RE: [asa] EPA: Greenhouse gases endanger human health

From: Jon Tandy <tandyland@earthlink.net>
Date: Mon Dec 07 2009 - 12:35:49 EST

One interesting point that I haven't heard discussed yet. What if steps are taken to contain global warming, whether by unilateral regulation or congressional consensus, and it proves to be successful in curbing climate change? I predict that opponents will in that case say, "Look the climate turned around and corrected itself just like we told you it would, and all the resources you threw at it was just wasted money, and increased the conspiracy of governmental control to boot." Or they will quietly benefit from the positive benefits of the new greener technology that result from the expended efforts, and turn their attention to other interests of concern.

On the other hand, what if some of the worst case predictions come true, and all our best (or half-hearted) efforts aren't able to stop the catastrophe. Will these same people be saying, "Look we told you all along that our human efforts to control the climate would be for naught, and it was a big waste of money to try, and now the global economy is in worse shape because of all the money we threw at a lost cause."

I'm not saying they are wrong in any of these arguments. I'm not an opponent or an advocate. I'm only observing that it's a lose-lose argument. If the money is spent, and whether the climate stabilizes or goes spiraling dangerously out of control, either way the corrective actions will be criticized. There seems to be little way to tell the difference between the effects of nothing versus either success or failure in the goal of controlling climate change. Perhaps some careful analysis of the data would reveal the catastrophe was not as bad as it could have been.

The best "control study" that would prove the non-necessity for concern would be to DO NOTHING about AGW (and peak oil/gas/coal for that matter), and see if the predicted painful effects of climate change actually prove to be true or false. However, are we willing to take the chance? And will we (as global warming critics) be criticizing our government for doing nothing when it had the opportunity, if the worst happens? No easy answers.

Jon Tandy

-----Original Message-----
From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of John Walley
Sent: Monday, December 07, 2009 10:39 AM
To: AmericanScientificAffiliation
Subject: [asa] EPA: Greenhouse gases endanger human health

EPA: Greenhouse gases endanger human health
 
By DINA CAPPIELLO and H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer Dina Cappiello And H. Josef Hebert, Associated Press Writer – 40 mins ago WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency has concluded greenhouse gases are endangering people's health and must be regulated, signaling that the Obama administration is prepared to contain global warming without congressional action if necessary.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson scheduled a news conference for later Monday to announce the so-called endangerment finding, officials told The Associated Press, speaking privately because the announcement had not been made.
The finding is timed to boost the administration's arguments at an international climate conference — beginning this week — that the United States is aggressively taking actions to combat global warming, even though Congress has yet to act on climate legislation.
Under a Supreme Court ruling, the so-called endangerment finding is needed before the EPA can regulate carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases released from power plants, factories and automobiles under the federal Clean Air Act.
The EPA signaled last April that it was inclined to view heat-trapping pollution as a threat to public health and welfare and began to take public comments under a formal rulemaking. The action marked a reversal from the Bush administration, which had declined to aggressively pursue the issue.
Business groups have strongly argued against tackling global warming through the regulatory process of the Clean Air Act. Any such regulations are likely to spawn lawsuits and lengthy legal fights.
The EPA and the White House have said regulations on greenhouse gases will not be imminent even after an endangerment finding, saying that the administration would prefer that Congress act to limit such pollution through an economy-wide cap on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Nevertheless, the EPA has begun the early stages of developing permit requirements on carbon dioxide pollution from large emitters such as power plants. The administration also has said it will require automobile fuel economy to increase to a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon by 2016, another push to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The EPA's readiness to tackle climate change is expected to give a boost to U.S. arguments at the climate conference opening in Copenhagen this week that the United States is making broad commitments to reduce greenhouse gases.
While the House has approved climate legislation that would cut emissions by 17 percent by 2020 and about 80 percent by mid-century, the Senate has yet to take up the measure amid strong Republican opposition and reluctance by some centrist Democrats.
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., lead author of the Senate bill, has argued that if Congress doesn't act, the EPA will require greenhouse gas emissions. He has called EPA regulation a "blunt instrument" that would pose a bigger problem for industry than legislation crafted to mitigate some of the costs of shifting away from carbon emitting fossil fuels.
The way was opened for the EPA to use the Clean Air Act to cut climate-changing emissions by the Supreme Court in 2007, when the court declared that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are pollutants under the Act. But the court said the EPA must determine if these pollutants pose a danger to public health and welfare before it can regulate them.

      

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Received on Mon Dec 7 12:36:19 2009

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