The misguided Affordable Clean Energy rule

“The Trump Administration is still playing the same “CO2 is causing dangerous manmade climate change” tune.
– Paul Driessen

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“Why is the EPA still determined to control plant food?” asks Driessen. “Authors Tim Ball and Tom Harris thought the Trump EPA would not just terminate Obama’s job-killing Clean Power Plan (CPP) – but would finally end its ridiculous attempt to control Earth’s climate by controlling carbon dioxide emissions. Unfortunately, at least thus far, the authors freely admit, they were wrong.”

“EPA’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule shows that the Trump Administration is still playing the same “CO2 is causing dangerous manmade climate change” tune, though somewhat less loudly than Obama did. Just like the CPP, the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule focuses on reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the nonsensical belief that this will somehow reduce global warming – a phenomenon that virtually ended 20 years ago and would benefit wildlife and humanity anyway.”

“All Americans must understand how unaccountable “Deep State” technocrats are still directing government policy behind the scenes, using a little known and highly undemocratic feature of the U.S. legal system called “Administrative Law.”

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The misguided Affordable Clean Energy rule

Why is the US EPA still determined to control plant food and drive up electricity prices?

Dr. Tim Ball and Tom Harris

On August 29, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a press release “EPA Acting Administrator tours Ohio to promote ACE rule,” his proposed Affordable Clean Energy rule.

According to the release, the Trump Administration’s proposed rule will “replace the Clean Power Plan [CPP] and establish emission guidelines for [U.S.] states to develop plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

But the new rule is still misguided. Like the CPP, it is based on the mistaken idea that human activities, and particularly our industries and electricity generators, are causing dangerous global warming.

In reality, increasing atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), the only gas restricted by both the ACE and the CPP, is bringing huge benefits across the terrestrial biosphere. CO2 is an essential ingredient in photosynthesis. The last thing we should be doing is trying to reduce this “plant food.”

So why is it that, even under President Trump, the EPA still finds it necessary to restrict CO2 emissions? Let’s review a bit of history.

“Controlling carbon is a bureaucrat’s dream”

To increase government control over the economy, the Obama White House strongly supported the climate scare: the unfounded crusade to restrict CO2 emissions. The impact was and would be profoundly harmful. As MIT atmospheric meteorologist Richard Lindzen has said, “Controlling carbon is a bureaucrat’s dream. If you control carbon, you control life.”

Obama achieved his goals using the “deep state” – influential, unelected, decision-making, unaccountable government bureaucrats, whose policies and long-term goals are mostly unaffected by changes in elected officials. In particular, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was central to his administration’s control of carbon in the form of CO2.

Obama knew he could not get the Paris Agreement on climate change through the Senate because – just before the rest of the world adopted the UN’s 1997 Kyoto Protocol in Japan – the Senate unanimously passed the Byrd/Hagel Resolution. This resolution stated that the United States should not be a signatory to any agreement that did not hold developing countries to similar targets as developed nations. In particular, the document said in part:

Resolved, that it is the sense of the Senate that –

(1)    the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol to, or other agreement regarding, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992, at negotiations in Kyoto in December 1997, or thereafter, which would –

(A)    mandate new commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the Annex I Parties, unless the protocol or other agreement also mandates new specific scheduled commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for Developing Country Parties within the same compliance period

The Paris Agreement does indeed have very different targets for developing and developed countries. So Obama asserted that Paris should not be considered a “treaty,” and so would not require Senate approval.

Bypass Congress and control CO2

To get “rulings” that seemed to legitimize the EPA’s control over CO2 without going through Congress, Obama exploited a growing problem with the Constitutional balance of powers: the increasing tendency of the Judicial Branch to rule from the bench and make decisions that were properly Legislative Branch responsibilities. The EPA website explains how it was able to bypass Congress and control CO2:

On April 2, 2007, in Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007), the Supreme Court found that greenhouse gases [including CO2] are air pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act. The Court held that the [EPA] Administrator must determine whether or not emissions of greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare, or whether the science is too uncertain to make a reasoned decision.

Predictably, on December 7, 2009, the EPA issued its “Endangerment Finding” that GHG emissions did indeed threaten health, asserting:

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.

and:

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.

This is the flawed driver, the faulty reasoning, that underlies both the CPP and the ACE. Ironically, under the EPA definition of “air pollutant,” EPA could even include oxygen because it causes rust.

It is likely that the EPA colluded with the State of Massachusetts to get it to sue the EPA in support of designating GHGs as pollutants. In effect, the state claimed that the EPA was endangering the lives of its citizens by failing to control “harmful” CO2.

The trial transcript strongly suggests that EPA deliberately lost the final Supreme Court case. If it had properly defended itself, the case would have exposed all the lies and misinformation already pedaled to convince the public that dangerous human-caused global warming is a proven scientific fact.

The trouble is, most people think about this case in the context of criminal or civil law. In fact, and this is central to the problems created by unaccountable bureaucrats, it was adjudicated under Administrative Law (AL), a third component of the U.S. legal system.

Bypassing the Constitution and Congress

Created just after World War II, AL allows groups and individuals to bypass the Constitution and Congress. It gives direct, unaccountable power to technocrats, subject-matter experts who are members of highly skilled elite groups. The creation of AL speaks to the failure of the political class, but also to the manipulative power of technocrats and technocracy.

It was created because too many politicians cannot understand science and technology. They are afraid of making a mistake and exposing their ignorance, which would jeopardize their political careers. Instead of creating legislation that enables them to get information in ways they can understand, they give nearly complete control of issues involving science and technology to scientists, specialists and technologists. Here is what the Administrative Law does,

The executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the US federal government cannot always directly perform their constitutional responsibilities. Specialized powers are therefore delegated to an agency, board, or commission. These administrative governmental bodies oversee and monitor activities in complex areas, such as commercial aviation, medical device manufacturing and securities markets.

Simply put, if legislators can’t decide these matters in the first place, they won’t know if what the experts are telling them is the truth, or an exaggeration, manipulation or fabrication.

Justice Scalia summarized the situation when the case came before the Supreme Court in 2007:

The Court’s alarm over global warming may or may not be justified, but it ought not distort the outcome of this litigation. This is a straightforward administrative-law case, in which Congress has passed a malleable statute giving broad discretion, not to us but to an executive agency. No matter how important the underlying policy issues at stake, this Court has no business substituting its own desired outcome for the reasoned judgment of the responsible agency.

As forceful and persuasive as Justice Scalia’s comments were (here is his dissent in full), there is one massive hole in them that illustrates what is wrong with AL, not only in this case, but in almost every case where it is the basis for judgment.

It was the EPA that determined that CO2 was a harmful substance. The Supreme Court is in the foolish position of effectively ruling that the EPA must control a harmful substance that the EPA decided, with little evidence, was a harmful substance.

No wonder so many bureaucrats take positions with technocrat groups after they leave government. They can guide the groups on how to get what they want without having to bribe politicians.

The EPA was the central agency for creating, perpetuating and applying the myth that that CO2 is a harmful substance that is causing runaway global warming. Its bureaucrats wrote and promoted the biggest deep state fake news story of all time. President Trump must continue to rein them in.

Dr. Tim Ball is an environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition.


10 thoughts on “The misguided Affordable Clean Energy rule”

  1. “Clean Coal” is not about coal that releases less CO2 but rather, that it burns cleaner releasing fewer carbon particulates. I’m surprised that the very learned Driesen misses that point. Same is true for the cleaner sweet light crude that comes out of West Texas and the very sludgy black oil that comes from Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.

  2. “Why is the US EPA still determined to control plant food and drive up electricity prices?”

    Not read the article at the point of posting this so Dr Ball may well have alluded to this himself.
    I have said for several years now that we will see the nudge factor being used extensively to hike the price of ‘so called electricity’ to counter the losses made by using less natural gas, coal and oil.
    They need electricity to equal or exceed the revenue they are now reaping from those other commodities. The change will take time so expect the price to rise gradually, almost without noticing, that’s what’s happening in the UK will vehicle fuel prices. Last time they pushed the price too fast and at 126p/litre low income people started stealing fuel from vehicles left on the road at night. Move on 10 years and the price has now been hiked to over 130p/litre but no sign of fuel theft yet…why? Because they keep changing the price at the pump almost weekly, so over several years people forget what the normal price is supposed to be. The price rise is disguised as market volatility. People get accustomed to the roller-coaster prices. The same tactic can be seen with utility companies pretending to be in competition with each other giving so many different prices, the consumer can’t possibly keep pace. All they see is a gradual increase, which the government put down to inflation.
    99% of the population just don’t see how they are being conned.

    • Fear not! I spent 15 years working with death data… and I can assure you…

      we will ALL die
      once
      from something

      (bureaucrat or not).

  3. Now that we know, thanks to the mindless bureaucrats in DC, specifically the ones at the EPA, that carbon dioxide is a dangerous air pollutant, along with the fact that oxygen causes rust, which has been a bane for many a metal-based product (except for computer hard drives, of course) — I say, lets remove all carbon dioxide and oxygen from the atmosphere — and that should, based on my own simple-minded estimations, take care of the overall problem quite PERMANENTLY. And if you’re gullible enough to believe in the soundness of such a proposal…. well, I got some farmland in South Africa I’d be willing to sell you at a huge discount.

  4. There are at least 8 NASA dedicated missions and /or fly by’s to the Sun since 1999, 17 total since 1965 if you include the recently launched NASA Solar Probe Plus Mission in 2018. With Almost half of all Solar Missions and fly by’s to the Sun taking place from 1999 on. You get the sense that those in the know are also concerned that the Sun is not behaving within the AGW narrative.

    With all the attention that the Sun is getting from NASA these days, maybe co2 is the distraction to the coming reality, the New Maunder Minimum. I propose that we call it the Robert Minimum 🙂

  5. Great idea – but let’s limit the elimination of all CO2 and oxygen solely to the EPA headquarters, as an experiment.

    If (when) all the EPA administrators die due to a lack of these essential gases, then we know we should not eliminate them from the rest of the world.

    And, as a bonus, we get rid of the EPA people who are trying to kill the rest of us.

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