Watts Up With That? 
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
All is not well in CO2 regulation land. You may have heard about a leaked memo from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that questions the EPA findings on CO2 being a “threat to human health”. BTW there is still time to lodge your comments (as is your right as a US citizen) on this finding, details here .
The leaked internal memo, was marked “Attorney Client Privilege”.
It has some strong language about the negative impact EPA regulation of CO2 would have on the U.S. economy.
“Making the decision to regulate CO2…is likely to have serious economic consequences for regulated entities throughout the U.S. economy, including small businesses and small communities,”
But there is more than that. The Hill  (a political blog) say the memo indicates that the burden of proof of CO2 as harmful isn’t there: (emphasis mine)
An EPA finding last month that greenhouse gases are a danger to public health rests on dubious assumptions and could have negative economic impacts, a memo from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) warned.
The memo has no listed author but is marked “Deliberative–Attorney Client Privilege.” A spokesman for OMB told Dow Jones Newswires that the brief is a “conglomeration of counsel we’ve received from various agencies” about the EPA finding, the conclusions of which would trigger regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
The author(s) of the memo suggest the EPA did not thoroughly examine the relationship between greenhouse gases and human health.
“In the absence of a strong statement of the standards being applied in this decision, there is concern that EPA is making a finding based on…’harm’ from substances that have no demonstrated direct health effects,” the memo says, adding that the “scientific data that purports to conclusively establish” that link was from outside EPA.
But here is the real kicker.
There’s language in the memo that says there may be beneficial effects to increased CO2 rather than negative effects, and that man, as always, can quickly adapt:
“To the extent that climate change alters out environment, it will create incentives for innovation and adaption that mitigate the damages,” the memo reads. “The [EPA finding] should note this possibility[.] … It might be reasonable to conclude that Alaska will benefit from warmer winters for both health and economic reasons,” the authors note.
According to The Hill :
At a Senate hearing [yesterday], Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) grilled EPA administrator Lisa Jackson about the memo.
“This is a smoking gun,” Barrasso said, accusing the EPA of making the finding for political reasons.
Jackson responded that the finding was based on science and was in no way politicized.