Ever since I posted articles on the topic of greenhouse gas, I have been receiving some pretty interesting emails. I have responded to some here and I have also deleted some because they were more like rants than comments.
One reader who used a manual typewriter and mailed in his letter (rant) to my editor at Pollution Engineering claimed that global warming is all but a hoax perpetuated by Al Gore and the liberals. Another said that the Supreme Court was made up of a “bunch of stupid lawyers” and that the scientists at EPA sold out to their political masters. I can go on but I won’t.
Here is the real scoop as I can best figure out.
Several years ago, a number of states filed a lawsuit against the Bush EPA for failing to regulate CO2 emissions from cars. The Bush EPA’s position was that it did not have the authority to regulate CO2 under the Clean Air Act. The Appellate Court in Washington DC sided with EPA. The states appealed the case to the Supreme Court.
The landmark Supreme Court case (Massachusetts et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency et al. No. 05–1120) was decided on April 2, 2007.
Here is what the court said:
CO2 is an air pollutant under the Clean Air Act because §7602(g) of the Act defines “air pollutant” as “any air pollution agent or combination of such agents, including any physical, chemical . . . substance or matter which is emitted into or otherwise enters the ambient air . . . .” The Court told EPA that since CO2 is a pollutant, the Clean Air Act requires EPA to regulate it IF it finds that CO2 impacts “public health and welfare”.
The Court reminded the Bush EPA that the purpose of the Clean Air Act as mandated by Congress is to “protect and enhance the quality of Nation’s air resources so as to promote the public health and welfare and the productive capacity of its population.” The law further defines the term “effects on welfare” to include “effects on soils, water, crops, vegetation, man-made materials, animals, wildlife, weather, visibility, and climate…..”
So EPA’s responsibility and obligation under the Act are quite clear.
For those inclined on conspiracies who claim that the Clean Air Act, the Supreme Court and EPA are part of a liberal conspiracy to dream up climate change as a hoax on humanity, I only need to remind them that the Clean Air Act was signed into law in 1990 by a Republican President – George H.W. Bush. He could have vetoed it but he didn’t. Majority of the justices on the Supreme Court that ruled on this case were appointed by Republican presidents. Even the Bush EPA admitted that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. It just didn’t want to regulate it.
So what is now before the EPA is very simple. If it finds that CO2 endangers “public health and welfare”, it has no choice but to regulate it. It is the law of the land as demanded by the Clean Air Act and reaffirmed by the Supreme Court.
By the way – for those of you who may be impressed by pedigree: The U.S. National Academy of Science believes in global warming too! It is asking for quicker response to deal with the problem. Perhaps it is part of the conspiracy too?
I seriously doubt it.