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Lisa Jackson yesterday announced the EPA's finding that carbon emissions threatened the U.S. via global warming and were thus covered under the Clean Air Act. She plans to implement tough new fuel economy restrictions and new restrictions on manufacturing and power businesses.  (Source: The Detroit News)

The findings give ammo to President Obama's plan to crack down on polluting vehicles. Under the plan by 2016 automakers will have to achieve a fleetwide efficiency of 34.1 mpg or face steep fines.  (Source: Dugan Racing)
Is our lifestyle threatening our planet? The EPA thinks so.

Climate change has taken on the trappings of high drama.  Recent leaked climate emails are threatening to discredit much of the work of a significant UK climate center by suggesting manipulation of the peer review process and falsification of data and advocates of warming are pointing to countless other studies worldwide and suggesting that the time for action is now.  In Copenhagen, world climate talks have began.

And it appears one way or another the U.S. is going to get tough on emissions.  President Obama recently promised to cut U.S. emissions by 83 percent by 2050.  Yesterday, the EPA announced that it would be moving to bypass Congress and implement the foundation of such cuts.

Currently a global warming bill that would implement a carbon trading scheme -- the plan to cut emissions endorsed by President Obama -- has passed the House, but is stuck in a deadlocked Senate with the vote drawn largely on partisan lines.  An alternate route has emerged, to push through climate regulations, though.  The foundation of this approach stems from a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that global warming was covered by the previously passed Clean Air Act. 

The EPA has been evaluating this claim and yesterday announced that its "endangerment finding" revealed that carbon emissions were indeed a threat to the nation's health and covered under the clean air act.  Describes EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, "This long-overdue finding cements 2009's place in history as the year when the United States government began seriously addressing the challenge of greenhouse gas pollution.  [Greenhouse gases] are the primary driver of climate change, which can lead to hotter, longer heat waves that threaten the health of the sick, poor or elderly; increases in ground-level ozone pollution linked to asthma and other respiratory illnesses."

The agency's plans to implement new rules to combat this "threat' are now being aired.

The biggest immediate impact of the decision will be its role in enabling the fuel economy mandates delivered by President Obama.  Under the mandates, large automakers will need to implement fleetwide efficiency of 34.1 mpg by 2016.  That provision is expected to cost the automakers $60B USD.  The plan will essentially push California's emissions targets onto the entire nation.  Advocates say the efficiency upgrade is long overdue.  Critics, though, complain that it will damage an already sick industry.

Similar criticisms exist about the other half of the EPA's action plan -- its plan to regulate greenhouse gases from the power and manufacturing industries.  Some argue that this will result in higher power costs and the movement of manufacturing business overseas to countries like China that do not yet regulate greenhouse emissions.

Jeff Holmstead, EPA air administrator from 2001-05, during the Bush administration, delivered mixed praise for the initiatives.  He states, "[The decision is a] necessary prerequisite for the regulation of greenhouse gases from cars, trucks, businesses, factories, farms, and potentially even apartment buildings, schools, and hospitals.  The hard part is still to come. EPA now has to figure out how it will regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act without undermining the fragile economic recovery."

Robert Meyers, who led the EPA air and radiation office under President George W. Bush, comments that the EPA is approaching the point of no return when it comes to implementing regulation.  He comments, "The main event is to come. EPA indicates that new rules will be issued starting next spring. It will be very difficult to turn back, much less undo all that will be done."

Some businesses and lobbies have threatened to sue the EPA to try to block any new regulations, should they be put into place.



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Stalemate
By Cometer on 12/10/2009 7:45:56 AM , Rating: 2
Though I agree with the critics around here regarding by-passing congress, truth must be said. Due to large corp lobbying and partisan interests it seams like were in a never ending stalemate. Anyway people seem to have a short memory so lets clear things first. This is the EPA that the previous administration pressured so that there was no official word regarding the true magnitude of climate change. The same EPA that threat scientists with unemployment if they shared their true opinions. So lets stop being naive and think about the real problem. IF you really openly follow the climate change situation be it in the US or in other nations there are two main questions on the table. The first one is the international law abiding commitment that nations are trying to draft. And its this commitment that will shape everything else. The US as well as all other nations in the world are putting their cards on the table regarding what can be achieved. This is a global effort that no one can step back. Each nation has to offer equal commitment to the question in order for this to work as intended. The second question is an internal question. And that is "We have committed to this. How can we achieve it?"
And that's the real issue here. We see suggestions being put in the table and the opposition simply discarding them. But the opposition doesn't make any viable suggestions that can in a given time frame provide the results that are requested by the commitment. It seams like the opposition only wants to ....oppose.
I don't lean towards one or the other party. Lets face it. Their not that different. And if table were turned we could be seeing something quite similar. But frankly I think we all can agree that if one politician could, they would bypass this issue. I'm not asking people to agree or disagree on my opinion. I'm just sharing it. But I ask you to at least go to the link below.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_denial
I hope an agreement is reached by the two parties but the stalemate can't go on indefinitely. And by that I mean that if the opposition knows better than provide an actual plan that WORKS. And frankly its very irresponsible that companies use their weight to maintain the status quo when they are fully aware of the facts.
For instance lobbies like the US Chamber of Commerce. Its good to see that there are also companies trying to do the right thing
http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=16430




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