Obama’s Hidden Climate Leverage

gina hillOver the past six months, President Barack Obama has cemented his climate legacy with the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan and the execution of the Paris climate agreement. But, as even he admits, neither of those policies will be enough to avert the worst effects of climate change. Fortunately for the president, there’s a new way for him to right the U.S.’ greenhouse gas trajectory before leaving office: Buried in the Clean Air Act is an extremely powerful mechanism that effectively gives EPA carte blanche to tell states to make drastic cuts to their emissions. –Brian Potts, Politico, 1 February 2016

Chief Justice John Roberts could decide on a motion to halt the Obama administration’s far-reaching climate rules as soon as this week, say lawyers familiar with the litigation. Two motions to stay Obama’s climate rules were sent to the Supreme Court last week, one from 29 states and another by dozens of utilities, large manufacturers and oil companies. The request to halt the rules came less than a week after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a stay request by the states and industry. Yet the court did expedite oral arguments on the merits of the plaintiffs’ separate lawsuits against the plan, which will move forward in June. –John Siciliano, Washington Examiner, 31 January 2016

In face of intense criticism from alarmist scientists, Dr. John Christy went to great lengths in a Tuesday congressional hearing to detail why satellite-derived temperatures are much more reliable indicators of warming than surface thermometers. “That’s where the real mass of the climate system exists in terms of the atmosphere,” Christy, a climate scientist at the University of Alabama and Alabama’s state climatologist, said in a Wednesday hearing before the House science committee. “When a theory contradicts the facts” you need to change the theory, Christy said. “The real world is not going along with rapid warming. The models need to go back to the drawing board.” –Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller News Foundation, 2 February 2016

This simple chart tells the story that the average model projection, on which their fears (or hopes?) are based, does poorly for the fundamental temperature metric that is allegedly the most responsive to extra greenhouse gases – the bulk atmospheric temperature of the layer from the surface to 50,000ft. The chart indicates that the theory of how climate changes occur, and the associated impact of extra greenhouse gases, is not understood well enough to even reproduce the past climate. Indeed, the models clearly overcook the atmosphere. The issue for congress here is that such demonstrably deficient model projections are being used to make policy. –John R. Christy, U.S. House Committee on Science, Space & Technology 2 Feb 2016

The Met Office says that “ten year global average warming rates are likely to return to late 20th century levels within the next two years.” I seriously doubt that. It would be unwise to use an El Nino-enhanced year as an end-point in temperature trend analysis. The Met Office also said there was a “pause”, but that it’s not a big deal in the long-term. The problem is that the “long-term” isn’t here yet. As I have said these are valuable predictions, but nature has a way of humbling even the best “state-of-the-art” predictions as the Met Office’s Vicky Pope discovered after her 2007 forecast for the next seven years. It was wrong by a country mile. –David Whitehouse, Global Warming Policy Forum, 3 February 2016

A new poll has surfaced showing once again the vast majority of Americans don’t rank global warming as the most serious issue facing the country. A YouGov poll of 18,000 people in 17 countries found only 9.2 percent of Americans rank global warming as their biggest concern. Only Saudi Arabians were less concerned about global warming at 5.7 percent. Despite a big PR push by President Barack Obama to tout his administration’s global warming agenda, most Americans have been unconvinced it’s the country’s most pressing issue. A Fox News poll from November found only 3 percent of Americans list global warming as their top concern. –Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller News Foundation, 1 February 2016