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Policy Tip Sheet: EPA's Endangerment Finding

December 1, 2017

A New Heartland Policy Tip Sheet Examining EPA's Endangerment Finding

Problem

In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a flawed finding under the Clean Air Act that carbon dioxide emissions threaten public health and welfare, known as the endangerment finding.

The endangerment finding relied on three lines of evidence: (1) basic physical understanding of effects of changing concentrations of greenhouse gases; (2) indirect, historical estimates of past climate that suggest recent temperature changes are unusual; and (3) computer-based climate models which project future climate changes. However, observed evidence and research has cast serious doubt on all three lines
of evidence.

Estimates of climate sensitivity to increased concentrations of carbon dioxide appearing in the scientific literature since 2009 have fallen steadily below the estimates used by EPA, contradicting the first line of evidence.

Research has shown that recent changes in temperatures, sea level rise, and the frequency of extreme weather events are not unusual in the historic and geophysical record, contradicting the second line of evidence.

The climate models relied upon by EPA have forecast twice as\ much warming as has been reported by satellite, balloon, and even unadjusted surface monitors, contradicting the third line of evidence.

Policy Solution

President Trump and members of his administration have consistently stated that regulation of carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act is unnecessary, ineffective and economically destructive.

So long as the endangerment finding remains in place, efforts to roll back unnecessary environmental regulations adopted in the name of fighting global warming will likely fail. EPA should reopen and review the endangerment finding, and Congress should pass legislation banning the regulation and taxation of carbon dioxide as being against the public good.

Policy Message

Point 1: EPA’s endangerment finding, that carbon dioxide emissions threaten public health and welfare, is flawed.

Point 2: Observed evidence and research has cast doubt on all three lines of evidence the endangerment finding relies on.

Point 3: Research estimates of climate sensitivity to increased concentrations of carbon dioxide since 2009 have fallen steadily below EPA’s own estimates.

Point 4: Recent changes in temperatures, sea levels, and extreme weather events are not unusual or unprecedented.

Point 5: EPA climate models have forecast twice as much warming as has been actually observed.

Point 6: The endangerment finding should be reopened and reviewed, and congressional legislation should be passed banning the regulation and taxation of carbon dioxide.

References

Dennis Avery, “EPA Endangerment Finding Endangers USA,” The Heartland Institute, October 3, 2017:
https://www.heartland.org/news-opinion/news/epa-endangerme
nt-finding-endangers-usa

James P. Wallace III, et al, On the Validity of NOAA, NASA and Hadley GRU Global Average Surface Temperature Data & the Validity of EPA’s CO2 Endangerment Finding, June 2017,
https://www.heartland.org/_template-assets/documents/publicat
ions/ef-gast-data-research-report-062717.pdf

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For more information, contact The Heartland Institute at 312/377-4000 or by email at think@heartland.org, or visit our website at www.heartland.org.

Author
Bette Grande is a research fellow for energy and pension issues at The Heartland Institute. Prior to coming to Heartland, she served as a North Dakota state representative from 1996–2014, representing the 41st district.
governmentrelations@heartland.org @BetteGrande