Washington rules CO2 "not a pollutant"

iBrian

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Really, it's quite astonishing how much the Bush administration will try and squirm out of their responsibility on this issue.

What's really sad, though, is that Global Warming is sure to bite the USA hard.

My intuition tells me that changes in rainfall patterns due to Global Warming are going to have a serious impact on the US agricultural sector.

That's before we even address flooding issues and storm damage.

The short-term chase for profit at a long-term loss is a staggering mentality that is hard to understand.

What's even worse, is that when the US finally turns around and faces this issue, it will likely be quite too late.

At that point is should never be forgotten why the warnings were ignored.

Here's the news report:

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N27198975.htm
EPA to rule won't regulate carbon dioxide emissions

WASHINGTON, Aug 27 (Reuters) - The Bush Administration is set to rule that carbon dioxide is not an air pollutant and that the federal government has no authority to regulate emissions linked to global warming, an environmental group said on Wednesday.

The decision would be a big win for automakers producing high fuel consumption vehicles, such as SUVs, and utilities that operate coal-burning power plants, which collectively account for 60 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.

The Environmental Protection Agency could announce the new policy as early as Thursday, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"It's another huge favor for the Bush administration's big polluter contributors," said David Doniger, policy director of the NRDC's climate center.

"It seems like the Bush White House would say anything for its friends. They would even call a blue sky green," said Doniger, who was told by EPA staff about the agency's imminent decision.

Doniger said the federal Clean Air Act says an air pollutant is defined as any chemical or physical substance that is thrown into the air by human sources -- such as factories or vehicles.

"The EPA is required to regulate any air pollutant which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare," he said.

But Jeff Holmstead, who is EPA's assistant administrator for air quality, said the Clean Air Act was not designed to address global warming.

"I don't think it's our place to be looking for creative interpretations of an act to deal with a major policy issue like this before Congress has spoken with it," he told Reuters.

Holmstead said the agency is reviewing a petition from an environmental group to regulate carbon dioxide emissions produced by automobiles.

He would not speculate on when the EPA would issue a decision on the petition, but said it could "possibly" happen this week.

"We're pretty close to having it done and our response could come out soon," Holmstead added.

Environmental groups have been urging the Bush administration to regulate carbon dioxide emissions and do more to fight global warming.

President George W. Bush angered green groups and the European Union after he withdrew the United States from the international Kyoto treaty that aims to reduce global warming emissions mostly among industrialized countries.

Bush said he was worried the treaty's tough requirements would harm the U.S. economy and instead promoted voluntary efforts by American firms to cut their emissions.

The administration has also said there was no sound scientific proof on what causes global warming and has proposed spending millions of dollars over the next decade to study the issue.

Power plants produce about 40 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, while passenger cars, pickups trucks and SUVs account for another 20 percent.

If I may add to this article a partial transcript here from:

http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript_suzuki.html

Bill Moyer's interview with David T. Suzuki, Phd., an award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster:

MOYERS: We get so many reports of what we're doing to our air, our soil and our water. But I ask you as a scientist, is the diagnosis lethal?

SUZUKI: I don't think anyone can say at what point it will be lethal to us as a species. I like to say that in Canada not long ago, Cape Brettan coalminers took canaries in the coal mine. When the canary keeled over, they didn't say, "Hey, Jack, come on over here. This bird just fell over. What do you think? Do you think it's…" They hauled their backsides outta there as fast as they could go. Birds are, especially canaries are super sensitive to hydrogen sulfide, and sour gas. So, they give you an early warning.

Well, canaries have been falling all around the planet for decades now. Plants and animals that no longer are able to survive in the plan… in the conditions that we've created. And what have we done? We've ignored this. We've always said, "Oh, well, there's plenty more where that came from." There aren't plenty more where that came from. And now our own children have become the canaries. One out of five children in Canada will now have asthma. When you and I were boys, asthma was a rare disease.

And all you have to do is every time you have a smog alert, go down to the emergency room in the hospital, and sit there for a day. You will see that room, those emergency rooms jammed with people in deep respiratory distress. Well, you don't have to be a genius to say, "Maybe it's got something to do with what we're taking into our lungs." And the point of the sacred balance that I did was to say, "Look, people, we can't continue to act as if air is something out there. And we are here. And we manage our interaction with the air."

For the first time in human history we now have to ask what are all six billion people on the planet doing? What is the collective impact of humanity? And because we've never had to do that we're not used to thinking this way. And it's taking time for us to catch up and adjust to this new collectivity.

MOYERS: How much weight do you think the earth can bear?

SUZUKI: That's the big question. We brought an aboriginal Kayapo from the Amazon to Vancouver and I thought, "Boy, is he gonna be impressed with Vancouver. You know, sparkling city, cars." And he looked out and he said, "All of this has come from the earth. How long can the earth keep doing this?" And I thought, "My God, here's a guy right out of the Brazilian rain forest and he sees it immediately."

I thought that the responsibility of every generation was to receive the earth from our ancestors and to pass it on to future generations as we receive that. This hasn't been going on for many generations now. The places that I remember as a child in British Columbia where we went fishing for halibut and sturgeon and salmon I can't take my grandchildren to because there are no fish left. Well, you know, what are we to assume? That the fish that we destroyed are somehow somewhere else? They're not anywhere.

And the thing that hurts me today is that the scientific community overwhelmingly has warned us that global warming is real and that humans are a major contributor to it and that we should do something. The fact that it is still regarded as a theory that is highly controversial has been maintained by the media. The media, aided by huge amounts of funding from corporations, have actively perpetuated the notion this is still a controversial scientific notion.
 
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