A Free-Market Energy Blog

Back to Climate Science: Obama’s EPA ‘Endangerment’ Finding Under Legal Review (TPPF plays offense re the green greenhouse gas)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 4, 2017

“In its rush to regulate greenhouse gases in 2009, the Obama Administration missed an important step. It utterly failed to submit the greenhouse gas endangerment finding to the Science Advisory Board for peer review, as required by statute, and that violation is fatal to the endangerment finding.”

– Robert Henneke, director, Center for the American Future. Texas Public Policy Foundation Press Release. May 2, 2017

It is time to play offense. Legal issues aside, numerous lines of evidence have come together to strengthen the intellectual case that the increasing atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) is a net planetary benefit, or a positive externality in the jargon of economics.

This week, the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency challenging the EPA’s 2009 endangerment finding designating man-made greenhouse gas emissions as a danger to human health.

The stakes are high for reversing Obama-era activism in this area, as TPPF explained in its press release.

The 2009 finding paved the way for stringent federal carbon dioxide emissions standards and gave the EPA unprecedented regulatory power because carbon dioxide is everywhere.

“Because the most prevalent greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, a ubiquitous natural substance, the endangerment finding has been used by the EPA to begin regulating virtually every nook and cranny of the national economy,” said [TPPF senior attorney Ted] Hadzi-Antich. “A regulatory action of such magnitude must be taken soberly and, at the very least, in compliance with the law.”

“The EPA may reverse the prior administration’s decisions and interpretations of the statutes it administers, even where courts have upheld the previous policies,” said Ryan Walters, attorney for TPPF’s Center for the American Future. “This administrative petition provides a roadmap to restore the rule of law and sound science at EPA.”

Numerous posts at MasterResource have documented the positive side of CO2 emissions for greening Planet Earth. This is hardly controversial. The New York Times reported last month that a group of scientists

have discovered that  in the last century, plants have been growing at a rate far faster than at any other time in the last 54,000 years. Writing in the journal Nature, they report that plants are converting 31 percent more carbon dioxide into organic matter than they were before the Industrial Revolution. The increase is because of the carbon dioxide that humans are putting into the atmosphere, which fertilizes the plants, Dr. Campbell said.

And also in the Times’s article, “A Global Greening“:

“It’s tempting to think of photosynthesis at the scale of the entire planet as too large to be influenced by human actions,” said Christopher B. Field, the director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, who was not involved in the study. “But the story here is clear. This study is a real tour de force.”

In the endangerment rethink, keep an eye on the exciting reports from the CO2 Coalition. And for background, read about the “miracle molecule” CO2, as Vijay Jayaraj has explained. Consider that benefits may exceed costs by 50 times, as posited by Roger Bezdek and Paul Driessen.

And how about 55 positive externalities from CO2 as documented by carbon dioxide researchers Drs. Sherwood Idso and Craig Idso in The Many Benefits of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment?

Needless to say, the petition to EPA from TPPF is intellectually ripe in a new political era.


  1. Ed Reid  

    EPA issued the Endangerment Finding regarding greenhouse gases in December, 2009. The CAA states that EPA was then required set an NAAQS for CO2 as well as the other listed greenhouse gases.

    Seven years seems to be a long time to wait for the required NAAQS, even acknowledging the difficulties invoved in writing an NAAQS for a “globally well mixed trace gas”.


  2. Dr Norman Page  

    CO2 has little effect on temperature – there is no empirical basis for the endangerment finding.
    Climate is controlled by natural cycles. Earth is just past the 2004+/- peak of a millennial cycle and the current cooling trend will likely continue until the next Little Ice Age minimum at about 2650.See the Energy and Environment paper at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0958305X16686488
    and an earlier accessible blog version at http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-coming-cooling-usefully-accurate_17.html

    Here is an exchange I had with Freeman Dyson two years ago.
    E-mail 4/7/15
    Dr Norman Page
    Professor Dyson
    Saw your Vancouver Sun interview.
    I agree that CO2 is beneficial. This will be even more so in future because it is more likely than not that the earth has already entered a long term cooling trend following the recent temperature peak in the quasi-millennial solar driven periodicity….
    Best Regards Norman Page

    E-Mail 4/9/15
    Dear Norman Page,
    Thank you for your message and for the blog. That all makes sense. I wish I knew how to get important people to listen to you. But there is not much that I can do. I have zero credibility as an expert on climate. I am just a theoretical physicist, 91 years old and obviously out of touch with the real world. I do what I can, writing reviews and giving talks,
    but important people are not listening to me. They will listen when the glaciers start growing in Kentucky, but I will not be around then. With all good wishes, yours ever, Freeman Dyson.

    The quality of the UK, and USA science on climate since 2000 has been appallingly low. It is time to close down the entire UNFCCC Agenda 21 circus. Let me know if I can help in reversing the endangerment finding. Best Regards Norman Page


    • Jon Boone  

      Thanks for sharing this sidebar exchange with the polymath Freeman Dyson who, along with Richard Feynman and a few other physicists, greatly expanded recent scientific knowledge. Dyson’s work in QED and mathematics alone ranks him as a giant in the field of cosmology. His skepticism over a range of epistemic claims, including those from climate modeling, is without peer. Stephen Weinberg once said, “I have the sense that when consensus is forming like ice hardening on a lake, Dyson will do his best to chip at the ice.”

      My favorite Dyson commentary is his take on the importance of failure:

      “You can’t possibly get a good technology going without an enormous number of failures. It’s a universal rule. If you look at bicycles, there were thousands of weird models built and tried before they found the one that really worked. You could never design a bicycle theoretically. Even now, after we’ve been building them for 100 years, it’s very difficult to understand just why a bicycle works – it’s even difficult to formulate it as a mathematical problem. But just by trial and error, we found out how to do it, and the error was essential.”


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