Federal Court Deals Blow to Climate Alarmists

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Richard Morrison, 202.331.2273



Washington, D.C., July 15, 2005—In a key decision for the future of national energy policy, a federal court upheld the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Environmental Protection Agency’s refusal to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant. The Federal District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit concluded that, even if the EPA possesses the authority to regulate carbon dioxide (an issue the Court did not attempt to resolve), EPA acted within its legal discretion in declining to regulate carbon dioxide.


“This is a great victory for American consumers, who do not have to worry that EPA, under the pretext of unscientific climate alarmism, will force automakers to downsize the average vehicle or make costly modifications pricing larger, safer cars out of their reach,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis, Jr.  


The D.C. Circuit’s opinion held that there is “there is considerable uncertainty in current understanding of how the climate system varies naturally and reacts to emissions of greenhouse gases.”


“Not only did the Court confirm that the uncertainties and unsettled nature of global warming science, but, more importantly, ruled against the common abuse of the 2001 climate report by the National Research Council, the so-called National Academies' report,” said Cooler Heads Coalition Counsel and CEI Senior Fellow Christopher C. Horner.


The report (officially entitled National Research Council, Climate Change Science: Some of the Key Questions) is still regularly invoked to make absurd claims, such as a media assertion at the time of its release that it constituted “a unanimous decision that global warming is real, is getting worse, and is due to man. There is no wiggle room.” More recently, the document's findings were distorted in the failed efforts to pass Senate legislation regulating greenhouse gases.  “The majority actually read the report, and disagreed,” said Horner.


CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.