By Juliet Eilperin and R. Jeffrey Smith Washington Post Staff Writers Friday, July 11, 2008; Page A01
The Bush administration has decided not to take any new steps to regulate greenhouse gas emissions before the president leaves office, despite pressure from the Supreme Court and broad accord among senior federal officials that new regulation is appropriate now.
The Environmental Protection Agency plans to announce today that it will seek months of further public comment on the threat posed by global warming to human health and welfare -- a matter that federal climate experts and international scientists have repeatedly said should be urgently addressed.
The Supreme Court, in a decision 15 months ago that startled the government, ordered the EPA to decide whether human health and welfare are being harmed by greenhouse gas pollution from cars, power plants and other sources, or to provide a good explanation for not doing so. But the administration has opted to postpone action instead, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Washington Post.
Greeenhouse gas pollution...in other words, carbon dioxide emissions, you know, the gas which makes trees and other living green things grow. The ruination, the destroyer of worlds. Carbon.Expect the howls of protest and excoriation to reach a cresendo in the coming months. Or, in this election year maybe not. Nevertheless, the true believers will not let political expediency or the current economic crisis stand in the way. According to this account in the Moderate Voice, Vice President Haliburton Cheney is the evil power behind this latest affront to mankind.
In its unaltered form, the changes heralded by the findings in the report would have had substantial economic as well as environmental benefits. Sadly, those changes would have also have done two things that Cheney isn’t going to let happen on his watch — I mean, Bush’s.
- Trigger ’sweeping’ regulatory requirements under the Clean Air Act;
- Cost utilities and automakers billions of dollars.
Unfortunately, it may not be possible to forestall the green zealots forever. The next administration may very likely be more amenable to what Al Gore first proposed in the early 1990's, the dreaded, wealth redistributing Carbon Tax which according to the Carbon Tax Center:
A carbon tax must be the central mechanism for reducing carbon emissions. Currently, the prices of gasoline, electricity and fuels in general include none of the costs associated with devastating climate change. This omission suppresses incentives to develop and deploy carbon-reducing measures such as energy efficiency (e.g., high-mileage cars and high-efficiency heaters and air conditioners), renewable energy (e.g., wind turbines, solar panels), low-carbon fuels (e.g., biofuels from high-cellulose plants), and conservation-based behavior such as bicycling, recycling and overall mindfulness toward energy consumption. Conversely, taxing fuels according to their carbon content will infuse these incentives at every chain of decision and action — from individuals’ choices and uses of vehicles, appliances, and housing, to businesses’ choices of new product design, capital investment and facilities location, and governments’ choices in regulatory policy, land use and taxation.
A carbon tax won’t stop global climate change by itself — other, synergistic actions are required as well. But without a carbon tax, even the most aggressive regulatory regime (e.g., high-mileage cars) and “enlightened” subsidies (e.g., tax credits for efficiency and renewables) will fall woefully short of the necessary reductions in carbon burning and emissions.