April 15, 2008

Bush Thinks About New Climate Proposals

The Bush administration, signaling a change in policy, has discussed placing a limited cap on greenhouse gases. But instead of the growing concerns from scientists, health professionals, and environmental specialists, this change of thinking by the Bush administration is spurred by a "regulatory train wreck."

Dana Petrino, White House press secretary, says the Republican leadership is having a "robust discussion" about new climate change proposals. So why the sudden change of heart?

I would hope the logical answer would be the growing chorus of scientists and physicians who are calling for a cap on emissions (warning: super long research paper) to reduce the health risks associated with continued output. It would seem the government has a responsibility to legislate and regulate companies who are producing hazardous material which is becoming a health risk to most Americans. We've seen them do it to companies who produced lead and asbestos products but when it comes to Carbon and global warming issues the administration just doesn't want to believe.

And here's what has the administration in a tizzy about new policies, the Supreme Court has ruled that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and told the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it must be regulated if it is determined to be a danger to health and welfare. At the same time, the Interior Department is under pretty intense pressure to specially protect polar bears under the Endangered Species Act because of disappearing Arctic sea ice. Another similar lawsuit has been filed under the same law for more protection of arctic seals.

With these two issues, the enforcement of the Clean Air Act and Endangered Species Act will be pulled into the debate over climate change. Petrino says the "trajectory...is fraught with peril and will ultimately end up in a train wreck." Hello, you know what's gonna be a train wreck; when 80% of the population has COPD and emphysema and life expectancies shorten to 50 years. I'm pretty sure you'll have a train wreck of angry people asking why large corporations weren't told to stop polluting the health of the citizens.

But this speaks to a larger point about the Republican leadership. They continually ignore the concerns of the citizens (read: Iraq, Economy, fucking everything) in favor of protecting their own asses (and assets). If there wasn't going to be a shitstorm of lawsuits (from citizens and organizations made up of citizens; hmmm, I wonder what the citizens think about it) then this administration would continue to walk the line for corporations and to keep the money machine pumping. There has got to be a shift in thinking toward the long term. We need to continue to investigate the dangers of air pollutants (as well as water and soil pollution) and evaluate their safety and risks. The science community has built a large machinery to do just this but lawmakers need to wake up and take the facts for the facts. This great idea of multiple mechanisms affecting the climate, our health, and our sustainability didn't get dreamed up in someone's head. They are the collections of thousands of people's life's work. I imagine being a father of the climate change and sustainability movement is hard as you devote your life to trying to understand how to maintain our way of living and improve people's health and you continually get told that there isn't any evidence or you just get ignored.

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