If melting glaciers, rising oceans, and stranded polar bears weren’t scary enough to make you sick, the Obama EPA’s war on all things fossil has upped the alarm ante to link global warming to asthma.
An internal 2009 EPA memo recently obtained by Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute through the Freedom of Information Act urges that since most Americans will never see such climate change “mascots” as a polar ice cap or a polar bear in its natural habitat, a message shift to “our neighbor with respiratory illness” will potentially “bring this issue home.”
Not missing a beat, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has trumpeted the new strategic theme. Last June, pitching the White House Climate Action Plan to cut power plant CO2 emissions by 30 percent over 2005 levels by 2030, she said: “for the sake of our families’ health and kids’ future, we have a moral obligation to act on climate . . . This is not just about disappearing polar bears or melting ice caps. This is about protecting our health and our homes.”
She went on to add: “As a bonus, in 2030 we’ll cut pollution that causes smog and soot 25 percent more than if we didn’t have this plan in place. The first year these standards go into effect, we’ll avoid up to 100,000 asthma attacks and 2,100 heart attacks — and those numbers go up from there.”
Attempting to connect the dots here, the idea is that CO2 emissions produce global warming, which increases ozone smog, which in turn causes asthma. Accordingly, President Obama has argued that global warming “can induce greater incidents of asthma or more severe incidents of asthma.”
He attributed his daughter Malia’s early childhood asthma attack to such a trend during an April CNN discussion, stating that “all of our families are going to be vulnerable [to global warming-induced health risks] . . . you can’t cordon yourself off from air or from climate.”
A white House fact sheet correlates a doubling of U.S. asthma rates over the past 30 years with “climate change [which] is putting these individuals [like Malia] and many other vulnerable populations at greater risk of landing in the hospital.”
If so, however, there is good cause to wonder how this claim jibes with the fact that satellite records indicate there has been no statistically significant global warming over more than half of that period — the past 18 years and counting.
Malia has never witnessed global warming in her lifetime. Also consider that asthma-related hospital admissions are actually lower in summer than in winter.
At the same time, EPA’s caution that “outdoor air pollution and pollen may also worsen chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma” raises another issue; namely, that smog-forming emissions and ozone levels have been declining, decade-by-decade since the 1970s.
Even EPA has reported that smog levels have dropped 33 percent since 1980, and that air quality has been improving with a 62 percent decrease of aggregate common pollutant emissions between 1980 and 2013.
Whereas the EPA's McCarthy argued she was “following the science” to “protect those most at-risk — our children, our elderly, and people already suffering from lung diseases like asthma,” a John Hopkins Children’s Center study of over 23,000 U.S. children found no statistically significant difference in asthma rates between those who live in inner-city neighborhoods (and are thus subject to higher outdoor pollution levels) and those who do not.
A separate study published by William Adams at the University of Davis California Human Performance Laboratory Exercise Biology Program found no statistically significant difference in lung function in humans exposed to ozone at 80 ppb (5 ppb above the current standard) or 60 ppb (the low end of the EPA’s proposed new standard).
Dr. Adams notes that while EPA performed an unpublished “reanalysis” of his data which determined that there was a significant difference in lung function at 60 ppb, “EPA has misinterpreted the statistics contained in my published, peer-reviewed paper.”
Joseph Perrone at the Center for Accountability of Science observes that EPA has used asthma-premised outdoor “clean air” arguments as a pretext to expand its regulatory authority since the 1970s. His article posted in The Hill argues that while he doesn’t doubt that air pollution contributes to asthma, it’s “indoor air pollution – think second hand smoke, mold, etc. – that may be the main culprit.”
Responding to relentless EPA expansion of ever-stricter regulations, Perrone concludes that if the agency is truly interested in “following the science” it would put more emphasis upon addressing real public health threats rather than imposing costly rules based upon dubious assumptions that only make us economically poorer and sicker.
And besides, by all scientific accounts those polar bears are doing just fine without them also.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of “Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom”(2015) and “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax” (2012). Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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