reliable

    forcing the costs onto power bills, which affects the poorest the most

    forces companies to move their jobs abroad to somewhere with cheaper labour/energy costs

    causing lower wages, unemployment, higher energy costs – presumably these are thought to improve peoples welfare and mental health (do I need a sarc?)

    What are the benefits of the endangerment finding? Given the accelerating technological progress of the last 80 years, I challenge anyone to give an accurate assessment of what the world will look like in 40 years, let alone the end of the century.


  25. If you think Co2 is a problem, stop breathing. If you think this entire AGW game is nothing more but a pathetic attempt to create a technocratic elite that wants to control “EVERYTHING” and wishes you and your family nothing fleeced and eventually dead, get back at them. http//

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