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Don Day on Climate Agreement: Decisions Are Made Without Knowledge of How Climate Works

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The climate agreement reached recently by almost 200 nations attending a conference in Scotland will have no effect on Wyoming, according to a Wyoming meteorologist.

Don Day, echoing sentiments expressed by the executive director of the Wyoming Mining Association, said the leaders tasked with addressing climate change are not thinking things through.

“If you take a bird’s eye view of this situation, these policymakers who are tasked with making these big decisions have some things that need to be thought further out,” Day told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday. I think a lot of policy decisions are being made…without the proper thinking on how the weather and climate work.”

According to the Associated Press, nations attending the conference accepted a compromise deal designed to fight global warming. However, a change promoted by India saw the agreement revised to have countries “phase down,” rather than “phase out” their use of coal.

Coal has long been identified by those who say the world’s climate is changing as a source of greenhouse gases that trap heat around the globe.

Day pointed out that China is the world’s biggest polluter and uses coal that is of a lesser quality than what is produced and used in coal-fired electrical plants in Wyoming.

“Sure, we can make all of our cars electric by a certain point and switch to renewable energy by another, but nobody asks about what we can expect to happen when we do all of this,” he said. “No one has said exactly what they want to do and what exactly is going to happen with the weather after they do it.”

Officials at the climate conference attempted to uphold the goals set in the 2015 Paris Agreement, keeping global temperature from rising beyond 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit in this century, by drafting an agreement calling for an end to the use of coal.

The change championed by India, however, called for a reduction in the use of coal rather than its elimination as a power source.

If Wyoming were to “phase down” its coal usage, Day does not believe it would have any effect on the weather or climate.

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Wyoming Joins 10-State Lawsuit Over Greenhouse Gas Order

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming is joining nine other states in a lawsuit aimed at stopping the Biden administration from considering the “social cost” of greenhouse gas emissions in making decisions on federal policies and rules.

Gov. Mark Gordon on Thursday announced that Wyoming will join the other states in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Louisiana seeking to block implementation of one of President Joe Biden’s executive orders that would require federal agencies to consider the impact on climate change of any federally regulated activity that generates carbon dioxide, methane or nitrous oxide.

“This executive order improperly changes how decisions are made by applying a selective and highly biased feel-good rationale that has the potential to significantly harm industries critical to the nation’s and my state’s livelihood,” Gordon said. “Arbitrarily justifying any decision to fit political circumstances, including decisions that could be devastating to Wyoming’s energy sector, is not only bad policy, but is unwise.”

The lawsuit challenges one of the executive orders issued by Biden in his first days as president creating a working group to determine the “social cost” of carbon, methane and nitrous oxide emissions. 

The “social cost” measurements are meant to be estimates of the monetary of damages caused by increases in the emissions of such greenhouse gases. The values would be established by a working group made up of officials including the secretaries of Interior, Treasury, Agriculture, Transportation and Health and Human Services.

Those values would be taken into account when federal agencies make decisions on policies and rules in areas such as energy development.

“It is essential that agencies capture the full costs of greenhouse gas emissions as accurately as possible, including taking global damages into account,” the executive order said. “An accurate social cost is essential for agencies to accurately determine the social benefits of reducing greenhouse emissions when conducting cost-benefit analysis of regulatory and other actions.”

But the lawsuit, filed by Louisiana Solicitor General Elizabeth Murrill, said the executive decision will have an impact on almost every aspect of American life because all three of the gases are very common.“

Because those gases are ubiquitous, the … estimates are potentially relevant to the cost-benefit analysis for every federal rule-making and a host of ‘other relevant agency actions’ … covering topics as diverse as vending machines, dishwashers, dehumidifiers, microwave ovens, residential water heaters … and battery chargers, just to name a few,” the lawsuit said. “In other words, federal agencies must now use the (social cost of greenhouse gases) estimates to calculate regulatory costs and benefits for virtually everything that states and their citizens encounter every day.”

The executive order results to the most expansive federal regulatory initiative in history, the lawsuit said.

“In short (the order) will remake our federalism balance of power, American life and the American economy by directing all federal agencies to employ in all their ‘decision-making,’ including rule-making, a numeric value for the costs of greenhouse grass emissions that will ensure the most pervasive regulation in American history,” it said. The lawsuit alleges that the order will hurt all 10 of the states involved in the lawsuit and that the order was improperly issued without sufficient public review or comment.

The lawsuit asks the court to rule that federal agencies cannot use the “social cost” estimates.

States involved in the lawsuit in addition to Wyoming and Louisiana are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia.

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