Inside the National Center for Environmental Economics, analysts scurried to finish the vital technical support document to fulfill President Obama’s most draconian campaign pledge: “Implement an economywide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.”
The NCEE was ready to cement the case for the Environmental Protection Agency’s “endangerment finding,” the official declaration that carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels poses a threat to human health and welfare. Thousands of government careers, academic contracts, and Big Green grants hung in the balance, and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson needed to release it within days.
But senior research analyst Alan Carlin, Ph.D., a 38-year EPA veteran never known as an ideologue, submitted his unlikely critique that the agency’s case was full of predetermined, politically mandated, cherry-picked scientific garbage.
Carlin criticized as many details as possible in the four days before the finding’s release: EPA had relied on outdated research and ignored major new developments, including declines in global temperatures, projections that hurricanes won’t get worse, and findings that ocean cycles best explain temperature fluctuations.
“I did the reasonable thing,” said Carlin. “I applied the scientific method to every study used in EPA’s technical support document,” as you’d expect from a man with a physics degree from CalTech and a Ph.D. in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Alarmingly, he found more computerized guesswork and editing by advocates than observable results. Carlin urgently requested that his report be forwarded immediately to top decision makers.
The director refused. In an email to Carlin, he said, “The administrator and the administration has decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision.”
Imperiling his career, Carlin explained that he knew where his duty lay concerning scientific truth and the administration, and got these appalling replies: “I don’t want you to spend any additional EPA time on climate change,” and, “Do not have any direct communication with anyone outside of NCEE on endangerment. There should be no meetings, emails, written statements, phone calls etc.”
The message: Dr. Carlin, hush your mouth. EPA Administrator Jackson and President Obama have made up their minds. Don’t bother them with facts. And don’t you dare tell the American public. Hush!