The EPA’s far-right cause celebre

THE EPA’S FAR-RIGHT CAUSE CELEBRE…. The conservative Washington Times ran a piece today on one of the right’s new favorite subjects.

Republican lawmakers, coming off a loss Friday in their attempt to block passage of a massive climate bill, have seized on a global warming memo they say was suppressed by the Obama administration.

The memo, drafted by two environmental economists, is highly critical of the science behind an Environmental Protection Agency memo that found carbon dioxide to be a greenhouse gas.

Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Sen. John Barrasso, Wyoming Republican, said the memo shows that the EPA did not have accurate information when it completed its finding.

In their letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson yesterday, Inhofe and Barrasso claim to “have learned” that a “senior EPA official suppressed” a “rigorous account” of “the most up-to-date science of climate change.”

Last night, Fox News picked up on the same argument, insisting that the EPA “suppressed” a “report” that contradicted the standard scientific consensus on climate change.

I know we covered this the other day, but it’s probably best to keep setting the record straight before bogus claims gain traction.

At issue is a “memo” put together by Alan Carlin, who works at the EPA as an economist, not a climate scientist. He happens to believe the planet may be getting cooler, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

Did Carlin prepare a “report” on climate change? No. In his spare time, he put together an argument against global warming, which wasn’t requested by anyone at the agency. His argument stems from his personal hobby.

Was Carlin’s memo “suppressed”? No. The EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics allowed him to put together his memo, and it was reviewed by agency scientists.

Was Carlin’s memo any good? No. I’ve seen it described this week as “a hodgepodge of widely discredited pseudoscience,” and “a ragbag collection of un-peer reviewed web pages, an unhealthy dose of sunstroke, a dash of astrology and more cherries than you can poke a cocktail stick at.”

Zachary Roth spoke to Carlin, and the economist conceded that his “studies” were not “specifically commissioned by the EPA,” and they’ve been published, but “not all in academic journals.”

I don’t imagine Inhofe or Fox News will find these details important, but it’s something to keep in mind if the “story” starts to get wider play.