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Carbon = Pollution


We all know that nitrogen dioxide, lead, and particulates are harmful air pollutants. Yesterday, the Supreme Court added greenhouse gases to that list, too. In the Massachusetts v. the EPA case, the justices voted that the federal agency has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide that come out of the tailpipes of cars and trucks.

According to an article in The New York Times:

The 5-to-4 decision was a strong rebuke to the Bush administration, which has maintained that it does not have the right to regulate carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases under the Clean Air Act, and that even if it did, it would not use the authority. The ruling does not force the environmental agency to regulate auto emissions, but it would almost certainly face further legal action if it failed to do so.

On National Public Radio, All Things Considered reported that, “it was kind of like when Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz learned she always had the power to go home.”

The decision was just one of two victories for environmentalists yesterday. The Supreme Court, in a unanimous ruling, also sent the Environment Defense v. Duke Energy case back down to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court ruled that if a power plant is changed and increases its emissions, it must also install pollution controls. 

According to an article in CQ.com:

That dispute was the latest in a years-long battle over the Bush administration’s efforts to overhaul the Clean Air Act’s “new source review” program, which requires old power plants undergoing major changes to install pollution-control equipment in order to meet current emissions standards.

As environmentalists ourselves, we were tickled by the Court’s decision to make the EPA responsible for monitoring greenhouse gas emissions and agreeing that carbon dioxide is a global warming-causing pollutant. Although the EPA isn’t required to restrict carbon dioxide emissions from tailpipes or power plants, the decisions do help pave the way for more environmental protections. And we just love the justices’ feisty phrasing.


Comments

Can anyone tell me where in the Consitution does it say that the government of United States is charged with protecting the environment? This ruling is going to require the Congress to step up and exert it's authority to correct the Supreme Court.

I am outraged that "We the People" have descended to a bunch of cry babies who ask the governement to provide us with everything we want. It is unconsitutional (and immoral) to behave that way! All of you Green people out there need to wake up and start providing for your selves and forget about what you think you are entitled to from the government! You make me sick and you weaken this country every day that you continue to spew your lies and communist agenda to the public.

Calling excess CO2 pollution is like calling excess H2O pollution because floods happen.

Excess CO2 may not be a desirable situation but calling a fundamnetal building block of life a pollutant is to dilute the term.

The problem with the whole global warming issue and and using the courts to force such change that should be the pervue of the legislature is it makes future legislation that much more difficult to pass. Industry begins to see the potential for such overinterpretation in everything and it makes it difficult for even simple and what should be non-controversial legislaton to pass.

This will hurt more than it helps in the long run

I agree with Ryan and Michael. Why legislate/regulate anything? I mean, if you get sick from eating tainted meat and die, whether from a restaurant or grocery store, you shouldn't go back there - or at least the people who survive you should learn not to do the same. If some maniac buys a gun without a criminal background check and shoots your whole family, you should have been smarter to hire personal security or to move to a low-crime neighborhood. Same goes with regulating the environment. If some company is dumping chemicals into the environment, like lead, mercury, CO2 or others, then you should either move somewhere else or quit crying because your children were born with severe lead/mercury poisoning or the 100-year flood comes every year due to global climate change.

Paul,

Do you understand what a non-sequitr is? Your argument is simply assinine. It is both non-sequtir and a strawman.

Don't cry to me when you have suceeded in so abusing the court system and torturing legislation well beyond its intent, that furter progress in environmental protection becomes impossible because of the short sighted greed of individuals like you.

It is interesting you bring up proven nonsense like background checks for firearms when they have been proven to be so ineffective to be worthless. The CDC could not even measure an effect. Perhaps you would be better off if you did take responsibility for your family and got a CCWP.

You would rather chace non-sequitir boogeymen instead of adding resources to proven crime fighting efforts.

I prefer to lock the criminal up where background checks become irrelevant.

I prefer to pass real laws and solve real pollution problems instead of destroying my credibility on Quixotic emotional nonsense.

That is the difference between you and I. Emotion and logic.

Mike Puckett:(comment #2)
Great commentary. Though, when introducing a word, it is best to spell the word correctly: Non sequitur

Paul:
I disagree with you on every point.
You and I share one home. We all live on this Earth, and right now, we have nowhere else to go. We don't have a backup Earth that we can retreat to. If polluting substances are being released into our home, we need to find a way to stop it. You suggest that we move away from our problems and avoid problem areas. If we ignore our problems, and run away, we leave that problem for someone else to handle. Well, we can't run away anymore, because we'll leave a mess behind that will affect other people's lives. We have nearly seven billion people on this world, and we're growing every day. If everyone shared your point of view, Paul, we would run out of places to move to. And really, I think people are tired of running from their problems. If you spilled a drink in your kitchen, would you step over it and ignore the mess? Would you go back to watching TV and try to forget about the orange juice on your kitchen tiles? Or would you rather grab some a towel and sop up the mess you made?

You say we need to "quit crying".
In order to make people like you change, we have to express the necessity of change. We have to expose the problems, and work to resolve the issues in a cooperative effort. Like many people, I recognize Global Warming as a problem. I'm not going to insult you like Mike did, I'm trying to make you understand my point of view.

It is not my opinion that to live in paranoid states, hiring body guards and populating low-crime sub-urban neighborhoods, as you suggest, would be a healthy lifestyle. Instead, we should go into the problem areas, the ghettos, the slums, the third world countries, and help those people to improve their quality of life. You asked, "Why regulate/legislate anything?"
Without regulation, masses of people will be victimized by the wealthy, the powerful, and the lazy.
Without legislation, the majority (you and I, and most people in this world) have no way to stand up against greedy pollutors. If a company tried to build a coal plant in your neighborhood, would you just move away? Or, would you protest, and petition, and rally like we did in Texas? Wake up, my friend, and realize that you are not helping yourself -or anyone else- with the views you expressed. You are capable of so much more. I hope that you become aware of your ability to help our situation. The truth is, I'm glad that something pulled you to this website. Click around. You might find something that inspires you.

Mike Puckett:(comment #1)
I understand your argument about CO2 being called pollution. The fact is, we need a significant reduction in our contribution to global warming emissions. Even if we all drove electric cars and bought our energy from wind farms, CO2 would not disappear. -Not with nearly 7 billion people exhaling CO2 every second of every day. Methane will not disappear. I think every global warming gas occurs naturally, but not in the quantities that we now have. I would rather people be informed and educated about global warming, but I would just as well have C02 treated as a major pollutant. We need to kill our CO2 emissions entirely from fossil fuel burning, and every other man-made, inorganic source. I think it is less important that people view CO2 as naturally occurring, and more important that people understand that CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas. They should realize that CO2 is not "all we have to worry about".

And Finally,
Ryan:
In every environmental debate, someone will pop up with a view like yours. -Frantically trying to force people into agreement, otherwise be ridiculed. Or, desperately clinging to old ideas. I'm still wondering where you people keep coming from.

You call us "crybabies" and refer to us as "all of you green people". You seem to be so passionately uninvolved. You have separated yourself from the issue by labeling us as environmental extremists. Now, I don't know you personally, and I'm not entirely sure of why you have chosen your stance on global warming. You seem to share the views of people like James Inhofe, Rick Perry and Dana Rohrabacher. But, luckily for me (and the people of Earth), you and the politicians mentioned are in the minority.

Well, Ryan, we're not asking the government to provide us with things we need. We're demanding it. Our government is in place to serve the people of this country. With or Without government support, we will continue to have grass roots movements. We will buy hybrids, build electrics cars, put up solar panels, buy clean energy, and donate to help organizations that support our movement.

You said that we "need to wake up and start providing for [our]selves". This is amusing, because it is we, the green crybabies that are -very literally- providing for ourselves. Have you seen a big oil tycoon live in a house with solar panels... or maybe you spotted a wind turbine in his backyard..? Perhaps you have a friend in the coal industry that has a compost and organic garden.. Or maybe it was that vegan politician you elected that wears organic cotton shirts under his hemp suits. I seriously doubt that you, or the people that share your view are providing for yourselves in any way other than working and consuming. You "provide" buy earning a paycheck that you then hand over to those that provide for you. Your dirty energy, your fast food, your gas-guzzling american vehicle. I have no idea what "lies and communist agenda" environmentalists have produced, but I am well aware of those that come from your side.

You said that We "need to wake up", when it seems that You are the one that has fallen under the influence of corporate advertising and republican distractions.

Despite all of this... The fact is this:
You are the one that came to this green website.

I hope that your passionate disgust for myself and others, that care for our Earth, will change. You have a lot of learning and growing to do. Good luck with that. Take care.

It was far from my only spelling error in that post Travis. When one types in haste.

I work for a state environmental protection agency. I see the effects of well meaning but IMO, legislating from the bench court decisions upon the passage of what should be no-brainer legislation. These victories tend to be somewhat Pyrrhic in nature.

I prefer things of this weight to be vetted by the legislative process with full public input.