A new morning for the environment
Trump’s election bodes well for a more science-based EPA
As the memorable Ronald Reagan political ad announced, “It’s morning again in America.” Hopefully, following the election of Donald Trump, a bright new day will dawn for environmental protection in the United States.
One federal agency that needs immediate attention after the swearing in of President Trump is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Founded in 1970 under Republican President Richard Nixon, this powerful agency had an admirable goal to clean up the mess overtaking the nation’s air, water and land at that time. Since 1970, tremendous progress has been made on all major environmental fronts. In particular our air quality has improved 70 percent from reduction of major contaminants.
Today’s EPA is a far cry from the agency of the ’70s. As a candidate, Mr. Trump asserted the day before the historic election government should serve the nation, not the special interests. The EPA appears to be serving the environmentalists’ special interest. And arrogant activism apparently keeps rolling along at the highest levels of the EPA.
The head of the EPA, Gina McCarthy, seems to be on shaky ground when it comes to atmospheric science. Like many others, she must have faith in climatologists. Lucky for her, the largely academic and government-supported climate scientists bolster presuppositions about the climate. These presumptions are based on an ideology, which is apparently founded on an environmentalist universalism. Such religion is rooted in years of unrelenting indoctrination in the catechism that humans are destroying the planet by living comfortably off fossil fuels.
From what appears to be a superficial, faithbased knowledge of the climate change issue, the EPA’s Ms. McCarthy has recently said, “I’m not talking to climate deniers — that’s it.” Spoken like a true believer.
It is offensive to many of us secular, knowledgeable, practicing atmospheric scientists that the top EPA official spouts denigration and demands obeisance to ecological religion. With a Trump administration, perhaps we deplorable unbelievers will have some voice to provide perspective on the complex issue of climate change, its magnitude and reasonable mitigation.
Some climate facts are well established, such as the observation that man’s activity on the local and medium scales has affected climate. Cities that replaced vegetative areas with developments show measurable increases in temperature and other long-term changes to atmospheric dynamics when compared with the surrounding countryside. The latest issue of Physics Today focuses on some climate changes related to land-surface and land-management changes.
Weather patterns can change from humans’ untoward inputs to not only landscape changes but, to a minor extent, increased loading of particulate matter and volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere. However, since draconian measures to reduce “greenhouse gases” will lead to, at best, a small fraction of a degree decrease in global temperatures, it makes more sense to focus time and talent at the EPA on further reducing toxic pollutants that pose a real threat to public health. Healthful communities will result from the feds working diligently with job-growing industries to reasonably limit harmful emissions. Command-and-control strategies from the EPA do not enrich populations if the strategies drive out business and padlock factories.
People do have some substantial, limited impact on climate. But, how serious and to what extent are questions far from being answered in any “settled science” way.
Arrogant government elites, politicians and academic scientists must shut down quality challenges to their faith in themselves, and so the EPA must be more broad-minded, opening a big tent to legitimate, informed questions regarding the entrenched idea that the climate is controlled by paltry people pollution. Anthony J. Sadar is a certified consulting meteorologist and author of “In Global Warming We Trust: Too Big to Fail” (Stairway Press, 2016). Susan T. Cammarata is a practicing environmental and family lawyer.