- - Sunday, July 12, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ENVIRONMENTALISM GONE MAD: HOW A SIERRA CLUB ACTIVIST AND SENIOR EPA ANALYST DISCOVERED A RADICAL GREEN ENERGY FANTASY

By Alan Carlin

Stairway Press. $27.95, 565 pages

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is apparently operating under the control of President Obama’s leftist ideology. There is little doubt about this as the president’s hand-picked Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Gina McCarthy, has basically told professional audiences that she is doing the bidding of her boss. What may surprise folks is that this is not inappropriate with respect to how the EPA was initially established by President Richard Nixon. Relative to the advancement of the country’s economic, environmental and public health, and the well-being of objective scientific practice itself, an ideology-driven EPA is quite inappropriate.

In his new book “Environmentalism Gone Mad: How a Sierra Club Activist and Senior EPA Analyst Discovered a Radical Green Energy Fantasy,” Alan Carlin explains that the EPA “reports directly to the president and thus has no independence from the executive branch like some regulatory agencies. This means that if an administration wants to use its power to determine regulations, it can impose exactly what it wishes to do subject only to the Congressional Review Act and Congress’ powers of appropriations, both of which have proved ineffective so far in preventing Obama from doing what he wants with regard to EPA.”

Mr. Carlin was at the EPA almost from its inception in 1970. He came from research work at the RAND Corp. in Santa Monica, Ca., to work with the EPA in Washington, D.C. from 1971 to 2010. In early 2009, after submitting serious negative comments on the EPA’s draft technical support document for the endangerment finding on the adverse effects of increasing levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases, Mr. Carlin had been maligned by the EPA powers-that-be for challenging the Obama administration’s poor economics and science represented in these findings. Yet, as an EPA senior analyst with an undergraduate degree in physics from Caltech bolstered by a doctorate in economics from MIT, Mr. Carlin surely knows his stuff.

He asserts that even if EPA’s current effort to control carbon-dioxide emissions are successful, “it will not change the climate or extreme weather in any measurable way even though Obama has proclaimed it will. It will simply increase the rates paid for less reliable energy, with lower-income Americans bearing most of the burden along with the slow recovery of the U.S. economy.”

Throughout his lengthy personal recounting in “Environmentalism Gone Mad” of the rise and fall of EPA adherence to science over politics, Mr. Carlin engages the reader with essential details. These include not only an insider’s perspective on the operation of the EPA but also numerous, specific and sensible short-term and long-term recommendations on how to “get out of this mess” — a mess largely brought about by the current administration’s adherence to radical leftist environmentalism. The need to consider reasonable costs versus benefits in air quality rules, as exemplified in the recent Supreme Court decision in Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency, is a move encouraged by Mr. Carlin.

Good economics and science require a broad perspective, yet when politics and financial control dominate the mix of viewpoints, the climate changes, and usually in an ominous way. Mr. Carlin expresses it in one of his long-term reform recommendations to reduce incentives for EPA managers to follow the administration: “Besides the normal bureaucratic controls, the pay of all EPA executives and senior analysts [is] directly determined by Congress and the president. This is unlikely to lead to independent action or thought by these crucial civil service employees. Yet independent analysis is desperately needed if EPA is to reflect good science and economics rather than science determined by their political masters.”

Without a doubt, “Environmentalism Gone Mad” is an important book that provides well-informed personal insight into the convoluted world of calamitous climate science promoted by what Mr. Carlin calls the “climate-industrial complex” or “CIC.” The CIC includes the science elites, mainstream media, environmental groups, leftist politicians and bureaucratic administrators, “green” energy and fuel producers and promoters, PR myth-makers (like those labeling knowledgeable skeptics as “deniers”), and others who profit financially, professionally and personally from foisting a future climate fantasy on a unwary public.

Mr. Carlin observes: “If governments simply stayed out of energy decisions not involving government-owned resources, urgent national security objectives, or actual proven pollution problems and let the markets decide how to meet energy needs, everyone except the CIC would be much better off, including the environment.”

Ratepayers and all taxpayers would do well to educate themselves on the inefficient, sometimes unscrupulous, and perhaps often counterproductive actions of those obstructing the goal of good, clean and affordable domestic energy. “Environmentalism Gone Mad” is a good first step in this essential education.

Anthony J. Sadar, a certified consulting meteorologist, is the author of “In Global Warming We Trust: A Heretic’s Guide to Climate Science” (Telescope Books, 2012).

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