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EDITORIAL: Court decrees global warming

Judge stipulates what science has failed to prove

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The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington ruled June 26 that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was "unambiguously correct" in applying the Clean Air Act to combat carbon dioxide. The court deferred to the scientific judgment of EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson in the agency's endangerment finding that this gas, which is produced by all humans, becomes harmful to human health when it is a byproduct of man-made technological advances such as automobiles.

The Coalition for Responsible Regulation, composed of industry organizations and several states, sued the EPA, arguing that the agency relied on flimsy science to justify imposing heavy air-quality regulations that damage economic growth. The federal judges reviewing the case didn't care. "This is how science works," read the opinion. "EPA is not required to re-prove the existence of the atom every time it approaches a scientific question." In other words, the court accepted the EPA-approved notion that global warming is "settled science" and any further consideration is unnecessary.

True science is never settled. As a systematic process of inquiry, it relentlessly searches for a better explanation for an observed phenomenon. When new information invalidates a previously held belief, a fresh hypothesis replaces the discredited one.

The global warming theory argues that combustion of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide, which traps the sun's rays in an atmospheric greenhouse effect. Unless we trade in our motorcars for bicycles, they argue, rising temperatures will cripple the planet's ecosystem. If this frightening tale were true, there would be a clear correlation between increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and rising temperatures. However, while carbon dioxide levels have increased steadily with the advent of the industrial age, global temperatures haven't risen in concert. Rather, they have fluctuated, failing to demonstrate a cause-effect relationship. The science is hardly settled.

In many respects, the appellate court's hands were tied by the Supreme Court, which in 2007 ruled in Massachusetts v. EPA that the agency was authorized to regulate carbon dioxide, an essential building block of life, as a "pollutant." The high court majority bought into the sensationalism surrounding the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that human activity was warming the Earth and immediate action was necessary to avoid environmental catastrophe. It was only later, in 2009, when climategate broke, revealing that climatologists subverted the scientific process by attempting to hide data that undermined their predictions of rising temperatures.

Since then, a growing body of climate scientists has challenged the warmist model, asserting that climate isn't determined simply by atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Fossil fuels have done more to provide power, mobility, health and well-being than any other advance aside from, perhaps, the wheel and the discovery of fire. It's not something that should be thrown away based on the mythical, anti-scientific proclamations of a cadre of politically motivated bureaucrats. Americans shouldn't be content to give the EPA the last word on climate science.\

The Washington Times

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