The Environmental Protection Agency took a major step Monday toward regulating carbon dioxide, officially concluding that CO2 "pollution," by contributing to "climate change," threatens the human environment and thus the public health.
The announcement came as the Obama administration struggles to arm-twist (or bribe) other nations at an international climate conference in Copenhagen to join it in what those officials are claiming to be America's "aggressive actions to combat global warming," even though Congress has yet to act on climate legislation.
Back in the United States, the EPA said Monday that scientific evidence clearly shows greenhouse gases "threaten the public health and welfare of the American people" and that the pollutants -- the EPA mainly singled out carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, though the oceans are a larger source of the gas, and by far the most prevalent and effective "greenhouse gas" is water vapor -- must be regulated under terms of the Clean Air Act.
Under a Supreme Court ruling, the so-called endangerment finding was needed before the EPA could regulate carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases released from automobiles, power plants and factories.
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 set the first-ever greenhouse gas emissions standards for automobiles and raise fuel economy to 35 mpg by 2016.
"Let's discuss something else that endangers human health," responded U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., chairman of the Republican Study Committee, "the inability to find a job. The EPA has achieved by fiat what leading Democrats in Congress haven't been able to accomplish via legislation -- establish a National Energy Tax. ...
"By seeking to sharply curtail carbon dioxide (and thus energy usage), the EPA is in effect working to decrease economic activity. Less economic activity equals higher unemployment equals more Americans choosing between paying rent and paying for food or medicine. That's not an equation that leads to better human health."
Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, noted that an "endangerment finding from the EPA could result in a top-down, command-and-control regime that will choke off growth by adding new mandates to virtually every major construction and renovation project."
The "science" that predicts disastrous consequences based on today's temperature trends is highly speculative. If EPA officials truly find that "science" convincing (though they are political appointees, let's recall), it's true that the high court's interpretation of the Clean Air Act leaves the EPA with little choice but to proceed with this economically crippling agenda.
The solution lies with the elected Congress. Reform the Clean Air Act -- now. For if this is what the law says, then the law is a ass.