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EPA's Texas Power Grab

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Editor's note: This column was co-authored by Willie Soon.

Any Texas granddaddy will tell you he’s seen it all, when it comes to weather and climate extremes. Tornadoes, hurricanes, heat waves, blizzards, droughts, flash floods, and storms that bring unique combinations of wind, dust, thunder and hail.

Any Lone Star citizen will point out that Texas is America’s leading producer of crude oil, natural gas and (heavily subsidized) wind-based energy. It has the second largest workforce and gross state product in the USA, produces more electricity than any other state, and refines one-fourth of our petroleum – for a country that is 85% dependent on fossil fuels.

Mess with Texas, and the damages will reverberate throughout our nation.

So why is the US Environmental Protection Agency sending federal agents to Texas – to arrest the state’s economy for the “crime” of emitting carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4)? Texas is also challenging EPA over other arbitrary new air pollution standards, but that’s another article.

Cowboys and cowgirls recognize CO2 as the plant-fertilizing “gas of life” and CH4 as natural gas and cow farts. Scientists will tell you carbon dioxide is 0.0387% of Earth’s atmosphere and methane is 0.000179 percent. Anyone with an eighth grade economics education or ounce of common sense knows CO2 is what results when CH4 heats homes, generates electricity, fuels cars and factories, and makes our health, welfare and living standards possible.

But EPA says they are “greenhouse gases” that cause “runaway global warming.” So the ideologues who run this agency are telling Texas to start regulating its power plants and refineries into bankruptcy or oblivion – or EPA goons will take over its air quality programs and economy.

Since few cowboys and cowgirls – or even college grads or most PhDs – are experts on “greenhouse” gases and radiation physics, let’s take a quick look at what’s behind these EPA claims.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says her agency’s actions will “protect human health and welfare” and “ensure environmental justice,” which are “threatened” by rising temperatures and “global climate disruption.” Let EPA regulate these evil greenhouse gases, she promises, and the climate will remain “stable” and average global temperatures will never be more than 2 degrees higher than now. Bunk.

Ms. Jackson willfully ignores the immense harm that driving up energy prices will have on jobs, state revenues, people’s health and welfare, and even human lives. But her views are supported by scientists like Dr. Richard Alley, Michael Mann’s colleague at Pennsylvania State University, all handsomely paid by EPA and other federal agencies for raising alarms about global warming.

Alley was recently extolled in the New York Times (which no real, red-blooded Texans reads) as a “major voice of climate science.” He says that under a true worst-case scenario of doubling the concentration of CO2 and methane, our planet will fry due to 18 to 20 degrees F of global warming.

This much gas of life and cow farts, the great professor insists, would result in “an addition of heat so radical that it would render the planet unrecognizable to its present-day inhabitants.” He bases this horrifying prediction on computer models that assume human CO2 and CH4 control our climate – not the sun and dozens of powerful, complex, interacting natural forces.

The fact is, mankind has been emitting gas of life and cow farts since time immemorial. However, according to MIT’s Dr. Richard Lindzen, we are still only 80% of the way toward doubling the greenhouse gas levels found in our atmosphere at the start of the Industrial Revolution (0.0280%). But taking Dr. Alley’s computer models and doomsday predictions at their word, 80% of the way should mean temperatures in the great state of Texas should have warmed some 14 to 16 degrees between 1860 and 2010.

Hooo-weee … is that HOT, or what?

Something doesn’t seem quite right here. National Climate Data Center studies show Texas’ annual mean temperature fluctuates from year to year – but has generally been 65 to 71 degrees F, from 1895 through 2010. (We don’t have reliable data before 1895.) From the rear view of flatulent Texas longhorns, that’s a change of just 6 degrees, up or down, with no two years of identical weather, for 116 years!

Where in tarnation are those extra 10 to 12 degrees of warming that Professor Alley (in his generous spirit of “worst-case scenarios”) assures us are happening? Did the Grinch steal them? Or are those missing degrees just lurking out there, waiting to surprise us the instant CO2 levels hit 560 ppm (0.0560% of the atmosphere)? Does nature actually work that way: no response, no response – then, bam!?!? Disaster!

He and Professor Mann and Penn State sure did get a lot of millions from us taxpayers, to cook up all these disaster scenarios. So there must be something to them. (One of their buddies got a pile of taxpayer cash for saying dinosaur farts “may have contributed to global warming” 70 million years ago!)

But farmers and ranchers in Texas just cannot find that missing “heat” in their cows or plants or wild grasses. No one can find that “heat” in hurricane, tornado, hail or dust storm records, either. In fact, NOAA tells us, strong tornadoes, among top-three ranks in wind and damage scales, have been occurring less and less since record intensities during 1950s and 1960s.

That’s just the opposite of what the good professor, his sidekick Al Gore and their Climate Doomsday Gang say will happen. But isn’t that good news for Texas?

In fact, using their logic, we could argue that, since CO2 has been rising while tornado intensity is falling, maybe we should increase carbon dioxide even more, to eventually turn tornadoes into dust devils. Or say decreasing CO2 emissions could cause stronger tornadoes and damage to ramp up again.

Somehow, we don’t think carbon dioxide or methane has quite this power. We suspect there are a lot of other, far stronger, natural forces at work – causing all kinds of cyclical climate patterns. Ms. Jackson and Dr. Alley’s computer-created monsters might have a role in Frankenstein, raptor and blood-lusting alien movies. They should play no role in dictating Texas energy use and economic decisions.

So now the alarmists from the Climate Doomsday Gang have a new scare. Global warming from rising CO2 is going to cause more vector-borne diseases like malaria, dengue fever and West Nile Virus. Are you a-trembling in your bull-doodoo -covered boots now?

If Texas didn’t have decent history books in its classrooms, you might actually buy this scary story. But as those books show, malaria was eradicated in Texas and the USA during the 1950s, thanks to DDT, window screens and medical advances – not because the state’s climate got too cold or dry for anopheles mosquitoes.

Moreover, from 1980 to 1999 there were 62,514 cases of dengue fever (from mosquito bites) in northeastern Mexico. Meanwhile, just across the border, only 64 cases of dengue were counted in Texas. The disparate disease rates are clearly not due to the climate, but to differences in housing, medical care, wealth and technology.

The alarmists need to get their computer models, scenarios, scare stories and climate cops out of Texas. If they don’t, Governor Perry and his Texas Rangers should arrest them for violating Lone Star rights to energy, jobs, health and the American Dream.

Willie Soon is an independent climate scientist and solar physicist.

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