11.30.2009 0

Climategate Denial: A Tale of Two Lisas

  • On: 12/11/2009 09:21:08
  • In: Energy Crisis, Global Warming Fraud, and the Environment
  • by Victor Morawski

    The recent announcement by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson that greenhouse gasses endanger public health lays out the red carpet for a host of new government regulations across a broad swath of industries. And it comes as no surprise to those familiar with publications penned by Jackson underling Lisa Heinzerling.

    As counsel in Massachusetts v. EPA, current EPA Associate Administrator, Heinzerling gained notoriety for arguing successfully before the Supreme Court that greenhouse gasses are “air pollutants” that can be regulated under the Clean Air Act. She later castigated the Bush Administration for not doing so when it had the opportunity in 2003.

    More recently, claiming that “environmental threats rarely capture the attention of the public and policymakers unless and until they are linked to human health,” she has argued for just such a linking. In “Climate Change, Human Health, and the Post-Cautionary Principle” she proposes “that we move further in the direction of characterizing climate change as a public health threat and not only as an environmental threat.” These views clearly form the inspiration for her bosses’ announcement.

    In fact, by claiming that climate change is a human health hazard, Heinzerling would even involve other government agencies in the “aggressive” regulatory action she seeks—agencies like the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, even the United Nations Security Council. So the EPA announcement may signal only the first step on the long, intrusive regulatory road she would take America down.

    For her, traveling that road is not only pragmatically wise; it is a “moral imperative.” Potential consequences for human health “make the moral case for aggressive action on climate change unimpeachable.” It is this supposed “moral case” that is in many ways most troubling.

    In introductory ethics, students are taught that a moral argument to the effect that “we [morally] ought (or ought not) to do x” has two different elements in its premises: a general moral principle like “We ought to treat others as we would want to be treated,” and a statement of the facts relevant to the case in question.

    Within the man-caused global warming debate, those particular facts relate to the science behind the matter. Bringing in what she terms the “latest scientific research” supposedly supporting her “moral case for aggressive” regulatory action on climate change, Ms. Heinzerling repeatedly uses data in her article provided by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). That’s the organization whose scientific credibility has been seriously undermined recently because of its heavy reliance on results supplied to it by the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU), currently ground zero in the Climategate scandal.

    But the compromised scientific data also significantly undermines the moral argument for aggressive governmental action which depends on it. If the consequences are not there because the warming does not exist (or is not man-caused), then neither is the supposed moral imperative for action.

    When asked about the surfaced e-mails showing that the CRU manipulated results contradicting the theory of man-caused global warming, EPA Administrator Jackson’s response has ranged from dismissing them—claiming that “The science has been thoroughly evaluated”—to belittling their significance by remarking that the scandal affects only a small sliver of the supporting evidence for man-made global warming.

    Whether either contention is true, of course, has yet to be conclusively shown and will come to light eventually when the extent of the scandal is thoroughly investigated. But for Jackson at this point to summarily dismiss its significance is at best disingenuous and at worst dishonest. And given the degree to which the IPCC relied on CRU research, her observations seem unlikely to hold.

    On the EPA’s web site, Jackson’s response to the CRU scandal may be accessed under the heading of “Scientific Integrity.” Noting that the public must be able to trust the science underlying the EPA’s public policy decisions, she pledges, “to uphold values of scientific integrity every day.” Her reaction to the challenge posed by the deepening Climategate scandal hardly seems consistent with this pledge.

    And, yet, she has now joined her major domo, Lisa Heinzerling, in basing broad public health policy on the wholesale abandonment of both the EPA pledge and “scientific integrity.”

    Victor Morawski, professor at Coppin State, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

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