Operating with bureaucratic stealth and maneuvering under the political radar last month, the Environmental Protection Agency released a report claiming that human beings are causing atmospheric temperatures to rise, that the magnitude of global warming will be in line with U.N. predictions and that rising temperatures will result in scorching heat waves, droughts, floods and ecosystem collapse. The report, titled The Climate Action Report 2002, contradicts Bush administration policy on global warming. However, radical enviro-bureaucrats buried deep within the EPA managed to slip it through as a mundane periodic report to the United Nations required by the Framework Convention on Climate Change, which former President George H.W. Bush signed at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.
These findings were contrary to the administration's position that the science of global warming is entirely too uncertain to know at this time how real global warming is and why, if it is real, it is occurring. The alarmist EPA report prompted a letter to the president from 32 highly respected organizations, ranging from the Competitive Enterprise Institute to the Science & Environmental Policy Project. The letter, which praised Bush's opposition to the Kyoto Treaty on Global Warming, called the report "a compilation and summary of junk science produced by the Clinton-Gore administration in order to support their Kyoto agenda."
The basis for this characterization of the report is the fact that crucial parts of it rely on an earlier discredited EPA report, The National Assessment (of the impact of climate change), which environmental radicals inside the Clinton-Gore administration concocted to scare the public into believing the dangers of global warming warrant energy-rationing policies. The National Assessment was subject to devastating criticism by the scientific community. For example, Dr. Patrick Michaels of the University of Virginia examined the temperature predictions of the two computer models used in the National Assessment and discovered that they were less accurate in predicting the temperature of the past century than a table of random numbers.
This kind of questionable science continued in the Climate Action Report 2002. One of the computer models used in the report predicts that the level of the Great Lakes could drop by 5 feet as the result of climate change, while the other computer model forecasts just the opposite: Great Lakes levels may rise by a foot. Most people wouldn't even plan a vacation based on these kinds of predictions, much less hobble the national economy for decades to come because a bunch of enviro-bureaucrats seem to have developed a heat fetish.
Confronted with the policy contradictions posed by the report, Bush dismissed it as just another mindless product of the bureaucracy that did not alter his opposition to the Kyoto Treaty. Unfortunately, his press spokesman, Ari Fleischer, was not content to let it rest there. The day after the president dismissed the report, Fleischer attempted to square it with previous presidential statements on global warming, which only invited environmental radicals on Capitol Hill to pose the question, "So, if the president agrees mankind is responsible for global warming, why isn't he doing anything about it?" What a fine mess you've got us into now, Ari.
The way out of the mess is to withdraw Climate Action Report 2002. Indeed, I would go two steps further. First, EPA Director Christie Todd Whitman says she didn't read the report, so she should fire whoever misled her into believing the report squared with administration policy. Second, I believe the president should instruct Undersecretary of State John Bolton to do with the Kyoto Treaty what he did recently to the Rome treaty creating the International Criminal Court, another unratified treaty bedeviling the administration and threatening to create havoc for American foreign policy. He should remove the signature of the United States from it. If the United States removes its signature from the treaty, it would allow us to proceed with the kind of well-conceived scientific research program on global warming envisioned by the president.