POLITICAL observations & opinions

* the EPA’s regulation of climate altering gases in 2011 provides an important focus for us to see who chooses to govern for the benefit of our country and our planet … and who chooses to play partisan politics no matter what the issue

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 1, 2011

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The greenhouse effect is the rise in temperature that the Earth experiences because certain gases in the atmosphere (water vapor, carbon dioxidenitrous oxide, and methane, for example) trap energy from the sun. Without these gases, heat would escape back into space and Earth’s average temperature would be about 60ºF colder. Because of how they warm our world, these gases are referred to as greenhouse gases. … http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/kids/greenhouse.html

Since the 1800s,  CO2 concentrations worldwide have increased from approximately 280 ppm (or 0.028%) to around 365 ppm (0.0365%). The increase seems trivial, but it also means that some 3 gigatons (3 billion metric tons) of  CO2 are being added to the atmosphere every year. Because  CO2 is a powerful greenhouse gas, we can reasonably conclude that the earth’s temperature should go up as  CO2 concentrations increase. In fact, climatologists have detected a steady but small increase in global average temperatures over the last few decades, based on weather data collected all around the world. Six of the last ten were the hottest years on record. … http://www.ucar.edu/learn/1_4_1.htm

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John Broder writes in the NYT (12/30/10) …

  • With the federal government set to regulate climate-altering gases from factories and power plants for the first time, the Obama administration and the new Congress are headed for a clash that carries substantial risks for both sides.
  • While only the first phase of regulation takes effect on Sunday, the administration is on notice that if it moves too far and too fast in trying to curtail the ubiquitous gases that are heating the planet it risks a Congressional backlash that could set back the effort for years.
  • But the newly muscular Republicans in Congress could also stumble by moving too aggressively to handcuff the Environmental Protection Agency, provoking a popular outcry that they are endangering public health in the service of their well-heeled patrons in industry.
  • President Obama vowed as a candidate that he would put the United States on a path to addressing climate change by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas pollutants. He offered Congress wide latitude to pass climate change legislation, but held in reserve the threat of E.P.A. regulation if it failed to act. The deeply polarized Senate’s refusal to enact climate change legislation essentially called his bluff.
  • Lisa P. Jackson, administrator of the E.P.A., has promised to pursue a measured and moderate course. The agency announced last week that it would not even begin issuing standards for compliance until the middle of 2011, and when it did so the rules would not impose unreasonable costs on industry.
  • But the reaction in Congress and industry has been outsized, with some likening the E.P.A. to terrorists and others vowing to choke off the agency’s financing for all air-quality regulation. A dozen states have filed suit to halt the new greenhouse gas rules, with one, Texas, flatly refusing to comply with any new orders from Washington.
  • Two federal courts, including one this week in Louisiana, have refused to issue restraining orders halting the implementation of the new rules. But late Thursday, a federal appeals court in Washington temporarily blocked the E.P.A. from enforcing its rules in Texas while the courts consider whether the federal agency has the right to take over the Texas program. The courts have not yet ruled on the legality of the broader federal program.

read the entire article at … http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/31/science/earth/31epa.html?ref=science

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LMW COMMENT …

the EPA’s regulation of climate altering gases in 2011 provides an important focus for us to see who chooses to govern for the benefit of our country and our planet … and who chooses to play partisan politics no matter what the issue

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