With the Supreme Court deciding yesterday to hear a case challenging the Bush administration's enforcement of the Clean Air Act (Times coverage here, Post here), the Center for American Progress has issued the following Talking Points memo framing the issue of climate change around PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY. At issue, argues the Center, is that the Bush administration is formulating policy based on industry manipulated science. Efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions have been stalled, despite the fact that, according to the Center's interpretation, polls show that the public wants action. Moreover, Bush has failed to live up to his campaign promise to take action on greenhouse gases. See memo below.
Tackling Global Warming
June 27, 2006
Yesterday, the Supreme Court agreed to consider a case that "could be one of the court's most important ever on the environment." Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency emerged in 2003 after the EPA rejected a petition calling for the federal government to restrict emissions of greenhouse gases -- most notably, carbon dioxide. Ultimately, the Supreme Court's ruling "could determine how the nation addresses global warming." Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-VT) is optimistic about the court's decision. "It is encouraging that the high court feels this case needs to be reviewed," said Jeffords, a supporter of carbon dioxide regulation. "It is high time to stop relying on technicalities and finger pointing to avoid action on climate change."
* Science is being manipulated by industry and the right. In 1999, Bush called carbon dioxide "one of four main pollutants" that needed "mandatory reduction targets for emissions." But he changed his position in a 2003 letter that claimed it "is not a 'pollutant' under the Clean Air Act." (Not surprisingly, the American Petroleum Institute agrees: "Fundamentally, we don't think carbon dioxide is a pollutant.") Meanwhile, the EPA's own Web site defines carbon dioxide as "Industrial Air Pollution" that contributes to "global climate change."
* There are new studies that strengthen the case for action against global warming. The National Academy of Sciences, a "private organization chartered by Congress to advise the government of scientific matters," found in their comprehensive study of climate change data that "recent warmth is unprecedented for at least the last 400 years and potentially the last several millennia." More importantly, the study "supports the conclusion that human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming." The National Center for Atmospheric Research revealed one of the consequences of our actions: stronger hurricane activity. In addition, researchers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Kansas recently reported that Greenland's glaciers "are melting twice as fast as they were five years ago."
* The American people want action on global warming. Despite the best efforts from the right and the Bush administration, the American public does want the government to act. (Find out what you can do here.) A CBS News poll found that 66 percent of Americans think global warming is impacting us now, and in a Gallup conducted in March, 75 percent of Americans favored "mandatory controls on carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases." Despite campaign promises to the contrary, President Bush opposes mandatory reductions. Instead, he favors "voluntary measures" that "have yet to deliver promised results."