Effect Measure

EPA’s endangerment finding

A little over a week ago the Environmental Protection Agency sent the White House its finding that global warming endangers public health and welfare. This doesn’t sound like news, and except for a minority of scientists out there it is very, very old news. But in the context of a 2007 Supreme Court ruling it is indeed big news:

The proposal — which comes in response to a 2007 Supreme Court decision ordering EPA to consider whether carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases should be regulated under the Clean Air Act — could lay the groundwork for nationwide measures to limit such emissions. It reverses one of the Bush administration’s landmark environmental decisions: In July 2008 then-EPA administrator Stephen Johnson rejected his scientific and technical staff’s recommendation and announced the agency would seek months of further public comment on the threat posed by global warming pollution.

“This is historic news,” said Frank O’Donnell, who heads the public watchdog group Clean Air Watch. “It will set the stage for the first-ever national limits on global warming pollution. And it is likely to help light a fire under Congress to get moving.” (Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post)

This isn’t the first time the EPA has made such a finding. The last time, in the waning months of the Bush administration, senior White House officials stymied EPA scientists by the simple expedient of refusing to open the email. That was a move to protect utilities and automakers, who would have borne the costs, even as other sectors of the economy would have benefitted. Things are different now. Elections matter. And automakers and utilities are embarked on a different path.

Predictably, business groups flipped out, claiming it would lead to economic disaster. Not true, of course. We’re already there, led there by that same business community. It’s possible that some infrastructure projects under Obama’s stimulus plan will be challenged if they are environmentally harmful. As they should be. There is enough infrastructure work to do without doing work that will make things worse. This is the knee-jerk “no” response that has become the only tactic left to a discredited right wing. They continue to argue for maximizing the short term while turning a blind eye to the long term.

As I said, those are the same folks that got us in the mess to begin with.

Comments

  1. #1 M. Randolph Kruger
    March 30, 2009

    I guess that long term for you Revere would be more than four years? The amount of money that Obama is spending on greenthings to subsidize an already subsidized industry should give any scientist a pause. We have Hansen at JPL writing programs to smooth data across 50 years to make GW work, we have scientists leaving because APGW is based upon a computer model and not by even whats outside the door. Canada is covered in ice as is the Arctic and Antarctica is now averaging 3 degrees colder than it has in the last 10 years. Hmmm. So we redirect our efforts towards GW when there likely isnt any and spend a lot of money that will produce zero. I am really worried when a GW person actually gets the podium and says that for green to work that the population of the UK should be reduced by one half, and then someone buys it as a fact. Cant really blame business either Revere. We keep cutting here in the US and they keep building in China/SE Asia. The background levels of these gases is documented by satellite and shows that we could turn everything off here and we might barely pass the established levels of EPA. Even after we cut, and then raised the levels that were acceptable we still didnt make it. So did our population jump, did our cars get dirtier, did we have any more power plants come on line? Nope. So the answer lies somewhere other than the US. Even with 5 million fewer people going to work these last three months the air is no cleaner. Why?

    You are right about one major thing and that is that the carmakers are embarking on a new path….to bankruptcy. Not a soul believes they’ll last until summer with the W. House in charge of compensation, negotiations, pensions and who gets hired and fired. Historic, communist and historic.

    They should have just filed bankruptcy and we could have kept 53 billion dollars. Then that union and pension problem would have been gone. Easier to fund the RTIC than it is the operations of a major corporation. Bad thing about it is that no one is calling them on it.

  2. #2 Sam Dawes
    March 30, 2009

    Get a grip, Randy. Do you really believe the “W. House” will be “in charge of compensation, negotiations, pensions and who gets hired and fired. Historic, communist and historic. . .” at GM? According to the news this morning, the person in line to become CEO is the current President of GM, Fritz Henderson. According to Webster’s on-line dictionary, communism is “a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls the state-owned means of production.” This isn’t what we’ve got, not even close.

  3. #3 Rich
    March 30, 2009

    I usually avoid feeding the trolls and thread hijackers, but Kruger just offers so much to challenge. A conventional banjruptcy would create a wide variety of problems rippling through suppliers, dealers, etc. and would be th final straw in any credibility GM and Chrysler might have as viable entities. As for global warming, Kruger ignores the propoderence of evidence on global warming and tries to reduce it to one statistical model, which is utter nonsense. The Bush administration failed to offer policies to stimulate new, green industry while supporting and often subsidizing traditional, non-growth industries and financial services models that are about creating debt rather than productive capacity.

  4. #4 larrydalooza
    March 30, 2009

    If CO2 causes global warming then butterfly flutter causes hurricanes.

  5. #5 M. Randolph Kruger
    March 30, 2009

    Sam, I can tell you that on two different networks this morning that the word communist was used. I have been saying it for about a month now. I am ahead of the curve. Control of the banks, control of business. Next will be sweeping laws giving the already onerous government more control by establishing a national police force. Bet it would be a terrorist incident that starts that.

    Rich-Every preponderance you would or could cite would be balanced by other evidence that you were and are wrong. APGW is based upon modeling, nothing more. I also believe if you check a bit that its about regulation and this game thats being played out started almost 10 years ago. No regulation and yep, Bush will have to take his hits on it. But thats Administration of existing laws. When they saw the train wreck coming the Dems shouted them down…They are racists !

  6. #6 humorix
    March 30, 2009

    It is true that when I see ( the idea-project) of the Sen D. Feinstein ( D.Ca) to cover 10000 miles ² with solar panels and wind in full desert of warm sand!…
    Whoooâârgh! $$$

  7. #7 paiwan
    March 30, 2009

    Revere,

    In your wonderful parties, do you need to hire a baby sitter or kinder garden teacher to take care of a hyperactive child?

    You stop A, the child will do B. You stop B, the child will do C.

    Sometimes, I sympathized for my sister who was smart to provide a reasonable solution for her kids; when she needed to chat with an important guest from abroad in a buffet. She let the kids drank what they liked, Coke, Sprite, ice-cream and then let them out. Over the main course, we were able to chat without disturbance.

    I think that Obama needs to place the education reform as priority among others. Without good education, basically the defect most serious is garbage in and garbage out- no capability to digest the foods of the main course. :-)

    But then, this blog has been dedicated to public EDUCATION right?

    The most famous Chinese Teacher- Confucius, “His education provides for everyone without any selection.” A great thought!

    So, don’t follow my sister’s example. A black angel in disguise. :-)

  8. #8 Torange
    March 30, 2009

    Yea right. Get on the global cooling bandwagon. The north Pacific is going into it’s 30 year cooling cycle. Volcanic ash is filling the sky blocking sunlight. Something beyond the knowledge of science happened to the sun October 2005 and now the sun is not producing sunspots which means that a new Little Ice Age may be starting. Roofs are caving in because of snow loads.
    You can fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people all the time, etc. but at some point people learn the truth.

  9. #9 M. Randolph Kruger
    March 30, 2009

    My point entirely about air quality, GW and everything else. The only clean energy is nuke and they cant get a permit. They want to turn on all their little gizmos and have power for them. In 5 years they might not be able to. The national power grid wont even be ready to take this green stuff for another 15-20 years, so wheres the power going to go? Nowhere. We constantly talk about air quality, while the Asians are pumping stuff out totally unregulated. The US and EU are regulated but we are supposed to impose yet MORE restrictions on what we can do. Be prepared Torange and Humorix for them to start shouting at you. I am used to it now, but be prepared.

    What is this, the fourth earth day that was celebrated in the snow? Its all wrapped up in this supposed science of clean air resulting in cooler climates. It may be warmer, but when the real science starts coming out, you find that the science being used is far from consensus. In fact more an more are saying no. Czechs, Danes, Japs, Brazil, Kenyans, some Swedes, and one of the big GW proponents says that Cap and Trade is a game to make people rich. It wont clean up the air a bit.

    Eight months ago the APS reversed themselves and didnt call it a myth, just that they had been wrong in their assessments. Thats got 50,000 physicists in it… None of the Petition people.

    http://global-warming.accuweather.com/2008/12/pacific_cooling_blame_it_on_th_1.html

    But we get into the plain facts about our air. We arent going to get it any cleaner until you get the Asians to start at least putting scrubbers on their stack pipes and to quit burning open hearth coal for heat. How about either permitting nukes or allowing for the rebuild of newer coal plants? If you want the lights on in Boston and New York then its time the get the reality check of possible rationing in just a few years. We have peaked on the ability to produce it and solar and wind are at a minimum almost 2000 miles away.

    Clean air? I have put the link up here before to Terra/Modis and it shows exactly where the most dangerous of all the GHG’s (Carbon Monoxide) comes from.. Its China, followed by India and then Thailand. Thailand doesnt burn coal for heat as a rule but it does have a lot of smoggy industries. That stuff floats all the way into Alaska and Hawaii and then into the LA Basin where its trapped. Electric cars? Sorry but the power grid would have to grow by I finally got the number-65% more of production to be able to do it. Rectifiers simply use too much electricity to convert to DC. T

    Those numbskulls in California think that mandating emissions is going to clean up the air.

    Thats like saying that everyone jumping into the water on the Titanic must wear a life jacket. Its still a sinking ship in the middle of the ocean and freezing water. Besides, If GW is true then the results will be the end of several hundred millions of people… Mans the cause? Okay so less men, hence the guy in the UK saying that we need fewer Brits to make it work…

    Glad we got that one figured out.

  10. #10 Torange
    March 30, 2009

    Actually nonfission nonfusion Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) will probably be producing power soon. Check out Widom-Larsen theory.

  11. #11 paiwan
    March 30, 2009

    No matter is LENR or solar energy, the effort is directing at replacing for fossil fuel.

    As the burning of fossil fuel is the cause of global warming or global cooling, we can put aside the topic for a while. No one will argue that it is generating the negative impacts on air quality and it endangers the public health and welfare.

    Yea, we don’t want that our future energy controlled by the hands of irrational dictators some where in the Middle East-the whole world is consent with the benefits that science endeavors will bring to us with hope. Ironically few influential American rich business owners are not consent with this direction. Are they blind or intentionally would like to delay the course of development for their selfish agenda?

    Competence always follows the clear conscience-that what Obama leadership has meant to me.

  12. #12 M. Randolph Kruger
    March 31, 2009

    If Obama’s leadership is what you desire Paiwan… I will give him to you. On one hand you make reference to the dictators controlling the oil. On the other, we cant even drill in our own country because it doesnt represent a sustainable resource, but its okay to buy oil from a shaky source.

    Those business leaders of which I am one ask the big question…. Replace it with WHAT? Solar doesnt work, wind doesnt work. Unless you have something other than oil/coal that I am not aware of then it renders the consideration of what Obama says moot. Even if solar/wind were feasible they cant get approval because of the environmental regulations for it. They are raising hell now because wind is killing migratory birds and affecting some damned turtles.

    Its also questionable as it may change weather patterns and slow the wind so that rain doesnt fall where and when it should. Then what do you do at night when the wind generally isnt blowing and the sun isnt shining? Still have to have oil, gas and coal fired to provide electricity. Everyone has to plug up their Prius and the grid in California and many other places just isnt up to the task. Probably never would be. Ten of the Prius rectifiers is the equivalent of a huge air conditioning compressor. The loads alone make it unfeasible or nearly:

    80 amps and 400 amps, two versions. An air conditioner outside your house generally is considered to be in bad shape if it draws 30. So plug in 300 of them in an LA subdivision at 6 O’clock and be the first guys on your block to set fire to your house. Someone have an answer for this? No. It would take 40 years to replace the grid in S. Cal alone. Copper would be in astronomical demand. So this one isnt going to get it either. Its a gimmick to get money out of the taxpayers. Al Gore will become a billionaire if he is allowed to run a Cap and Trade company. He is already working at it.

    Carbon taxes? Its all based upon models and China certainly isnt going to let us forget Kyoto that was to allow them to operate for 40 years without having to comply. Its not just Obama its the yo-yo’s who have control of Congress in all reality. They are passing laws that they know will kill our economy in lieu of another. Why? After this debacle of the last few months he had better concentrate on just one thing and that is getting it heading in the right direction. Carbon taxes, Cap and Trade are worthless without Asia compliance. We will just ship more of our jobs offshore. None of those business leaders want to do anything but clean up the air, but it has to be economical, it has to WORK and so far there is no promise that solar or wind will produce electricity except in the day. So limiting the amount of oil/coal that we use is a good idea but there isnt enough lithium on this planet to make batteries or a fuel source that is better than coal and oil. Proposals for nukes would be acceptable but even that is environmentalist’ed out. Too dangerous according to them. Waiting for that .38 cents a gallon from the Carter years for “alternative energy sources” to produce something thats workable. As for Obama’s clear conscience – I dont know what news feeds you are watching or what you are talking about. I havent seen a conscience on this guy yet.

    And all I have seen for 40 years is someone telling me constantly that we have to cut emissions and we have, and then…. someone else telling me that the levels are still too high. There is a pollution pump somewhere and we should be stable to slightly lower, but we are not. Industry left starting 20 years ago and we still dont make it? Think about it. EPA is not putting the right face on the bearded monkey. It cant possibly be the US even with Revere’s assertions because it was going up on Reagan 1 and 2, Bush 1, Clinton 1 and 2 and then Bush 1 and 2. If we are and were cutting why is it worse with all of the emission standards? I dont know unless it IS Asia? Its the only viable answer.

  13. #13 Fitz
    March 31, 2009

    Quick, someone decouple this post from the Crazy Train!

  14. #14 Gindy
    March 31, 2009

    “The Bush administration failed to offer policies to stimulate new, green industry while supporting and often subsidizing traditional, non-growth industries and financial services models that are about creating debt rather than productive capacity.”

    The rot that ended up being the Bush admin was started in Reagan’s years.
    His admin was the one that cut investment in green technology and energy independence. Bush et al just helped drown that baby in the bathtub.

  15. #15 humorix
    March 31, 2009

    The feasibilities in materials(subjects) of clean energy are: the wind and the sun. Now, if they are led on a large scale, they are not profitable. Wind turbines = noise. Voltaic photo = deposits(warehouses) of dusts. Only the nuclear power allows to produce the plentiful electricity. Just like streetcars, electric motor car with pantograph under catenary? Why not?!

  16. #16 revere
    March 31, 2009

    humorix: Waste disposal? Diversion? Improper operation and disaster?

  17. #17 humorix
    March 31, 2009

    @ revere
    That’s true that it elimination of waste talks reassured. In France they make reprocess abroad! Who wants it? To take out necessary credit 1000MW in solar energy a 50 mile ground ²! Expense solar power station 60 billions $ + 70 billions $ stocking! For less or equal: nuclear technology develops 20 fois more (20000MW).

  18. #18 pft
    April 1, 2009

    Just a matter of time before we get hit with the breath tax or no breathing w/o a license.

    As for Communism, McCarthy was right. Fascism (corporatism) on the right (Republicans) and socialism on the left (Democrats) are both stepping stones to Global Communism. Bush is as much a Communist as Obama.

    Beware the G-20, what transpires might not come public right away, but the ground work for a new global currency will be laid out. Thats the first step toward global government, and it won’t be a Democracy, and we will be on the way to looking like Zimbabwe economically as we will no longer be able to finance our debt and trade deficits.

  19. #19 Fitz
    April 1, 2009

    pft: Then I guess we better get cracking on setting up a democatic world government eh?

  20. #20 g336
    April 2, 2009

    Randy, the question you need to ask yourself is: “What if I’m wrong?”

    If I’m wrong and climate change is no big deal after all, then what we get are a few hundred nuclear plants and a few million wind turbines we didn’t really need, plus all the jobs and shareholder value associated with them. We also get to watch the Saudis go pound sand rather than pay people to fly planes into buildings.

    If you’re wrong and climate change is as big a deal as the leading scientists in the field think it is, what we get is human extinction.

    Randy, France has 20 years’ experience recycling nuclear waste into new nuclear fuel. No waste disposal problem. As for diversion, it has not happened yet.

    But if you still don’t like uranium, try thorium: can’t be used to make an atomic bomb, and the spent fuel rods are only hazardous for thirty years (or can be recycled). If you’ve ever gone camping and used a Coleman lantern, the lantern mantles were made with thorium. If you’ve ever used Bon Ami scrubbing powder, that used to have thorium in it also. And no history of health problems from people sleeping next to Coleman lanterns or scrubbing their pots & pans with Bon Ami.

    Hansen, Chu, and other people smarter than ourselves all agree that nuclear power is a necessary ingredient in a climate-clean energy mix, right alongside conservation and renewables.

  21. #21 bar
    April 2, 2009

    Looking up sunspots, found interesting effects of sunspots on flu
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunspot#Effects_of_Sunspots_on_Human_Ecology

    Randy: a carbon tax need not make US economy suffer in comparison to others, it all depends how it is applied.

    For instance, offer carbon rebates to all exporters, and apply a carbon tax to all imports (based on calculation of carbon pollution in overseas production). Incidentally, human labour should attract a carbon tax.

  22. #22 Alex
    February 3, 2010

    Don’t want to be pessimistic but here’s an interesting cartoon on climate change and sustainability:

    http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=1146

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