Massaging the science to fit the policy

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The Article

“I do not agree with what you have to say, so I command you to shut up.”

The words aren’t quite as eloquent as those of Voltaire, but the modern twist on his famous quote reflects the new policy of the climate change gurus at the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It has been working hard for the past few months, on behalf of President Barack Obama, to create a major policy to demonstrate to Americans that he will lead the world in climate change policies.

Plan A is to have carbon dioxide declared a pollutant under the Clean Air Act, thereby giving the EPA the authority to create rules to regulate carbon emissions—even if the government can’t get legislative support to do so. Plan B is to silence dissenters and ignore research that doesn’t support their power grab.

Alan Carlin, a senior research analyst for the EPA and 35-year veteran of the agency, put Plan B into action when he submitted a 98-page analysis that suggested the latest science didn’t support the proposed policy.

The report argued that the science behind man-made global warming was inconclusive and global temperatures were on a downward trend. It described the numerous problems associated with the use of computers to model and predict climate change, and suggested that new research contradicts the hysterical scenarios presented by climate change advocates. Consequently, he encouraged the EPA to conduct a thorough review of the science associated with greenhouse gases and climate change.

According to leaked e-mails, the EPA was not amused. It promptly banned him from discussing his report outside of the office, saying it had already made the decision to move ahead with its policy and making the report public would have a “very negative impact on our office.” The EPA then directed him to “move on to other issues and subjects.”

In other words, Carlin had uncovered an inconvenient truth. The eco-bureaucrats at the EPA had pre-determined what the policy would be and it didn’t matter if the science supported the policy or not—the bureaucratic decision had been made.

This arrogance is significant for two reasons.

First, it provides even more evidence that climate change science is highly political and governed more by ideology than real science. In a throwback to ancient eras, those who produce conflicting studies or opinions are immediately vilified and discredited (as Carlin was). The scientific claims are never addressed—only the people who dare to make them.

We’ve seen it in Canada. In May, I wrote about two highly qualified individuals whose credibility was immediately questioned by NDP politicians when they were appointed to granting boards for scientific research. Why? Because they had previously made statements suggesting they didn’t believe that global warming science was fully settled.

Ironically, one of Obama’s first acts as president was to take a dig at former president George W. Bush and proclaim that “the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over.” The Bush administration had long been criticized for rejecting the Kyoto accord. To ideologically driven politicians and environmentalists, it didn’t seem to matter that thousands of scientists also disagreed with the accord. Or that the journal Nature (one of the world’s top scientific journals) called for an end to the Kyoto accord, saying it’s “the wrong tool for the job” and based on simplistic assumptions.

Obama’s nominee to head the EPA concurred, stating that any efforts to alleviate environmental crises would be rooted in science, the law and total transparency. So much for the EPA’s noble pursuit of science.

Second, it once again reveals a tendency for eco-bureaucrats to make the data fit the policy. We’ve seen it in the IPCC (the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), supposedly the ultimate authority on climate change. Its directives drive climate change policies around the world and it claimed that 2,500 scientists have reviewed and endorsed its policies. Yet it is now widely known that these directives are written by policy-makers—not scientists—and in many instances do not even represent the conclusions of the scientists. In 2007, 60 per cent of these scientists claimed the conclusions were wrong and one called the whole process “fundamentally corrupt.”

In other words, the IPCC makes the data fit the policy.

The EPA vowed it would be transparent and now it is. As Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

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