A Few Things Ill Considered

This just reported today from the Washington Post:

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a proposal today finding greenhouse gas emissions pose a danger to the public’s health and welfare, a determination that could trigger a series of sweeping regulations affecting everything from vehicles to coal-fired power plants.

In a statement issued at noon, EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson said, “This finding confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations.”

She added, “This pollution problem has a solution — one that will create millions of green jobs and end our country’s dependence on foreign oil.”

The finding identifies six gases — carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluorid — as contributing to global warming.

This sounds like progress.

Some other key quotes:

Global warming also poses a national security threat, the statement added, as well as an environmental one.

and:

The proposed endangerment finding states, “In both magnitude and probability, climate change is an enormous problem.”

and something from an old friend:

Fred Singer, who heads the Arlington, Va.-based Science and Environmental Policy Project and has repeatedly questioned the idea that humans contribute to climate change, said in a statement that the EPA proposal “is based on shoddy science and would impose a huge economic burden on American household”

Didn’t he say that about the ozone depletion problem and cigarrette smoking?

Comments

  1. #1 Adam
    April 17, 2009

    Wow, an Environmental Protection Agency that…. protects the environment. It’s a testament to how awful things were during Bush’s terms that that’s actually a somewhat surprising thing. This will take some getting used to.

  2. #2 Betula
    April 17, 2009

    Adam…..”Wow, an Environmental Protection Agency that…. protects the environment”

    Adam, what I think you meant to say is an Environmental Protection Agency that is “reasonably likely” to protect the environment, while destroying the economy.

    Why do I think that? Let’s look at the proposal.

    1.”emissions from cars and trucks are reasonably likely to contribute to climate change.”

    Ok, so we see here the EPA will put regulations on cars and trucks to protect a “reasonably likely” environmental problem.

    2. Destroying the economy? As if it weren’t bad enough, here’s what the report says…

    “experts predicted the decision would transform the federal government’s role in regulating commercial operations across the country”

    “It effectively will assign EPA broad authority over the use and control of energy, in turn authorizing it to regulate virtually every sector of the economy.”

    The Government regulating every sector of the economy….gee, what could possibly go wrong?

    Can you give me an example of a Government that boosted an economy or created a thriving economy by increasing regulations on every sector of it?

    And could someone please explain to me “the disproportionate impact climate change has on the health of certain segments of the population” in America, “such as the poor” and “those living alone.”

    Finally, a suggestion to the EPA when writing proposals…..don’t keep interchanging the phrases “Global Warming” and “Climate Change”. Haven’t you been informed that Global Warming is out and Climate Change is in? Climate change is a much broader term that can be applied to any environmental event, because of this, it can get more news coverage and reach more people. It also comes in handy during disasters of all types in terms of scaring people. After all, we can’t escape the climate and sooner or later it will get revenge on us for living in it.

  3. #3 Betula
    April 17, 2009

    Adam,

    I meant to say what could go wrong with the EPA regulating every sector of the economy, not the Government regulating every sector.

    The Government already has some form of regulation in all sectors, mostly for good reason, though I don’t believe they regulate the buying and selling of carbon offsets.

    Any incurred costs due to increased EPA regulations, taxes, fines etc. will simply be passed be on to the consumer. You don’t have to be an economist to figure out what happens from there.

  4. #4 Adam
    April 17, 2009

    Betula –

    Still obsessing over the language, then? If I were “reasonably likely” to rob your house, wouldn’t you want the police to get involved? If you were “reasonably likely” to contract a deadly disease, wouldn’t you go to a doctor? If it were “reasonably likely” to rain, wouldn’t you carry an umbrella?

    …while destroying the economy.
    Gee, who’s fearmongering now.

    Can you give me an example of a Government that boosted an economy or created a thriving economy by increasing regulations on every sector of it?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Deal
    QED

    If you’re uncomfortable with the EPA regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions, I highly recommend contacting your Congressman and Senators, and getting them to support cap-and-trade legislation.

  5. #5 Adam
    April 17, 2009

    Betula -

    Didn’t catch your last post before I replied. Ignore my response to that.

    I meant to say what could go wrong with the EPA regulating every sector of the economy, not the Government regulating every sector

    My last comment is applicable here, If you’re uncomfortable with the EPA regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions, I highly recommend contacting your Congressman and Senators, and getting them to support cap-and-trade legislation.

  6. #6 Pat
    April 17, 2009

    I hope texas does opt out of US. Ican buy a hat and a truck and move south. CO2 does not cause GW. This will be more wasteful than all the wars ever fought (IMHO)

  7. #7 Trent1492
    April 18, 2009

    I hope texas does opt out of US. Ican buy a hat and a truck and move south. CO2 does not cause GW.

    A statement that is true only for the willfully ignorant.

  8. #8 Betula
    April 18, 2009

    Adam

    You write….”If I were “reasonably likely” to rob your house, wouldn’t you want the police to get involved? If you were “reasonably likely” to contract a deadly disease, wouldn’t you go to a doctor? If it were “reasonably likely” to rain, wouldn’t you carry an umbrella”

    I have never heard of anyone ever being arrested or fined for “reasonably likely” robbing someone.

    I have never heard of anyone going to the doctor because they “reasonably likely” may contract the flu.

    I have worked outside my entire life and find it “reasonably likely” hard to work while carrying an umbrella. In fact, I don’t own one.

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand what your saying. It’s like having a pre-crime unit that can see the future and arrest people before they committ the crime. You should be a science fiction writer, unfortunately this story has already been done…….
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHAxyRXabAw&feature=related

  9. #9 Betula
    April 18, 2009

    Adam.

    Your link to the New Deal in response to my question is arguable. This from your link….

    “Some economists, including at least three Nobel Laureates, argue that neither the war nor New Deal policies ended the Great Depression.[52][53] Rather, a return to normality after the war, as the government relaxed wage controls, price controls, capital controls, reduced tariffs and other trade barriers, and eliminated the rationing of goods and the relaxing of Federal control over American industries, ended it.”

    In addition, I would question how some of the reminants of the New Deal are working out for us today and in the future such as the Social Security System (which will be depleted by 2040), The SEC (good job on the oversight) and Fannie Mae (no explanation needed).

  10. #10 steve
    April 18, 2009

    Humans exhale CO2. Plants photosynthesize CO2. And now the government, in all of its infinite wisdom, is declaring CO2 a pollutant. Simply amazing. Why don’t they declare H2O as a pollutant since that is the number 1 greenhouse gas.

  11. #11 Betula
    April 18, 2009

    Steve,

    You mean to tell me you didn’t sign the petition to ban H20?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xi1LU45Nip0

  12. #12 Adam
    April 18, 2009

    Betula -

    I have never heard of anyone ever being arrested or fined for “reasonably likely” robbing someone.
    Likely right, but action on your part (getting the cops involved) might prevent a negative consequence of inaction (getting robbed), even if no one is arrested or fined.

    I have never heard of anyone going to the doctor because they “reasonably likely” may contract the flu.
    Really? No one you know gets a flu shot? I get one every year.

    I have worked outside my entire life and find it “reasonably likely” hard to work while carrying an umbrella. In fact, I don’t own one.
    Okay, I’ll give you this one. If you don’t mind getting wet, it doesn’t make sense to carry an umbrella.

    You can snark about it all you want, but it’s pretty silly to refuse to admit that people make plans for the future based on the likelihood of events.

  13. #13 Ada,
    April 18, 2009

    Steve –

    Water vapor isn’t declared a pollutant because it’s atmospheric concentrations are not increasing due to human activity.

  14. #14 Betula
    April 18, 2009

    Adam.

    I’ve been waiting for the flu comment, and you are correct, though people take them on a volunteer basis.

    I realize talking about Flu shots appears to be off subject, but it really relates as an example of what can happen when the Government intervenes for the good of us all.

    With Flu vaccines, the problem began in 1993 with Hillary Clinton’s Vaccine for Children Program. The idea sounded good……make Flu shots more available to the poor and uninsured Children. Who could be against that?

    This resulted in the government becoming the largest purchaser of the vaccines and allowed them to set a cap on the prices they would pay the manufacturers. Over time, this resulted in a reduced number of U.S. companies manufacturering the vaccines as the profit margin was gone and the risk was too high.

    You may remember back in 2004 there were only 2 companies that supplied the U.S. with flu vaccine and they were both overseas. One of them, Chiron company, made a bad batch that resulted in a flu vaccine shortage for the U.S. Of course, it was an election year so it became a fear based political issue. Do you remember the fear created when we were told of all the Senior citizens that were at risk? C’mon, we had to scare them, they’re such a large voting block.

    Which leads me back to the subject of the EPA regulating all sectors of the economy……..what could possibly go wrong?

  15. #15 coby
    April 18, 2009

    Steve, it is not as ridiculous as you make it out to be. Many natural substances are considered pollutants in certain contexts. Words have definitions, how do you think “pollutant” is defined?

  16. #16 Steve
    April 18, 2009

    So if you broaden the definition enough, almost anything can be considered a pollutant, in the right context of course. Kinda scary.

    Can anyone answer this? How can you say that something (CO2) that is only about 0.038% of the Earth’s atmosphere have such a significant affect on global temperatures and at the same time natural forces are relegated to having a minimal, if any, impact at all. It just doesn’t make sense.

  17. #17 Steve
    April 18, 2009

    By the way, has anyone seen the lastest Arctic Sea Ice graph? Now that the Earth has actually been on a cooling trend for the last few years the ice is coming back. Check it out.

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png

  18. #18 coby
    April 19, 2009

    Steve, the talking point is cooling trend for last 11 years. It is not true.

    And here is a better graphic if you are interested in the arctic sea ice trend:
    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/n_plot_hires.png

    It remains down. Individual annual data points are subject to too much natural variation (aka weather) for one to make any inferences from just two or three years.

  19. #19 Steve
    April 19, 2009

    I didn’t say cooling trend for last 11 years. I’m not interested in talking points, otherwise I would have used it. I said last few years. I believe the temps peaked around 2001 and have been on a general downward trend since. Still higher than overall average but going down. As far as the graphicss, they are both correct. The short term trend does indicate ice extent is increasing. Does that mean the long term will show the same? No. How much time is needed for there to be a long term trend? 5 years? 10 years? 20? At some point in the future we will see. You may be right? I may be crazy(In the words of Billy Joel).

    It is interesting how people view data and information in completely different ways though.

  20. #20 Steve
    April 19, 2009

    Here is an even better graphic than your graphic.

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Extent.png

  21. #21 Betula
    April 19, 2009

    To all AGW alarmists…

    Be careful, it’s been discovered that recycling contributes to global Warming…

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/17/the-antarctic-wilkins-ice-shelf-collapse-media-recycles-photos-and-storylines-from-previous-years/

  22. #22 Adam
    April 19, 2009

    Betula -

    Interesting that you should mention VFC, because it’s one of the most successful programs from the Clinton administration.

    And with immunization coverage rates up dramatically-90 percent of two-year-olds now receive the most critical doses of vaccines-and the most virulent infectious diseases virtually eradicated in the U.S., it can claim a large share of credit for the gains. VFC “is one of the great success stories of the 1990s,” said Dean Mason, chief of the program support branch of CDC’s National Immunization Program. “It represents a superb partnership between the federal government and private physicians, public clinics and states. What more could you ask?” Since VFC’s passage, added Tom Pendergrass, M.D., who practices at Children’s Hospital in Seattle and chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics’ state government affairs committee, the nation “has achieved the highest rates of vaccinations for kids ever, in part because of the focus it brought to the issue” and in part because of improvements in the delivery infrastructure.
    http://www.ncsl.org/programs/health/vaccines.htm

    But, GASP, HILLARY CLINTON was involved, so it MUST be bad! If the EPA can institute a program to regulate CO2 emissions HALF as effective as the VFC program, I’ll be over the moon.

    Steve -

    I believe the temps peaked around 2001 and have been on a general downward trend since.

    This is just blatantly incorrect. How can you possibly have fully formed views on the matter if you can’t even be bothered to look up the pertinent information?
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2008/pr20081216.html

    If you’re going to cherry-pick data, at least make sure you cherry-pick accurately.

    Here is an even better graphic than your graphic.

    Yes, yes, we get it, the Arctic sea ice is more extensive in 2009 than 2007. Why you think that this is more significant than sea ice being more extensive in 1997 than in 1996, however, continues to elude me. All it says to me is, there are fluctuations over a long-term trend.

  23. #23 Steve
    April 19, 2009

    You pick your cherries. I pick mine.

    As I asked before, how is it possible that CO2 can have such a strong impact on global temps when it is only 0.038% of the Earth’s atmosphere? It is 0.038%, right? And all these other natural forces are considered to have minimal impact in comparison. Also, how much of that 0.038% is contributed by man?

  24. #24 Doug Mackie
    April 19, 2009

    Note to self: do not feed the trolls.
    But…

    Steve,

    Are you willing to take a challenge to drink a shot of your choice of beverage to which I have added 0.038% of a little something and see just how insignificant it is? Context. Context.

  25. #25 Chris
    April 20, 2009

    I’d take that challenge, Doug. .038% of a standard United States shot is something on the order of twenty microliters of fluid (or twenty micrograms of solid stuff). Even the most dangerous of poisons would probably have little to no impact with that small a dosage. But nice try.

    Anyway, labeling C02 a pollutant is very silly. I can’t wait until this all blows over.

  26. #26 Betula
    April 20, 2009

    Chris,

    Unless you added .038% of C02 to the shot.

    That may/might possibly could, most likely probably would result in an adverse side effect such as a catastrophic rise in bladder levels.

  27. #27 Steve
    April 20, 2009

    CO – Bad. CO2 – Good. How is that for context?

  28. #28 Adam
    April 20, 2009

    Chris –

    I’d take that challenge, Doug. .038% of a standard United States shot is something on the order of twenty microliters of fluid (or twenty micrograms of solid stuff). Even the most dangerous of poisons would probably have little to no impact with that small a dosage. But nice try.

    Please see botulinum toxin (LD50 0.000001 mg/kg) and polonium-210 (LD50 0.00001 mg/kg) and then tell me how safe 20 micrograms of poisons and toxins are. But nice try.

    Anyway, labeling C02 a pollutant is very silly. I can’t wait until this all blows over.

    It’s only silly if you have demonstrated no ability to do any basic research, as can be seen by your above comment on poisons and toxins.

    There are innumerable examples of small quantities of something having significant effect. You are welcome to use Le Google to pursue your own research if you desire, and are serious about learning the science. Somehow, I doubt this is the case.

  29. #29 Steve
    April 20, 2009

    Calling CO2 a toxin or pollutant does not make it so. You are comparing botulinum and polonium with CO2. That’s a good comparison.

    How much CO2 would I have to injest to poison me? Or how much photosynthesis of CO2 does it take to poison plants?

  30. #30 coby
    April 20, 2009

    Steve, you are dodging the issues here. You ridiculed the notion that .038% of anything could have any effect. The examples were provided to you to demonstrate that your principal is wrong, therefore your conclusion is unsupported. Small fractions of the atmosphere can and do have significant effects.

    You are also back where we were a few comments up about pollutants. Please answer my request to provide us with your definition of pollutant. If you make a sincere effort you might find it is actually a subtle and difficult thing to define.

  31. #31 Doug Mackie
    April 20, 2009

    Chris and Steve

    Still willing to take the challenge? If so I shall be only too happy to increase the average IQ of your home countries.

    Have the grace to admit that you are wrong to say that
    because a substance is absolutely low then it can not have a significant effect.

    With respect to CO2 in the atmosphere, David Archer does this one pretty well.

    You also appear to have forgotten that, in addition to the absolute amount, the rate of change is also important. At the end of a glaciation CO2 changes by ~0.01 ppmv and ecosystems mostly cope. CO2 is now going up by ~2 ppmv per year – about 200 times faster.

  32. #32 Betula
    April 20, 2009

    Steve,

    You have to admit you learned something about AGW here, at least I admit I have……

    Never drink a solution that contains .038% botulinum or polonium 210.

    On another note, there is no available data for the LD50 of C02 gas. The closest thing I could find is a permissible exposer limit (PEL) of 5000 ppm from OSHA.

    Now that I think about it, we have a choice. Take a solution with polonium 210 now, or risk the chance of AGW forcing us to become cannibals in 29 years (the video is from a year ago)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSlB1nW4S54

  33. #33 Betula
    April 20, 2009

    Adam,

    I missed your brilliant insight at #22. I’d love to give it a long response, but I will keep it brief..

    This started by my asking what could possibly go wrong with the EPA regulating all sectors of the economy. I later gave an example of problems arising from the VFC program.

    Once again, the question was… what could go wrong?

    You responded with a link giving a glowing account of the VFC program.

    Here’s my problem:

    1. Are you saying there wasn’t a problem with a shortage of Flu vaccines in 2004 as a result of this program? If there wasn’t then why was Rohm Emanuel trying to remedy the problem in 2005?
    http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/il05_emanuel/Flu_protection_act.html

    I like this line from the link…. “This year, the contamination of the Chiron plant and the resulting shortage showed the problems that can result from being dependent on so few vaccine manufacturers”

    Why so few manufactures Adam?

    2. Your link provides additional and more recent problems with the program….

    “In a June report, for example, the Institute of Medicine warned that the immunization system “is beginning to show signs of strain.” To shore it up and to integrate public and private vaccination efforts, it called for a $1.5 billion, five-year investment by states and the federal government-an annual increase of $175 million over current spending”

    Imagine that, more money needed.

    3. Also in your link, I like the rave review of the VFC program by Dean Mason, the same man who was responsible for the planning, policy development, training and implementation of the program. I’m sure coming from him, that means a lot to him.

  34. #34 Adam
    April 20, 2009

    Betula -

    Never said there weren’t problems with VFC, only that, by and large, it’s been an enormously successful program. Besides, there are government programs that have been far more of a clusterf*ck. I’m quite prepared to admit that many programs are a waste of time/money/energy/whatever, but you can pick a far better one than VFC.

    In any case, I’ll trust Dean Mason on this one, seems to me he has slightly more credibility than you.

  35. #35 Crakar14
    April 20, 2009

    A question that i do not think has been raised is what level of CO2 is a pollutant, or is all CO2 a pollutant regardless of how much there is. Does the EPA give high and low limits etc?

    If CO2 levels fall below 150ppm then all plant life and then us will die, if it falls below 200ppm then plant growth stops not good for agriculture. So is it safe to say that below 200ppm CO2 is NOT a pollutant?

    The pre-industrial levels of CO2 were about 285ppm, so is it safe to say that this level occurred naturally therefore at this level CO2 is NOT a pollutant?

    As CO2 levels have been as high as 7000ppm in the past and the Earth DID NOT boil dry is it safe to say that 7000ppm is a safe upper level?

    My point here is to try and understand the logic and what is hoped to be achieved by this new EPA regulation, as i see it everything that produces CO2 from transport, energy production down to cans of coke and humans breathing will now be considered a danger to public health and welfare.

    But what will this achieve? The only answer i can see is it will allow then to apply a TAX to it. But it will not reduce the levels down to the mythical (IPCC doctrine) safe level will it.

    Cheers

    Crakar

  36. #36 Steve
    April 22, 2009

    Everyone is an expert.

    What in the world would you people do if you found the sky actually wasn’t falling? Good Lord!

    I defer to Crakar14 post above.

  37. #37 Adam
    April 22, 2009

    Crakar –

    Considering that CO2 concentrations are in no danger of going beneath 200ppm anytime soon, this scenario is irrelevant.

    As CO2 levels have been as high as 7000ppm in the past and the Earth DID NOT boil dry is it safe to say that 7000ppm is a safe upper level?
    @4500 ppm:
    sea levels were 30m – 70m higher
    temperatures were averaged around 21 deg C
    there were no land plants
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambrian

    So no, I think it’s safe to say that 7000ppm is not a safe upper limit for humanity, or most species in existence today.

    My point here is to try and understand the logic and what is hoped to be achieved by this new EPA regulation,

    The logic is to try to prevent a global catastrophe. There’s some debate around what an upper limit to CO2 concentrations should be, but I’ve seen 450-500ppm mentioned quite a bit. So the ultimate goal of regulations is to try to keep concentrations below this.

    Of course, these regulations will also address the other gases they identified, so it’s not just limited to carbon dioxide.

    as i see it everything that produces CO2 from transport, energy production down to cans of coke and humans breathing will now be considered a danger to public health and welfare.

    Considering that the large majority of increased greenhouse gas concentrations are from burning fossil fuels, deforestation and industrial agriculture, these are the most likely areas of impact. You’re not going to have to walk around with a carbon dioxide collector on your back.

    But what will this achieve? The only answer i can see is it will allow then to apply a TAX to it. But it will not reduce the levels down to the mythical (IPCC doctrine) safe level will it.

    Any economist will tell you that increasing the price of something (such as by taxing it) will affect the demand. It will not keep CO2 concentrations below 450-500 ppm on its own, this is true, but is one necessary part of a whole.

    Hope this helps.

  38. #38 Crakar14
    April 30, 2009

    Adam,

    the dierence between 0.02% and 0.038% of the atmosphere is very small so there could be a chance the levels could drop this low (if we stop producing CO2 ourselves) so my point is relevent.

    Please refrain from using wiki as a source, i will ignore this and maintain my stance that 7000ppm could be an upper safe limit (but am willing to be convinced otherwise by a more reliable source)

    You said “Any economist will tell you that increasing the price of something (such as by taxing it) will affect the demand” Yes this is true when the consumer has an alternative. In this case there is no alternative so the demand will be the same just an extra tax applied.

    For example i use electrickery to power my home, it then jumps up in price due to tax what is the alternative power source available to me?

    For example my food bill jumps up due to a tax what is the alternative food source available to me.

    For example i exhale many times a day it now costs me money to exhale what is my alternative here?