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EPA May Have Suppressed Anti-Global Warming Study

Accusations are flying over leaked e-mails (warning: PDF) that the EPA suppressed an internal report that casts a skeptical light on using regulations to reign in carbon emissions and reduce global warming.

The 98-page report (warning, PDF), primarily authored by Alan Carlin, argues that there is no reason to regulate carbon dioxide in the U.S. since much of the science cited by the Environtmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its recent pro-regulation recommendation to President Obama is outdated. Carlin claims that recent studies show that long-held assumptions about hurricanes in the Atlantic, the shedding of ice sheets in Greenland, and the trend of rising temperatures worldwide may be misguided.

A grain of salt is required however, since Carlin is also the man who postulated that managing sea levels and solar radiation would be more effective and less expensive than regulating carbon dioxide emissions. We are admittedly not experts on these topics, but it seems a tad far-fetched that it is more expensive to tell a company to stop pumping so much CO2 into the air than it is to find a way to artificially control the amount of radiation that enters our planet's atmosphere.

However there is no denying that the leaked messages look bad. An e-mail response to Carlin by Al McGartland, an EPA official, states:
"The time for such discussion of fundamental issues has passed for this round. The administrator and the administration has decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision... I can only see one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office."
The EPA defended itself, telling CNET that it listened to Carlin's claims, had doubts about his qualifications, going on to say:
"The individual in question is not a scientist and was not part of the working group dealing with this issue. Nevertheless, the document he submitted was reviewed by his peers and agency scientists, and information from that report was submitted by his manager to those responsible for developing the proposed endangerment finding. In fact, some ideas from that document are included and addressed in the endangerment finding."
Of course, it's also possible that Carlin's comments were dismissed out of political expediency, especially since EPA administrator Lisa Jackson had been vocal earlier this year about pushing through a quick decision about carbon dioxide regulation by April 2nd -- in time for the 2nd anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Massachusetts v. EPA (PDF). In that decision the Supreme Court called on the agency to determine if greenhouse gases were harming the Earth, after states and private organizations sued to force the EPA to regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act.

The importance of the date is clear, but to dismiss science for the sake of some self-imposed, politically-motivated deadline is simply not excusable. We were promised that "the days of science taking a back seat to ideology," were over, but clearly someone didn't get the message. The quality of Carlin's science may be debatable, but it's still important to refute his findings on a scientific basis, not just dismiss them because he disagrees with the agency's official stance on global warming. [From: CNET]

Tags: barack obama, BarackObama, epa, global warming, GlobalWarming, science, suppression

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