Don't Believe Anything The EPA Says Unless It is Under Oath

That is the only conclusion I can reach based on this story on the Center for Biological Diversity challenging the EPA over ocean acidification.

In all of the EPA's public relations and political documents, its position is that man-made CO2 is causing ocean acidification  (higher levels of atmospheric CO2 causes more CO2 to get dissolved in ocean water which lowers the PH).  One can find thousands of examples but here is just one, from their web site.  This is a public briefing paper by the EPA on the general topic of ocean acidity.  Here is a screenshot of the top of the first page:

click to enlarge

Lets read that first bullet point in the purple section labelled "key points".  It says

  • Measurements made over the last few decades have demonstrated that ocean carbon dioxide levels have risen in response to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, leading to an increase in acidity (that is, a decrease in pH) (see Figure 1)

This is a typical man-is-screwing-up-the-climate EPA statement made to affect government opinion.  It sounds official.  If I were to publicly challenge it, they would likely label me as anti-science.

The enlightening part of our story occurs when the Center for Biological Diversity took the EPA at their fear-mongering word and said, "well, then you should have an endangerment finding on the Pacific Ocean."

The Lawsuit, launched by the Center for Biological Diversity, seeks to impose enhanced clean water act protection upon the Pacific Coast. The suit argues that protection is necessary because, according to the EPA’s own climate narrative, ocean acidification is severely damaging the marine ecosystem.

According to the CBD;

“The CBD points out that the EPA has acknowledged that ocean acidification has killed billions of oyster larvae in the Pacific Northwest but still would not classify the waters as imperilled.”

The EPA had dozens of references to acidification in its endangerment findings, such as this example: (p. 137)

According to the IPCC, climate change (very high confidence) and ocean acidification (see Box 14.1) due to the direct effects of elevated CO2 concentrations (medium confidence) will impair a wide range of planktonic and other marine organisms that use aragonite to make their shells or skeletons (Fischlin et al., 2007).

So now the EPA is in court and supposedly subject to perjury charges.  And wham, their story changes in a flash:

The EPA’s response is that there is insufficient evidence to support an endangerment finding – an apparent contradiction of their own previous climate narrative.

“There were no in situ field studies documenting adverse effects on the health of aquatic life populations in either state,” the EPA’s motion says. “Nor was there any other information documenting effects on indigenous populations of aquatic life in state waters indicating stressors attributable to ocean acidification. The only information available regarding aquatic life in ambient waters under natural conditions was inconclusive.”

The EPA's position is that there is no evidence, but it is a huge problem we should have every confidence exists.  If you don't believe me, look at this passage from an EPA 2010 memorandum on the issue.  Ignore the gobbledygook in the middle, just read it with the parts I have bolded.

This Memorandum recognizes the seriousness of aquatic life impacts associated with OA [ocean acidification] and describes how States can move forward, where OA information exists, to address OA during the 303(d) 2012 listing cycle using the current 303(d) Integrated Reporting (IR) framework. At the same time, this Memorandum also acknowledges and recognizes that in the case of OA, information is largely absent or limited at this point in time to support the listing of waters for OA in many States.

We are really really sure it is a problem although the science is largely absent.

PS- By the way, no one thinks the ocean will turn to acid.  "Acidification" is one of those scare words that work better as PR than science.  The ocean is alkaline and will alkaline even under the most catastrophic forecasts.  The issue is with its becoming less alkaline.


  1. Rich K:

    Considering the EPA is infested with potheads and old rasta men I'm not surprised they claim both ends of any argument. Worst of all some of them are armed. I say let ISIL deal with them in a manner to be decided by Allah.

  2. Sera:

    The ocean is becoming more 'base', not less alkaline.

  3. Rex Crouch:

    While in the Corp of Engineers, I had to work a project with the EPA once. I swore their engineers graduated from correspondence degree-mill, I mean dumb. EPA engineers most certainly would never be able to hold their own in a civilian engineering firm.

  4. skhpcola:

    Rivers in Cleveland no longer catch on fire, but Warren is really concerned that gays can't enter into a contract. The externalities of both are bad, but liberaltarians continue to focus on trivial bullshit. Hey, if you drooled for Ron Paul, you'll take up just about any cause that is progtarded and stupid. Next, Warren will advocate for inter-species marriage, because when a gay liberaltarian loves his cat, who's to say that is wrong?

  5. Daniel Barger:

    "Don't believe anything the EPA says unless it's under oath"...... my oh my, how naïve.
    As if taking an oath would stop a petty apparatchik from ANY .gov agency from lying.

  6. Rick:

    Everyone knows the leading cause of hard drive failure is oath-taking.

  7. Meekrob:

    Um... are you sure you're commenting on the right story?

  8. Meekrob:

    Actually it isn't.

    Which is the point of the story.

  9. marque2:

    It would be less base. Less basic = more acidic.

  10. marque2:

    Ocean is a huge buffer so it can't be measurably more acidic even with all the CO2 in the atmosphere dumped in the ocean.

    I guess the complaint is that the carbonic acid locks away some bicarbonate in the buffering action, keeping it from the shellfish - so even though the ocean can't get acidic the poor little shellfish won't be able to make shells.

    Not sure if this is true or not.

  11. panzersage:

    Thank you for that non-sequiter.

    Your fallacy is, "Because this one bad event happened that caused the creation of the EPA, which by the way could have been fixed without a brand new regulatory body, we can ignore the bad things that the EPA is now doing."

    At least Mussolini made the trains run on time.

  12. Sera:

    Alkalinity is sometimes incorrectly used interchangeably with basicity. For example, the pH of a solution can be lowered by the addition of CO₂. This will reduce the basicity; however, the alkalinity will remain unchanged

  13. Sera:

    What is your point?

    You see, in common use, “alkaline” is used to mean “basic” or “opposite of acidic”. That isn’t strictly correct; though often the two things, alkalinity and basicity, are ‘fellow travelers’ in chemical reactions, so folks commonly treat them as the same thing. They are not.

    An acid is a proton donor (there are a couple of other definitions too, such as based on electron pairs or …) where a base is a proton acceptor. Alkaline does not mean that. It means a specific neutralization point related to carbonate. That difference makes all the difference in the world as it relates to CO₂.

  14. Sera:

    I am not sure if this is true or not, either. But if these 'researchers' don't know the difference between alkaline/base/acid then I would tell them to go research the comic pages.

  15. Sera:

    I meant to say: The ocean is becoming less base, not less alkaline. And less basic does not neccessarily mean more acidic. Sorry about that (fast fingers).

  16. FelineCannonball:

    The term acidification has meant "to decrease the hydrogen ion concentration" or to "add acid to" for a very long time. I think the major analog to the modern use you decry as alarmist is the widely used term "soil acidification" in horticulture. There it basically means amending soil with mineral acids or organic acids to make it incrementally more acidic (regardless of the starting and ending point). It tells you the direction of the change, while "neutralization" would not and the addition of the term "debasification" would require precise knowledge of the starting and ending points and make the usage cumbersome.

    pH is a continuous scale of hydrogen ion activity and in a buffered solution like soil or seawater there are a great many transition points for the behavior of buffers, salts, clays, proteins that are more important chemically and biologically than pH 7. The simple classification as "acidic" or "basic" is actually next-to-useless in describing environmental conditions and to say "the soil samples were debasified and/or acidified by addition of sulfuric acid" is cumbersome.

  17. Seekingfactsforsanity:

    Government is acidic and becoming more so every day. Its eating away at objective science and turning everything into an ideological political argument where facts are to be sneered and smeared, or at best ignored.

  18. Joe:

    If a private company did this they would be fined for false advertising. It is unfortunate that there is no real penalty that can be imposed on government bureaucrats for knowingly putting false information on official government websites or other informational releases.

  19. Joe:

    Reminds me of this line from the movie Armageddon.

    "I know the president's chief scientific advisor, we were at MIT
    together. And, in a situation like this, you-you really don't wanna take
    the advice from a man who got a C- in astrophysics. The president's
    advisors are, um... wrong... and I'm right."

  20. Joe:

    Given what is happening with the IRS I wouldn't put perjury past this Administration.

  21. Just a thought:

    According to measurements at Monterey Bay Aquarium of incoming sea water, pH varies over a range of 0.5 units, and shows NO trend up or down from 1996-2009.

    I.e., it ain't happening.

    Oh, and some of the most populated undersea spots are near hydrothermal vents, where the pH can get down to about 4. And guess what lives nearby, it's calcium shell not dissolving? A giant clam, probably too stupid to know it isn't supposed to be able to survive there (but smarter than your average warmist, I wager).