Monday, December 7, 2009

Bloomberg article: EPA’s Carbon Decision Gives Obama Copenhagen Tool

I sincerely hope Mr. Efstathiou does not mind that I am copying his article into my blog, but I think it is vitally important that people know what our government is doing. It is yet another move on the part of those in power "behind the throne" toward their goals. Wouldn't it be delicious if we knew what all of those goals include? Some we can guess: one world government, one world currency; but others, well, we can only suppose and at long last, the conservatives are beginning (finally!) to realize that supposing isn't enough. We have been caught unawares while the progressives have been patiently, diligently working for well over 100 years to move our precious country from a republic to a socialist state. This move by the EPA is one more step in that horrible direction. I implore you, I beg you, get involved with the nearest Tea Party or 9/12 Project or some other conservative organization and help to take back control of the government before it's too late, if it isn't already. God bless America - but we have to do the work!
EPA’s Carbon Decision Gives Obama Copenhagen Tool (Update1)
By Jim Efstathiou Jr. and Daniel Whitten

Dec. 7 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared carbon dioxide a health hazard today, paving the way for new regulation of emissions from sources such as power plants, factories, cars and trucks.

The decision lets the agency develop rules to govern heat- trapping pollution that many scientists say may lead to irreversible climate shifts. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in Washington that the decision is “overwhelmingly” supported by science.

The move, on the opening day of an international climate summit in Copenhagen, arms President Barack Obama with new regulatory powers that could help forge consensus in efforts to curb global warming. Obama also gains standing when asking other nations to make commitments for a new global climate treaty, said Kevin Book, a Washington-based managing director for analysis firm ClearView Energy Partners LLC.

“It’s exactly what you would want to have in your bag on the way to Copenhagen,” Book said in an interview today. “You can’t go and argue for other nations to make changes if you haven’t made any yourself.”

Obama plans to visit Copenhagen at the close of the talks on Dec. 18, when other world leaders will be there, rather than this week as originally planned.

Autos, Factories

The EPA decision puts the U.S. on a path to finding “practical” solutions to climate change and giving businesses and investors certainty in investments geared toward clean- energy technology, Jackson said. The rules won’t burden small businesses, Jackson said.

“It also means that we arrive at the climate talks in Copenhagen with a clear demonstration of our commitment to facing this global challenge,” Jackson said.

The Washington-based America Petroleum Institute, which represents oil companies, said today the EPA rules will be “inefficient and excessively costly.” The National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, also based in Washington, said the proposed new rules are based on “selective science.”

“The implications of today’s action by EPA are far- reaching,” Charles Drevna, president of the refiners group, said in a statement. “This is yet another example of federal policy makers failing to consider the long-term consequences of a regulatory action.”

The first regulations under today’s finding will be made final in March and cover emissions from cars and trucks beginning with model year 2012, said David Doniger, policy director for the climate center of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group based in New York. Automakers signed on to that plan, announced in May.

Best Available Controls

Starting “next spring,” stationary pollution sources such as factories and power plants must begin using the best available emissions control technology when they build new facilities or expand existing ones, Jackson said. The agency has said it would regulate only facilities that produce 25,000 tons of CO2 a year or more.

Jackson dismissed claims by skeptics of man’s contribution to global warming that recently disclosed private e-mails among scientists show a conspiracy to manipulate findings about climate change. Phil Jones, a professor and director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, where the e-mails were stored on a computer, stepped aside temporarily last week pending a review.

Hacked E-Mails

“There is nothing in the hacked e-mails that undermines the science upon which this decision is based,” Jackson said. “We know that skeptics have and will continue to sow doubt about the science.”

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs announced on Dec. 4 that Obama will show up for the conclusion of the talks in Copenhagen, when about 100 heads of government are going, and help guide decisions. Earlier Obama had planned to stop by on Dec. 9. “There is progress toward a meaningful Copenhagen accord,” Gibbs said.

The U.S., the world’s second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, is in the spotlight at the talks in part because lawmakers haven’t approved legislation to set a mandatory limit on carbon-dioxide gas that many scientists say could lead to dangerous climate shifts if left unchecked.

“To have this come out now is another concrete sign that the Obama administration is joining the fight on global warming,” Doniger said of EPA rules.

Chamber of Commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s biggest business-lobbying group, says EPA regulation of carbon would be “burdensome” to businesses and hurt the economy. Chamber President Tom Donohue has said the Washington-based agency, whose top administrator is chosen by the White House, was basing its proposed finding on “shaky, cherry-picked data.”

The U.S. House passed legislation in June to cap carbon emissions and set up a market for the trading of pollution allowances. The Senate has yet to act.

A climate bill from Congress remains the best way for the U.S. to develop clean energy sources and fight global warming, Jackson said. Rules the EPA can enforce under the Clean Air Act complement Congress’s efforts, Jackson said.

The EPA move “hopefully encourages people in the Senate and House” to move forward with legislation,” U.S. Senator John Kerry, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said in an interview in Copenhagen where he is attending the climate summit. A bill better takes into account the needs of various parties, Kerry said.

Lack of Guidance

Lack of guidance from the Senate, the only U.S. body authorized to ratify treaties, left Obama’s negotiators in Denmark without firm guidelines on how to proceed.

The administration’s use of the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases under existing law provides a “primary catalyst” for Congress to act, Book said.

The EPA’s action today “cites the inevitability that we’ll be living in a carbon constrained world,” Richard Sandor, chairman of Climate Exchange Plc, owner of emissions markets in London and Chicago, said today in an interview.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jim Efstathiou Jr. in New York at Daniel Whitten in Washington at Last Updated: December 7, 2009 15:48 EST