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DEP Caught in Cut & Paste Job on Global Warming Data

Commissioner Martin Out of Touch With DEP Data and Global Warming Plan

Yesterday, DEP issued a press release touting a new 11 state regional initiative to address the transportation sector’s global warming emissions.

It tripped my spin detector beause it also had a claim about creating “green jobs”.

Just the day before, I slammed Commissioner Martin for appointment of a new Assistant Commissioner who allegedly would focus on “green jobs”, so I though the release was political cover for that.

So I read the DEP release closely (having previously written about DEP’s emissions inventory), and noted that not only did it have little to nothing to do with “green jobs”, but it read like a cut and paste job from the press release issued by Georgetown Climate Center.

So I did a little fact checking, in keeping with my promise to give this Commissioner no quarter.

Minor plagiarism can be expected and tolerated from the DEP press Office, but not when it makes mistakes on the data or science. Especially when the Commissioner’s quote contains a fact error on an issue as significant as global warming emissions.

Commissioner Martin has ignored DEP’s own Global Warming Plan; called DEP science “poor, not organized, anecdotal at best“; called the BPU Energy Master Plan “the worst analysis” he’d ever seen; and repeatedly insisted that DEP decisions must be based on “facts and science” (and always stated in a context that implies that prior DEP decisions have not been based on facts and science). So obviously, Martin’s claims warrant scrutiny.

If he’d read DEP’s own emissions inventory and Plan, Martin would discover that DEP’s Global Warming Plan emissions inventory finds that the transportation sector is the largest and has the greatest opportunity for emissions reductions. Martin should be touting this emissions inventory as the best in the Region and a model for other states.

But oops, he can’t do that because he not only has shelved DEP’s Global Warming Plan and fired the head of the Office that developed it, he killed the DEP green house gas emissions inventory proposed rules! (see this for DEP’s proposal Martin killed).

So, let’s get to the embarassing fact error in Martin’s quote. Martin stated (he meant “sector” not “factors” but that’s no big deal – give Martin some slack,  after all he has no training, and it seems obvious that he makes statements and issues press releases without scientific vetting):

“We’ve identified that 30 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in this state are caused by transportation factors.’’

Georgetown made this claim about the transportation sector:

The transportation sector is responsible for about 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions of the United States.

According to DEP’s own Global Warming Response Act Plan, transportation accounts for 35% (net) and 49% of gross emissions (See Figure ES on page 7).

So it is obvious that Martin never read his own Agency’s Plan, cut and pasted the Georgetown regional estimate, and has made a fact error in the process!

Reminds me of the BP’s Gulf oil drilling Plan, which was obviously a cut and past job from Alaska, because it listed “Sea Lions, Seals, Sea Otters [and] Walruses” as “Sensitive Biological Resources” in the Gulf, suggesting that portions were cribbed from previous Arctic exploratory planning.

So Martin is going down a BP road.

Now if  the press and legislators also would fact check and hold Martin accountable, we might make some progress!

(ps -  I also checked out the BPU Energy master Plan. According to BPU EMP, in year 2010, transportation sector accounts for 40.2%  (See Table 1, page 20.)

 Either way, it is NOT 30%!  

It also is interesting to note that BPU and DEP have significant differences is basic data, like actual currrent and 1990 baseline GHG emissions and in projected emissions scenarios.

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