The EPA Inspector General's report on EPA's Endangerment Finding review process, and some responses

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The EPA Inspector General's report, "Procedural Review of EPA's Greenhouse Gases Endangerment Finding Data Quality Processes," released today, is critical of how the agency handled the peer review of the science underpinning its December 2009 finding that heat-trapping emissions endanger public health and welfare. As the Union of Concerned Scientists noted in a statement on the report, EPA based its greenhouse gas Endangerment Finding on robust scientific analysis, and nothing in the report  questions the agency’s ability to move forward with GHG emissions rules. The Wall Street Journal's coverage concludes with: "The Inspector General notes that the National Research Council, one of the agencies that supplied the EPA with scientific data, recently said in a report that 'a strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems.' The EPA IG said in a statement on releasing the report: "EPA disagreed with our conclusions and did not agree to take any corrective actions in response to this report." Prof. Scott Mandia notes that "The EPA was correct in relying on the IPCC and NRC reports because these reports represent our current understanding of climate change science so they must be used to inform policy. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) suggests otherwise. His position is nonsensical and completely disrespects thousands of international experts and their fields of expertise."

Also see September 29 post: More on the EPA Inspector General’s report on the Endangerment Finding review process

Washington Post / Associated Press: Report: EPA cut corners on key scientific document supporting controls on greenhouse gases

On the EPA Office of Inspector General site:

"Procedural Review of EPA's Greenhouse Gases Endangerment Finding Data Quality Processes," dated September 26, 2011

Statement of Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins, Jr., on Greenhouse Gases Report

Union of Concerned Scientists statement: EPA Endangerment Finding Followed the Rules, Inspector General Finds

Shawn Lawrence Otto: EPA Inspector General Criticizes Greenhouse Gas Ruling Procedure

Prof. Scott Mandia: Senator James Inhofe’s Sneer-Reviewed Science

After an exhaustive review of peer-reviewed scientific studies included in the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports; four reports by the National Research Council (NRC), a division of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences; 20 federal studies; and the international Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, the EPA concluded:

“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.”

(See Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act for the details.)

The EPA was correct in relying on the IPCC and NRC reports because these reports represent our current understanding of climate change science so they must be used to inform policy.  Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) suggests otherwise.  His position is nonsensical and completely disrespects thousands of international experts and their fields of expertise.

Sen. James Inhofe statement: EPA IG Finds Serious Flaws in Centerpiece of Obama Global Warming Agenda

Wall Street Journal: EPA Criticized Over Greenhouse-Gas Findings

UCS: A Case Study in Scientific Integrity: The Science Behind Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards

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