Dedicated to the balanced discussion of global warming
July 12, 2008 – Wall Street Journal
The Bush administration continues to struggle with what to do with global warming and carbon dioxide as a pollutant. The Supreme Court ruled that carbon dioxide is a pollutant resulting from the burning of several fossil fuels. This has caused the EPA to try to figure out what to do with this new authority without destroying the economy.
As with most issues that revolve around Washington DC, this one is embroiled in politics with both major Presidential candidates chiming in.
The Bush administration published a government blueprint to reduce the U.S. output of global-warming gases, but at the same time rejected the document out of hand — saying it relied on “untested legal theories” and would impose “crippling costs” on the U.S. economy.
The White House argues the Environmental Protection Agency must not be allowed to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, for fear it would be able to block development across the country.
The EPA’s document represents the denouement of a long-simmering conflict between the EPA’s career staff and the White House, which has caught EPA administrator Stephen Johnson in an awkward middle ground. On Friday, he praised his staff’s “great work” in trying to put “a square peg into a round hole,” but rejected its findings, siding with other cabinet members in dismissing use of the Clean Air Act.
Both of Mr. Bush’s would-be successors — Arizona Republican John McCain and Illinois Democrat Barack Obama — have expressed support for capping greenhouse-gas emissions.
A spokesman for Sen. Obama said he was “disappointed in the White House’s decision to again refuse to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.” A spokesman for Sen. McCain said the approach outlined by the EPA “would give a small, unelected group of bureaucrats unprecedented power to regulate broad swaths of our economy — effectively placing production, employment and investment decisions under government control.”
The final document affirms the agency’s authority to tackle climate change, and suggests a variety of regulatory avenues. It concludes automobiles could be more fuel-efficient than currently required by law. Based on advanced technologies such as plug-in hybrid vehicles, fuel efficiency could be improved to more than 35 miles per gallon between 2020 and 2025, the document said. A 2007 energy law supported by the Bush administration mandates an average vehicle fuel-efficiency of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.
For other sectors, the document describes how emissions such as carbon dioxide could be regulated through government permits and an emissions trading system similar to one the EPA administers for acid rain pollution. The analysis has been sharply disputed by President Bush’s aides and lobbyists for utilities and major manufacturers, who say that the Clean Air Act was never intended as a tool for fighting global warming.
This is an excellent article and there is much more to read. Please click through to the WSJ site.
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