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Critical Minerals: Rare Earths and the U.S. Economy

Rare earths are 17 elements in the Earth’s crust used in a variety of applications, from hybrid cars and x-ray units to cell phones and wind turbines. Unfortunately, the United States is largely dependent on China for these critical minerals,posing a serious threat to the American economy.

Despite their name, rare earths (REs) are relatively abundant.  However, they are generally not concentrated together, making extraction expensive and often uneconomical.  While the United States has 13 percent of the world’s rare earth reserves, China dominates the industry with an estimated 50 percent of global RE reserves and 95 percent of all RE production. Currently, the United States has only one fully operating mine — the Mountain Pass mine in California — but it largely lacks the capacity to process the raw materials into finished components.

Not only are REs widely used, they have few substitutes:

  • Europium is used as a red phosphor in color cathode ray tubes and liquid crystal displays. It costs $2,000 per kilogram and there is no substitute.
  • Erbium is used in fiber-optic telecommunication cables as laser amplifiers. It costs an average of $1,000 per kilogram and there is no substitute.

Supply cuts could be devastating to certain sectors, especially the defense industry:

  • Advanced jet aircraft engines depend upon yttrium thermal coatings to shield metal components from extreme heat.
  • Rare earth permanent magnets that utilize neodymium move the fins of precision-guided munitions.
  • Military radar and detection systems us neodymium, yttrium, lanthanum, lutetium and europium to amplify sounds and improve signal resolution.

Lawmakers have drafted legislation to improve the regulatory process relating to mining in order to jumpstart investment and encourage the development of an American rare earths supply chain.

Environmental Regulation through Litigation

Through sue and settle litigation, interest groups have forced the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue new regulations, often bypassing proper procedures.

How does this happen? Twenty U.S. statutes contain what are known as “citizen suit” provisions, allowing citizens to file suit against a federal agency when that agency has failed to carry out a nondiscretionary duty by its prescribed deadline. The Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, for example, allow for citizen suits. And because federal agency rulemaking is notoriously behind schedule, every missed deadline provides an opportunity for litigation. The EPA has been a party to a number of these lawsuits.

  • After environmental groups file a complaint against the EPA based on these missed deadlines, the parties work out a settlement or consent decree between themselves. This process allows regulation-friendly plaintiffs to work out a rulemaking plan with a federal agency without involving third parties.
  • Intervening in these cases is difficult, and affected parties are frequently unaware that a lawsuit has even been filed until an agreement has already been worked out.
  • From 2009 to 2012, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce puts the number of sue and settle lawsuits at 71, with the Sierra Club and WildEarth Guardians leading the way as plaintiffs in 34 and 20 cases, respectively. The EPA was a defendant in 60 of these cases.

Plaintiffs have used sue and settle with great success. However, the agreements are often procedurally deficient, and the deadlines to which the litigants agree often leave interested parties with insufficient time to comment effectively on the proposed rules:

  • After a lawsuit by the Environmental Defense Fund and the Sierra Club, among others, the EPA issued its Utility MACT rule, which regulates mercury emissions for power plants. The strict deadlines in the consent decree gave the EPA a very short period of time to assess public comments and issue a final rule, despite the complexity of the rulemaking. The regulation carries an annual cost of $9.6 billion, and it has forced many coal plants to shut down. At the end of 2012, 9.5 percent of coal-fired generation capacity had decided to retire due to Utility MACT, and 20.4 percent were undecided about whether to retire.
  • Environmental groups used sue and settle in five separate lawsuits to force EPA action on states’ Regional Haze plans. The Regional Haze program is intended to be a state program. But in multiple instances, the EPA imposed its own federal plan on states, rather than allowing the states time to correct and develop their own plans, because of the deadlines to which the agency had agreed in the consent decrees. Ratepayers in these states are facing extraordinarily high electricity costs as a result of these lawsuits.

Sue and settle is an attractive vehicle for regulation, because it is very difficult for states and industries to intervene in these lawsuits. Moreover, plaintiffs are often compensated for their attorneys’ fees, incentivizing litigation.

Has the EPA Hurt the Economy?

Last week, the EPA held public hearings on its “Clean Power Plan” proposal — a regulation that, unsurprisingly, sounds a lot better (who doesn’t want clean power?) than it actually is. The regulation won’t just cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants (with a miniscule temperature impact of just 0.018 degrees Celsius by 2100), it will cut jobs while raising energy prices for families across the country.

Over at the Daily Signal, Nicholas Loris of the Heritage Foundation pointed out that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has written a post on the EPA’s website about the public hearings. According to McCarthy: “We expect great feedback at these sessions. And unfortunately, we also expect a healthy dose of the same tired, false and worn out criticism that commonsense EPA action is bad for the economy.” So, it’s simply false that EPA action hurts the economy. Want proof? McCarthy offered up some slam-dunk evidence: “Just look at our history: since EPA has existed we’ve cut air pollution by more than 70 percent, while GDP has tripled.”

If that’s the same type of analytical rigor that the EPA uses when churning out regulations, no wonder the agency continues to label job-killing restrictions that hike consumer prices “commonsense.”

Never mind that a Chamber of Commerce report projects $51 billion in annual economic losses from the Clean Power Plan rule through 2030 — not to mention 224,000 annual job losses.

  • Or that the EPA’s analysis predicting that its rule will cause job gains largely anticipates those gains because power plants will have to purchase renewable energy equipment thanks to the EPA rule.
  • Or that the EPA’s analyses of employment impacts routinely use flawed models that only partially assess economic costs.
  • Or that more than 34 gigawatts of electric generating capacity are retiring due to just two EPA regulations, costing jobs and raising energy costs along the way.
  • Or that a moderate projection from the National Association of Manufacturers finds that just six EPA regulatory proposals from 2010 and 2011 could cost 2 million jobs and $100 billion annually.
  • Or that its energy regulations disproportionately hurt the poor, who spend more of their incomes on energy.

And these are just a handful of recent EPA rules. To most readers, that might sound like the agency is not exactly helping the economy — in fact, that the agency is doing quite the opposite. But never mind all of that. Because, according to the agency, the fact that the United States has grown since the EPA’s inception must be evidence that the EPA has done nothing but promulgate commonsense regulations; certainly, it cannot be the case that the economy has grown in spite of them.

If you read any of the EPA’s regulatory impact analyses, you’ll see that their regulatory benefits are often those of job creation by regulation (i.e. their rules impose costs on one industry by requiring that industry to spend money, thereby spurring growth in another industry) — hardly a solid growth principle. If government-mandated expenses and restrictions created jobs and economic growth, we’d have regulated ourselves into prosperity quite effortlessly over the last six years.

McCarthy’s logic makes just as much sense as saying that you’ve eaten Oreos for lunch every day for the last week while maintaining a healthy weight — therefore, Oreos have clearly had no negative impact on your health.

The fact that growth has occurred in the face of overreaching regulations is hardly evidence that those regulations haven’t hurt the economy.

According to a study published in the Journal of Economic Growth last year, federal regulation from 1949 to 2005 has cost the American economy an average of 2 percentage points of growth. Altogether, by year-end 2011, regulations since 1949 had reduced American GDP by $38.8 trillion.

An All-of-the-Above* Energy Policy

Policymakers frequently tout their support for an all-of-the-above approach to energy generation, yet somehow nuclear energy largely seems to disappear from that conversation in any meaningful way. And many environmentalists — who castigate coal, insisting that we need clean, renewable energy — flatly ignore nuclear power, despite its zero carbon dioxide emissions. Instead, they hold up wind and solar and biofuels — none of which are ready for primetime — as the solution to our nation’s energy problems. Yet, nuclear power is one clean energy source that actually has the ability to provide affordable, reliable energy on a large-scale basis.

Knowing just how much sense nuclear energy makes, it is frustrating to listen to conversations and debates over energy generation that either flatly ignore nuclear power or dismiss it as unsafe. (For some articles that debunk some of the myths and fears surrounding nuclear power, see here and here.) Cutting down on carbon emissions is apparently the premier goal of many unless doing so would mean using nuclear power – something actually effective and affordable.

But last week, Forbes ran an interesting piece by former EPA Administrator Carol Browner. Browner was Administrator of the EPA under President Clinton and served as director of President Obama’s Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy.

Her commentary immediately addressed that frustrating contradiction that exists among many who oppose nuclear energy:

“I used to be anti-nuclear.  But, several years ago I had to reevaluate my thinking because if you agree with the world’s leading climate scientists that global warming is real and must be addressed immediately then you cannot simply oppose clean, low-carbon energy sources.”

Browner notes that “[e]xisting nuclear power plants…emit virtually no carbon pollution and are among the cleanest sources of electricity available.”

If climate change activists are serious in their belief that man is responsible for global warming, then you would expect more of them to rally behind nuclear as an energy source. Unfortunately, an “all-of-the-above” approach sounds nice, but it’s often just a catchphrase that doesn’t necessarily represent a comprehensive energy policy.

(And of course, nuclear power isn’t the only casualty of the “all-of-the-above” refrain: President Obama claims an all-of-the-above approach to energy, yet apparently that does not include support for coal power or the Keystone XL pipeline…)

Is the EPA Playing Politics?

According to reports, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may have held back on the publication of a new energy regulation in order to protect Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections.

In June 2013, President Obama asked the EPA to issue rules regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, and the EPA proposed such standards on September 20, 2013.

But this is where the agency started to deviate from normal procedure.

Typically, rulemaking goes like this: The EPA proposes a new rule (usually, it announces this on its website for the public to see) and then — generally within five days — it submits the rule to the Federal Register for publication. Once published in the Federal Register, the public has a limited number of days to comment on the proposal. Notably, the Clean Air Act requires the EPA to finalize emissions rules for new power plants within one year of publication in the Federal Register.

But the September emissions rule was not sent to the Federal Register within five days. It was not even sent there a month later. Instead, a full 66 days after the rule was proposed, the EPA finally sent the proposal to the Federal Register for publication, on November 25, 2013.

What does this have to do with the 2014 midterms?

Because the publication date determines when the rule is finalized, pushing the publication date to January 2014 meant that the controversial rule would not become final until January 2015.

But had the EPA followed protocol and submitted the rule for publication in September within the usual 1-5 day window, it would likely have been published just prior to the November 2014 midterm elections. Senator James Inhofe (R – OK) said just this in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy:

The costs of the President’s [greenhouse gas] regulations are going to be enormous with far-reaching and irreparable impacts on our electricity generation capacity, affordability and reliability. With this in mind, it makes sense that the American public would react negatively to the finalization of this first round of [greenhouse gas] regulations…This makes the timing of your proposal very important. If the rule was finalized by September 20, 2014, the American people would have about six weeks to consider the negative impact of the rule on the economy prior to going to the polls. In addition to this, my colleagues and I would have been able to force a vote on a resolution of disapproval against the final rule…This possibility of electioneering is deeply troubling.

Had the EPA submitted the rule in a timely fashion, lawmakers could have been forced to take a stand on it prior to the November elections.

The EPA has blamed the delay on consistency needs and “formatting” (it is not entirely clear what would make this rule so unique that it would require two months of formatting…), as well as the government shutdown. But the shutdown did not start until October 1, seven working days after the rule was proposed. As Sen. Inhofe said:

If the EPA had followed…protocol, the [New Source Performance Standards] rule would have been submitted to the Federal Register’s office two full working days before the shutdown.

Perhaps most damning of all, Administrator McCarthy, testifying before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said, “I will assure you that as soon as that proposal was released, we had submitted it to the Federal Register office.” She went on: “The delay was solely the backup in the Federal Register office.”

The Office of the Federal Register disagrees. Federal Register Director Charles Barth said that his office did not receive the EPA’s proposal until November 25. Moreover, once the agency did receive it and scheduled it for publication on December 30, the EPA requested that publication date be pushed forward even farther, to January 8, 2014!

Politico reports that the EPA says it pushed for the delay because it did not want to release the rule during the holidays. So the government wanted to wait and release controversial news when the public was actually paying attention? That would be a first.

Power Grid Reliability as Coal Plants Retire

As the Obama administration’s EPA continues to promulgate regulations that will effectively close coal plants, or prevent the construction of new ones, much of the debate over these regulations, and coal in general, has centered on the appropriateness of coal as an energy source — is it too polluting? Will it hurt the environment? Is it worth the cheap cost? Are coal alternatives too expensive?

There has been less focus, however, on the ability of the power grid to meet U.S. demand if more coal plants continue to go offline. While industry groups, states and energy companies have raised these concerns, the American public remains largely unaware of the ramifications of dialing back coal-powered electricity generation.

To much of the general public, the EPA’s regulations are simply making for a safer, happier, cleaner world.

But on April 10, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the reliability of the electric grid. At the hearing, Senator Lisa Murkowski made a rather astonishing statement: “Eighty-nine percent of the coal electricity capacity that is due to go offline was utilized as that backup to meet the demand this winter.”

The New York Times reported on this issue back in March — noting that it was American Electric Power, a Midwest energy provider that was running 89 percent of its soon-to-be-retired coal plants. And PJM Interconnection, a power grid operator that serves Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Ohio, among other states, set a record for peak energy use this winter season.

Next year is an especially significant year for coal, as April 2015 is when coal plants are required to be in compliance with the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule. Compliance with the rule effectively means shutting down operations or spending hundreds of millions of dollars to conform — spending that will, of course, find its way into consumers’ power bills. Some parts of the U.S. already saw electricity prices this winter that were a whopping 10 times higher than last year’s average.

If, in order to meet this winter’s energy demands, providers had to use almost all of their coal capacity that is actually scheduled to be retired next year, what is going to happen if we have a particularly hot summer this year? Or another round of Polar Vortexes this upcoming winter, when those plants we relied on are no longer operating?

Mike Duncan of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity echoed Murkowski’s concerns when he spoke with Fox News two weeks ago: “Regulation from five years ago is closing about 20 percent of the coal plants. Regulations being proposed now could close an additional 20 percent of coal plants. And that creates huge stresses — we’re just not ready for anything like that in this country.”

The EPA, of course, insists that reliability is not an issue and that coal will remain viable. But anti-coal groups know better. As a recent FOIA request revealed, the Sierra Club’s John Coequyt (head of the group’s Beyond Coal Campaign) forwarded a news story in an email to the EPA’s own Michael Goo and Alex Barron. The news story carried the headline “Coal to Remain Viable, says EPA’s McCarthy at COAL-GEN Keynote.”

Coequyt wrote just three words above the news story to his EPA friends: “Pants on fire.”

Losing coal would not be as much of a problem if we had a cost-effective, large-scale energy alternative available. But the environmentalist left will not touch nuclear power (an energy source that produces no carbon emissions), and renewables are unreliable and expensive, hardly suited to replace coal. If any coal survives the EPA’s onslaught, electricity will be markedly more expensive, hurting American consumers, especially the poor.

President Obama bragged of his plans to drive out coal in 2008: “If somebody wants to build a coal-fired power plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them. Under my plan, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

Those who cheered this plan either failed to realize, or did not care, that it was average, ordinary Americans who would have to, quite literally, pay the price.

EPA Testing Seems At Odds With Public Statements

“Call us for more information and to see if you qualify!”

What exciting opportunity might this be? How about the chance to be exposed to toxins that the researchers say can cause death.

Indeed, this cheery offer came from a set of flyers printed by the EPA seeking human testing subjects for air pollution experiments.

According to an EPA Inspector General report, during five studies conducted in 2010 and 2011, the EPA conducted experiments on 81 individuals, exposing them to airborne particles known as PM2.5 (basically, soot and dust), diesel exhaust, and ozone. Some test subjects experienced cardiac arrhythmias during the testing, and one woman, with a history of medical problems, was sent to the hospital.

The report describes the five air quality studies, expressing concern that the agency exposed a research subject above the study’s concentration targets and that the EPA’s consent forms did not address all of the risks (including death) surrounding pollutant exposure.

Moreover, only one of the studies’ consent forms “identified the upper range of pollutant exposure for each study subject.” The other four consent forms “did not mention the level of pollutant exposure. Instead, the forms…compared the subject’s level of exposure during the study to the exposure they would receive visiting major cities on smoggy days.”

Why was this info left out? The EPA justified its “smoggy days” description of the study because a study manager “explained that a person breathing 420 [micrograms per cubic meter] for 2 hours would inhale the same concentration as they would breathing 35 [micrograms per cubic meter] (the EPA’s 24-hour standard for PM2.5) for 24 hours in a city such as Los Angeles.”

(The studies actually exposed participants to PM levels of 600 micrograms per cubic meter, and one subject up to 751 micrograms per cubic meter — over 21 times the 24-hour standard!)

“The manager also stated that…the risk is small for those with no overt disease.”

Similarly, the agency failed to mention long-term cancer risks from diesel exhaust because “[a]n EPA manager considered these long-term risks minimal for short-term study exposures.”

And just two of the studies “alerted study subjects to the risk of death for older individuals with cardiovascular disease.”

The IG report provides a table detailing health impacts derived from EPA regulations and assessments from short-term exposure to particulate matter and diesel exhaust. For PM2.5, “mortality” is listed as a risk of short-term exposure.chart

What else has the EPA told us about PM2.5?

  • “If we could reduce particulate matter to levels that are healthy, we would have an identical impact to finding a cure for cancer.” — EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, testimony in front of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, September 22, 2011.
  • “Particulate matter causes premature deaths. It doesn’t make you sick. It is directly causal to dying sooner than you should.” — EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, testimony in front of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, September 22, 2011.
  • “Overall, there is strong epidemiological evidence linking… short-term (hours, days) exposures to PM2.5 with cardiovascular and respiratory mortality and morbidity.” — EPA report on Air Quality Criteria for Particulate Matter, Volume II, October 2004.
  • “Short-term exposures to particles (hours or days) can aggravate lung disease, causing asthma attacks and acute bronchitis, and may also increase susceptibility to respiratory infections. In people with heart disease, short-term exposures have been linked to heart attacks and arrhythmias.” — EPA brochure on Particle Pollution and Your Health.
  • “The new studies support previous conclusions that short-term exposure to fine PM is associated with both mortality and morbidity.” — EPA report on Provisional Assessment of Recent Studies on Health Effects of Particulate Matter Exposure, July 2006.
  • “The best scientific evidence, confirmed by independent, Congressionally-mandated expert panels, is that there is no threshold level of fine particle pollution below which health risk reductions are not achieved by reduced exposure.” — Letter from Gina McCarthy, Asst. Administrator of the EPA, to Rep. Fred Upton, February 3, 2012.

In these reports and statements, exposure to PM 2.5 is dangerous (indeed, there is apparently no level of pollution at which health risks cease!). But the EPA’s human testing? Apparently not so dangerous.

The IG report summed up the agency’s missing warnings about the link between PM exposure and health effects this way: “This lack of warning about PM…is also different from its public message about PM.”

When an agency hails the reduction of particulate matter as the public health equivalent of curing cancer — and regulates on that basis — it loses credibility when it exposes humans to high levels of the pollutants and deems such exposure safe.

So, has the EPA exaggerated the effects of these particles in order to justify heavy-handed regulation? Or is the agency knowingly conducting dangerous experiments on human subjects?

Whichever it is, neither answer is comforting.

New IPCC Report: Death and Destruction!

The IPCC’s latest report (Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability) and it’s full of observations and predictions of calamity is now available.

Just a scan of the news headlines reveals the catastrophe once again forecast by the IPCC: Climate change to leave no one on planet ‘untouched,’ IPCC chief, New Climate Change Report Warns of Dire Consequences, New U.N. Report: Climate Change Risks Destabilizing Human Society, Climate change a threat to security, food and humankind – IPCC report, Panel’s Warning on Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet to Come.


The IPCC may be full of gloom and doom, but not everyone is on board. Joseph Bast over at Forbes looked at the 8 main risks in the report that the IPCC listed as “reasons for concern.” He puts them alongside conclusions from the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). Founded by atmospheric physicist Fred Singer, the NIPCC’s scientists assess global warming science and conduct independent reviews of the IPCC reports.

Just a few examples of the differences between the IPCC and NIPCC reports:

  • Food insecurity? Yes, says the IPCC. Little or no risk, says the NIPCC.
  • Severe harm for urban populations due to flooding? Yes, says the IPCC. No, says the NIPCC.
  • Systemic risks due to extreme weather events? Yes, says the IPCC. There is no support that precipitation in a warmer world becomes more variable and intense, says the NIPCC.
  • Risk of mortality, morbidity, and other harms? Yes, says the IPCC. No, says the NIPCC: Modest warming will actually result in a net reduction of human mortality.

The NIPCC reports are peer-reviewed, produced by scientists from 20 countries around the world, and cite thousands of peer-reviewed studies. The latest report is over 1,000 pages, and anyone can go online and view them.

Bast asks,

So is man-made global warming a crisis? Don’t just wonder about it, understand it yourself. Read one or a few chapters of one of the NIPCC reports, and ask if what you read is logical, factual, and relevant to the debate. See if the UN or its many apologists take into account the science and evidence NIPCC summarizes, and then decides whether its predictions ‘of death, injury, and disrupted livelihoods’ is science or fiction.

Matt Ridley over at the Wall Street Journal notes that the IPCC report predicts 70 percent more warming by the end of this century than the best science actually suggests. He then asks — what distinguishes the global warming “crisis” from the other crises we’ve been warned about in the past?

There remains a risk that the latest science is wrong and rapid warming will occur with disastrous consequences. And if renewable energy had proved by now to be cheap, clean and thrifty in its use of land, then we would be right to address that small risk of a large catastrophe by rushing to replace fossil fuels with first-generation wind, solar and bioenergy. But since these forms of energy have proved expensive, environmentally damaging and land-hungry, it appears that in our efforts to combat warming we may have been taking the economic equivalent of chemotherapy for a cold.

Almost every global environmental scare of the past half century proved exaggerated including the population “bomb,” pesticides, acid rain, the ozone hole, falling sperm counts, genetically engineered crops and killer bees. In every case, institutional scientists gained a lot of funding from the scare and then quietly converged on the view that the problem was much more moderate than the extreme voices had argued. Global warming is no different.

Are we really willing to transform our economies based on reports derived from faulty, ill-constructed models? Unless more people delve into these IPCC reports and look at the evidence presented by the NIPCC and others, we’re likely to do just that.

Climate Change Talkathon

While you were snoozing last week, a group of Democratic senators were at work on the Senate floor. Senator Brian Schatz said:

We have a simple message for all Americans: We’re not going to rest until Congress acts on the most pressing issue of our time.

A lack of jobs? Americans losing their health insurance? The deficit? Which of these issues did Schatz and his 30 cohorts stay up all night to debate and demand action on?

Climate change. That is right, with Americans dropping out of the workforce in record numbers and cancer patients unable to see their doctors, our leaders are taking turns talking on the floor about global warming. And according to a spokesman from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s office, this is not the last time that we will hear from the Senate Climate Action Task Force.

This is just a desperate attempt to appeal to their donor base and bring a non-issue to the forefront to distract from Obamacare, a weak president, and an ailing economy. The war on women was last election season’s non-sequitur (and no doubt it will be in full-swing again come this November), and we’ve already heard from the President and other members of Congress this year that we need to make addressing climate change a major priority.

But while the Democrats may want to hang their 2014 hat on global warming, climate change is, to voters, a relative non-issue. See this Pew poll from January: of a whopping 20 issues tested as policy priorities, the American public put global warming in 19th place, above only global trade issues. This is not some sort of statistical abnormality — global warming is routinely found at the bottom of the list.

Fun fact: Anthony Watts pointed out that the Senators conducted their talkathon from the warm and cozy Senate floor, courtesy of the Capitol’s coal-fired power plant.

Is the Science Really Settled?

The last 17 years without warming have been disappointments to climate activists insistent that the globe is getting hotter thanks to human activity. So what happens when the climate acts in ways that that do not fit the human-caused global warming narrative? How do warming proponents respond to them?

The IPCC released its latest climate change report in September, stating with 95 percent probability that “human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” But Benjamin Zycher at the American Enterprise Institute dove into the document and detailed exactly why the IPCC report “is a political document first and a (partial) summary of the scientific literature only secondarily.” (And if you are wondering where that 95 percent probability comes from, see Kenneth Green’s piece.)