A federal decision that global warming poses a threat to people relied on faulty data and will hurt jobs, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says.
The December decision by the Environmental Protection Agency opens the door for the agency to crack down on cars, power plants and other sources of heat-trapping gases.
"An incredibly far-reaching decision has been made using a clearly flawed process," Cuccinelli said at a news conference yesterday.
The EPA, he said, apparently relied on information that was "unreliable, unverifiable and doctored."
Cuccinelli filed petitions with the EPA and a federal court Tuesday seeking to block the decision.
He said the EPA should consider new information, including recently publicized e-mails from a British climate-research office. The e-mails showed scientists using faulty data to support the notion of manmade global warming, Cuccinelli said.
According to Cuccinelli, that faulty data made their way into a key 2007 climate-change report by a United Nations panel and ultimately were used by the EPA to make its finding that global warming threatens the public.
Many global-warming skeptics have been calling the British e-mail flap "Climategate" and saying the messages disprove the notion that people are warming the planet.
Bruce A. Wielicki, senior scientist for earth sciences at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, said the British e-mails do not undermine the voluminous research that shows people's actions are warming the Earth.
"The Climategate issue is totally blown out of proportion . . . What we are primarily seeing is disinformation being spread by people who are not experts in climate science," said Wielicki, a contributing author to the Nobel Prize-winning 2007 climate change report that Cuccinelli criticized.
The evidence for manmade global warming "is practically undeniable," said Jim Kinter, a meteorologist, part-time George Mason University faculty member and director of the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, a Calverton, Md., nonprofit dedicated to climate research.
"There is little or no dispute in the scientific community about global warming," Kinter said.
Cuccinelli, a Republican, took office Jan. 16. During his campaign and since, he has expressed skepticism about climate change.
During yesterday's news conference, Cuccinelli seemed to steer his responses away from his personal beliefs, choosing instead to criticize the climate-change data and the potential impact of new regulations on jobs.
If the EPA decision is allowed to stand, Cuccinelli said, "Every Virginian will take an economic beating."
Texas has filed similar challenges to the EPA decision.
Contact Rex Springston at (804) 649-6453 or email@example.com.