The EPA, in a Friday announcement, declared that six “greenhouse gases”, including carbon dioxide, are “pollutants” worthy of regulation.
Quoth Bruce Niles, a Sierra Clubber at HuffPo (find it yourself, if you’re that interested): “Under the Clean Air Act, EPA is now obligated to issue rules regulating global warming pollution from all major sources, including cars and coal-fired power plants. The law specifically states that EPA “shall” (i.e. must, not may) regulate dangerous pollutants once they are found to endanger public health or welfare.” (Emphasis added.)
We’ve had roughly 90 days of the Obama Administration so far, and I can’t think of a greater threat to our collective health and welfare.
Regulating CO2 as a pollutant could have rather, uh, far-reaching consequences, as CO2 is a by-product of all human activity, including, but not limited to transportation, illumination, and respiration.
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration declared Friday that carbon dioxide and five other industrial emissions threaten the planet. The landmark decision lays the groundwork for federal efforts to cap carbon emissions — at a potential cost of billions of dollars to businesses and government.
The Environmental Protection Agency finding that the emissions endanger “the health and welfare of current and future generations” is “the first formal recognition by the U.S. government of the threats posed by climate change,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson wrote in a memo to her staff.
The finding could touch every corner of Americans’ lives, from the types of cars they drive to the homes they build. Along with carbon dioxide, the EPA named methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride as deleterious to the environment. Even if the agency doesn’t use its powers under the Clean Air Act to curb greenhouse gases, Friday’s action improves the chances that Congress will move to create a more flexible mechanism to do so.
More flexible mechanism? Can you say “Cap-and-Trade”, boys and girls?
Back in 1973, National Lampoon magazine ran a satirical cover image of a very cute, very worried-looking puppy with a gun pointed at its head. The headline read: “If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog”: motivation by emotional blackmail, taken to its absurdist extreme.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) landmark decision Friday to set in motion the process of regulating greenhouse gases had a little bit of the sardonically threatening spirit of that magazine cover. Concluding a scientific review initially ordered by a two-year-old Supreme Court case, the EPA issued its long-awaited “endangerment finding,” formally declaring that carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases are pollutants that threaten public health and welfare. …
That’s where the endangered puppy comes in. As momentous as the EPA’s decision was — the finding stated “in both magnitude and probability, climate change is an enormous problem” — no one actually wants the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases. Not even Jackson or Obama, both of whom have repeatedly stated that they would much prefer Congress to set limits on greenhouse gas emissions directly, most likely through a cap-and-trade program. Most environmentalists feel the same way. The problem is getting cap-and-trade passed in Congress; most Republicans are against it on the grounds that it might hurt the economy by raising energy prices in the short term, and many Democrats from states with lots of polluting coal plants feel similarly.
So the possibility that in the face of Congressional inaction the EPA might take matters into its own hands and directly regulate greenhouse gases can be seen as a not so subtle threat. [emphasis added.]
Much as I appreciate the imagery*, this cynical manipulation makes me want to puke.
I’ll take my chances whether an increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations from 300 to 380 ppm has a net deleterious effect on our collective “health and welfare.” Whatever fraud the EPA may perpetrate by classifying CO2 as a pollutant, they cannot call it “toxic”. But a scientifically arrogant, overbearing government (read: Obama, his Administration and the complicit gang of nitwits and jackanapes in Congress) and its attempts to control every single aspect of our lives will have a direct, measurable, and disastrous effect on our collective prosperity and liberty. If that’s not a toxic threat to our “health and welfare”, I don’t know what is.