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CEI Report: EPA Using Flawed Models as Basis for Regulating Carbon Dioxide

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EPA should reopen, and then withdraw the 2009 Endangerment Finding

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) today released a new report demonstrating that the EPA’s 2009 Endangerment Finding, which allows the agency to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, is marred by poor scientific practice and based on computer models that are systematically flawed.

Co-authored by CEI Senior Fellow Patrick J. Michaels and Heritage Principal Statistician, Data Scientist, and Research Fellow Kevin Dayaratna, “The Scientific Case for Vacating the EPA’s Carbon Dioxide Endangerment Finding” argues that while carbon dioxide is the principal contributor to human-induced climate change, the fatal flaws identified in the EPA report should lead the agency to reopen and withdraw the Endangerment Finding.

“The EPA did not follow best scientific practices in determining either the trajectory of the climate in the future or the cost of current or future carbon dioxide emissions,” said Michaels, the former state climatologist for Virginia who served as research professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia for 30 years. “Both the Endangerment Finding and the support document on which it was established are based on systematically flawed models. EPA should vacate the Endangerment Finding, which is the ultimate #NeverNeeded regulation.”

“The social cost of carbon estimates vary wildly depending on what assumptions are used to calculate it, and, in the past, lawmakers have deliberately beefed up these assumptions to justify heavy-handed policies that increase energy prices and impose unneeded government restrictions,” said Dayaratna.

Under the previous administration, the EPA further justified its interventionist policies by using exaggerated figures known as the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC). SCC is a monetary estimate of the damages supposedly caused by an incremental ton of carbon dioxide (CO2), emitted in a given year. The report shows the SCC is highly dependent on a series of assumptions, which the Obama administration manipulated in order to generate dire estimates. Using more realistic assumptions, Michaels and Dayaratna calculate SCC to be negative – meaning a net benefit – far into this century.

“New research compares observations to what is forecast and finds that warming in this century will be modest – near the lowest extreme of the range given by the United Nations,” said Michaels. “Getting rid of the 2009 Endangerment Finding would help our energy sector bounce back immediately.”

> Read the full report, The Scientific Case for Vacating the EPA’s Carbon Dioxide Endangerment Finding

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