ClimateGate news

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Clean Air Act battle

Environmentalists and left wingers, including some leading Democrats are pressuring the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate and limit CO2 emissions because greenhouse gases pose a "threat to humanity":

"It appears that EPA's efforts to regulate CO2 emissions have been effectively halted," Waxman wrote in a letter to EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, "which would appear to be a violation of the Supreme Court's directive and an abdication of your responsibility to protect health and the environment from dangerous emissions of CO2."
But is the EPA really in violation of a Supreme Court ruling? This article from the Wall Street Journal explains:
The fracas concerns California's attempt to limit CO2 emissions via the federal Clean Air Act, which allows state air-quality standards that are stricter than Capitol Hill's. By California's reasoning, climate change is an air-quality problem, caused by a "pollutant," CO2, that goes into the air. Ergo, the state is entitled to a waiver. Not coincidentally, this is also the pet theory of the environmental left, which wants the EPA to declare greenhouse gases a threat to humanity. Last year, the Supreme Court agreed, to a point. It ruled that the EPA must determine whether or not carbon "endangers public health and welfare," and that if it does, the agency must regulate. That process is now underway.

The reason the EPA has never included CO2 with pollutants restricted by the Clean Air Act, like NOX or SOX, is that it is fundamentally different. It does not contaminate the air or make it unhealthy to breathe. It is natural: Think human respiration. Because there's no technology that can limit its release as carbon fuel combusts, it is unavoidable. Plus, when the Act was amended in 1990, Congress specifically rejected provisions for greenhouse gases.


The Supreme Court did not require the EPA to change its position on CO2, only to justify it within the scope of the Clean Air Act. In fact, the Court said the agency could defer a judgment because the science is complex and still evolving.
Unfortunately, it seems that the EPA has all but caved in to the Democrats.

h/t: Newsbusters

1 comment:

Zookeeper said...

Each of us, environmentalists included, emits CO2 24 hours a day. I have often thought that extreme environmentalists visualize a world without people as being nirvana.

To them I say "Please, after you."