August 15, 2009

An update from Alan Carlin on global warming and the EPA

FROM-SF Environmental Policy Examiner

by Thomas Fuller

Alan Carlin, the EPA economist who cause a furor by disagreeing with the established global warming science and by detailing his objections in a memo that was studiously ignored by the powers that be at the EPA, was kind enough to update me on what's been happening with him recently:

Thank you for your interest. Here goes on my new assignment. My next post on my Website ( is probably going to concern questions concerning the reliability of the ground-based temperature measurements that you discussed in part on August 13.

Treatment/response so far
As a result of various modifications to my original Email instructions not to talk to anyone outside of my office (NCEE) on endangerment, the principal current tangible adverse effect on me at EPA has been a continuing prohibition against working on climate change or even attending seminars on it. (I was severely chastised on May 7 for attending and particularly for asking questions at an NCEE seminar which I had helped to organize that was presented by an AGW-supporter.) The previous prohibition has been revised to say that I can now talk to "news media" but not on EPA time.

But there is also an obvious lack of interest in what I wrote in my Comments. No one inside EPA has asked for any briefings, clarifications, or explanations. This makes me wonder if EPA really wants to seriously consider non-AGW hypotheses. As you have previously written, the primary public response by EPA has been similar to that of AGW proponents--to disparage my credentials. Apparently despite access to my personnel records they seem to have overlooked that I spent over seven years during which my primary responsibility was to supervise the production of "criteria documents" on a wide variety of pollutants. These reports were very similar in concept to the proposed 2009 endangerment Technical Support Document but very different in their implementation (they actually tried to review and synthesize all sides of every scientific issue concerning the pollutants studied). Over these years, I was involved in the production of 15-20 of these reports, including many produced by the National Academy of Sciences. These reports were almost exclusively oriented towards the physical and biological sciences. So I think I can reasonably say that I am probably one of the best qualified EPA employees in terms of ability to assess criteria-like documents such as the draft TSD since I not only know the science but I have also had extensive experience in developing such reports. Yet EPA and non-EPA AGW supporters have claimed that I an not a "scientist" and thus not "qualified" to discuss AGW science. In any case, virtually no one either in or outside EPA seems to want to discuss the principal issues in climate science, which I believe is so essential. The major exceptions (other than you) were Glenn Beck, who showed two of my charts comparing IPCC projected temperatures and increasing CO2 levels with actual global temperatures, and Christopher Booker in the London Telegraph who discussed the alternative natural solar and oceanic oscillations explanations I discussed in my Comments.

I thought Kimberly Strassel described the situation fairly accurately in her WSJ piece.

EPA has received a large number of Congressional and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests as a result of the publicity over my Comments. In some cases I have been asked to help respond to parts of them, which I have done. EPA took the stand that my Comments were my "personal" comments even though they were prepared in response to EPA deadlines, on EPA time, and as a direct result of participation in most endangerment work group meetings. I was therefore allowed to post the comments on my personal website (from which it was immediately picked up by Anthony Watts and others) but not on an EPA server. This, however, was quietly changed in early August when EPA posted my Comments on an EPA FOIA webpage due to high demand..

The response by news media outside of EPA has pretty well split along the usual ideological lines. Although there were articles by the NYTimes and CBSNews, most of the interest in the press was from what some may consider "conservative" media such as the Wall Street Journal, FoxNews and Glenn Beck, the London Telegraph, and various "conservative" columnists. Other more "liberal" media such as the Washington Post have ignored the whole thing.

I think it is obvious that I may not have a great future at EPA, but thus far there has been no "adverse action" (to use a civil service term) against me (although a reorganization is currently in the works). But the continuing prohibition against work on climate change does not make EPA a very attractive place for me to continue to work either."

I'll do another article soon on the materials presented on his website, but I thought readers might want to see a follow-up on yet another person who risked his job for what he believes is right.


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