Rep. Poe Falsely Claimed EPA Economist Is "A 35-Year Veteran Scientist"

July 09, 2009 11:07 am ET

In a floor speech on July 9, 2009, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) perpetuated the myth that the EPA suppressed a report produced by a "veteran scientist" named Alan Carlin.  But in reality, Carlin is an economist with no expertise in climate science, and his "report" was rejected because it was full of previously discredited, unoriginal research.

Rep. Poe: "A 35-Year Veteran Scientist At The EPA Issued A Report"

Rep. Poe: "Mr. Speaker, the most toxic atmosphere today is the political climate.  At the EPA, scientists are not allowed to disagree with the rabid dogma about climate change.  Recently, Alan Carlin, a 35-year veteran scientist at the EPA issued a report that challenged the theory of global warming." [Poe Floor Statement, 7/9/09]

Alan Carlin "Is Not A Scientist"

Climate Science "Outside His Area Of Expertise And Training." According to Grist magazine, "An EPA economist wanted to give scientific opinion, which wasn't accepted-most likely because it's outside his area of expertise and training. The dissenter, Alan Carlin, works as a research analyst in Washington at the EPA's National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE), which conducts a variety of economic analysis, including cost-benefit studies, risk assessment, and economic impact modeling. In short, it does number crunching, not scientific research.  Carlin's personal website, Carlin Economics, reports that he received a B.S. in physics and a Ph.D. in economics and joined the EPA in 1971. [...]  If Carlin wanted to comment on the scientific causes of climate change, there's little in his work experience or education to suggest it's within his expertise." [Grist, 6/26/09; emphasis added]

Carlin Admitted That "It's Not Normal" For EPA Employees To Conduct Research On Subjects Outside Their Area Of Expertise.  As reported by TPM Muckraker, "Asked whether it was common for EPA staffers to prepare reports on subjects outside the area for which they're officially responsible, Carlin allowed that 'it's not normal.'" [TPM Muckraker, 7/1/09]

Carlin's Report "Is A Hodgepodge Of Widely Discredited Pseudoscience"

NASA Climatologist: "What Solid Peer Reviewed Science Do They Cite For Support?" In an analysis of the report, NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt wrote, "what solid peer reviewed science do they cite for support? A heavily-criticised blog posting showing that there are bi-decadal periods in climate data and that this proves it was the sun wot done it. The work of an award-winning astrologer (one Theodor Landscheidt, who also thought that the rise of Hitler and Stalin were due to cosmic cycles), a classic Courtillot paper we've discussed before, the aforementioned FoS web page, another web page run by Doug Hoyt, a paper by Garth Paltridge reporting on artifacts in the NCEP reanalysis of water vapour that are in contradiction to every other reanalysis, direct observations and satellite data, a complete reprint of another un-peer reviewed paper by William Gray, a nonsense paper by Miskolczi etc. etc. I'm not quite sure how this is supposed to compete with the four rounds of international scientific and governmental review of the IPCC or the rounds of review of the CCSP reports." [, 6/26/09; emphasis added]

NASA Climatologist: "This Is Just Boneheadly Stupid."  In an analysis of the report, NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt wrote, "they end up with the oddest claim in the submission: That because human welfare has increased over the twentieth century at a time when CO2 was increasing, this somehow implies that no amount of CO2 increases can ever cause a danger to human society. This is just boneheadly stupid." He added, "So in summary, what we have is a ragbag collection of un-peer reviewed web pages, an unhealthy dose of sunstroke, a dash of astrology and more cherries than you can poke a cocktail stick at." [, 6/26/09; emphasis added]

Carlin's Report Was Rejected After Being Considered By EPA Scientists.  According to the Wonk Room, "In reality, what Fox News, Inhofe, and right-wing bloggers are promoting as a suppressed EPA report is nothing of the kind. Carlin's paper, released by the Competitive Enterprise Institute ('CO2: they call it pollution, we call it Life'), is a hodgepodge of widely discredited pseudoscience. Carlin was given permission by the NCEE to cobble the paper together even though he is not a climate researcher, and "the document he submitted was reviewed by his peers and agency scientists." [Wonk Room, 6/29/09]