The EPA has cleared the process for new coal-fired power plants by ruling invalid a requirement that greenhouse gases be considered pollutants. In otherwords, when an application for a license is under consideration, officials cannot require a new plant to regulate carbon dioxide.
Stephen L. Johnson, EPA administrator, attempting to clear up any confusion about "what can be considered a pollutant to be regulated," said:
"The current concerns over global climate change should not drive E.P.A. into adopting an unworkable policy of requiring emission controls” in these cases,...Environmental groups have argued that the current requirement to "monitor" carbon dioxide is the same as regulating emissions, and therefore, these emissions must be a part of the approval or disapproval of licenses. Johnson ruled that "simple monitoring" is not the same as "regulation."
Vickie Patton, deputy general counsel of the Environmental Defense Fund, estimated that as much as 8,000 megawatts of new coal-fired power plants could win swifter approval as a result of the ruling.Bruce Nilles, director of the Sierra Club's "anticoal campaign:"
There are a bunch that they are going to argue now don’t have to consider carbon dioxide, and which will be beyond the reach of the incoming Obama administration,...In the meantime, outside the panels and the courts, the battles still rage. This from Investors Business Daily:
If the issues weren't so serious and the ramifications so profound, I would have to laugh at it," said David Deming, a geology professor at the University of Oklahoma.Nevermind all that. The Obama administration's newly announced EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson is expected to be "grateful" for this latest EPA ruling. Jeff Homstead, a former EPA official says the ruling ensures the Obama administration has "increased freedom to make ts decisions on the status of carbon dioxide." After January 20th, we'll see just how fast Obama and Company can turn this around.
"The mean global temperature, at least measured by satellite, is the same as it was in the year 1980. In the last couple of years, sea level has stopped rising, hurricane and cyclone activity in the Northern Hemisphere is at a 24-year low and sea ice globally is also the same as it was in 1980."
Speaking of rising sea levels, is Al Gore smarter than a fourth-grader? James O'Brien, emeritus professor at Florida State University who studies climate variability and the oceans, thinks not. "When the Arctic Ocean ice melts, it never raises sea level because floating ice is floating ice, because it's displacing water," he points out.
"When the ice melts, sea level actually goes down. I call it a fourth-grade science experiment: Take a glass, put some ice in it, put water in it, mark level where water is. . . . After the ice melts, the sea level didn't go up in your glass of water. It's called the Archimedes principle."
Global temperatures stopped rising after 1998 and have plummeted in the last two years by more than 0.5 degrees Celsius. The 2007-08 temperature drop was not predicted by global climate models. It was predictable by a decline in sunspot activity since 2000 and by a cyclical ocean-current phenomenon known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.
On CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight" recently, Jay Lehr, a senior fellow and science director at the Heartland Institute, was asked by the host what he considered the dominant influence on Earth's climate.
"Well, clearly, Lou, it is the sun," Lehr answered, adding that "if we go back in really recorded human history; in the 13th century, we were probably seven degrees Fahrenheit warmer than we are now."
Lehr considers global cooling to be the real threat, part of a natural pattern as we continue coming out of a period known as the Little Ice Age. "If we go back to the Revolutionary War, 300 years ago," he said, "it was very, very cold. We've been warming out of that cold spell from the Revolutionary War period. And now we're back into a cooling cycle."
The Associated Press claims that the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since Bill Clinton's second inaugural. But after it was discovered that NASA's James Hansen, Gore's chief scientific ally, had been fudging the numbers, the agency was forced to correct its data. The 10 warmest years turn out to be, in descending order: 1934, 1998, 1921, 2006, 1931, 1999, 1953, 1990, 1938 and 1939.
If there's a trend there, we don't see it. So is global warming man-made and an imminent danger? As the snow falls in Vegas, don't bet on it.