Alabama’s State Climatologist becomes EPA’s worst nightmare
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Alabama’s State Climatologist this week urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to readdress the physical science behind its Clean Power Plan, which assumes that carbon dioxide emissions are the driving force behind variations in the Earth’s climate.
Dr. John Christy is a climate scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and has been Alabama’s State Climatologist since 2000.
“I build data sets from scratch to answer questions about climate variability and to test assertions people make about climate change,” he said during testimony before the U.S. Senate. “That’s really what the scientific method is all about.”
It is that commitment to starting “from scratch” without a predetermined outcome that has made him a particularly bothersome thorn in the EPA’s side in recent years.
While Christy does not deny that the Earth’s climate is changing, he vehemently rejects the assumptions at the core of the EPA’s growing list of environmental regulations.
In recent comments submitted to the agency, Christy pointed out that “the (climate change) models do not yet have the ability to discern ‘why’ a climate variation may have occurred simply because they cannot even reproduce ‘what’ has occurred.”
This is summed up in the chart below, which Christy submitted to the EPA along with his comments. The black line in the middle of the chart is the average temperature increase that all of the global warming models projected over the last several decades. The green circles and blue squares at the bottom are the climate variations that actually occurred.
“We should have little confidence that the future will play out as the models suggest,” Christy said of the global warming projections frequently cited by the Obama Administration and in the media. “The EPA cannot conclude it knows ‘why’ the climate system changes and thus cannot assert it will control ‘what’ the climate will do.”
In its Clean Power Plan, the EPA is pushing for a 750 million metric ton reduction in CO2 emissions, which it seeks to achieve in large part through regulations on existing power plants, especially coal-fired plants.
A study released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce earlier this year predicts the environmental mandates in the plan will cost the United States more than 220,000 jobs over the next several years.
According to the study, the proposed regulations will have a disproportionate impact on southern states, where energy costs would jump by $6.6 billion per year over the next decade-and-a-half. The “East-South-Central” region of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky would see its GDP shrink by an estimated $2.2 billion and would lose 21,400 jobs as a result of the plan.
And the effects are already being felt in the Yellowhammer State.
Alabama Power announced in August that the mandates were forcing them to close two of the state’s coal-fired units and transition two others from coal to natural gas, resulting in a reduction in workforce that the company hoped to avoid by transferring employees to other locations. Alabama consumers’ power bills will also increase by an average of $6.78 per month next year, which members of the Alabama Public Service Commission said can be directly attributed to the billions of dollars Alabama Power has spent to comply with the EPA’s increasingly-stringent regulations.
As energy producers around the country gear up for the implementation of the EPA’s plan, Dr. Christy is pushing the agency to “step back and re-examine the fundamental basis” for its climate policies.
“The EPA should constitute a (team) of analysts, independent from the climate modeling industry, to judge the current state of knowledge,” he said. “Such an examination would provide transparency to the process and give confidence to the public that the agency values open examination of its methodology.”
Like this article? Follow me on Twitter and let me know what you think.
— Cliff Sims (@Cliff_Sims) December 3, 2014