The climate "debate" is about to be put to rest thanks to an extensive EPA report now two years in the making, an early draft of which was leaked last week to Greenwire.
The Technical Support Document draft (PDF)
dated March 9, is called "Endangerment Analysis of Greenhouse Gases under the Clean Air Act." It consolidates hundreds of scientific reports which detail the now likely outcomes of global warming — everything from melting sea ice and population displacement, pests and disease to drought, flooding, forest fires and hurricanes.
The short of it ... carbon dioxide will now be officially labeled as a "pollutant" an important designation that opens up a floodgate of EPA rulemaking possibilities for regulating the CO2 emissions of energy producers, automobiles and other industries. The findings show that CO2 does in fact endanger public health and must be abated. It is also anticipated that this ruling will give Obama the leverage he needs to pass a Cap & Trade
This document is a major turning point for the U.S. government which for the past eight years placed politics over science, and forestalled a formal ruling by the administration even though earlier EPA reports in 2007 and early 2008 indicated benefits of curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
The reports were ordered by President Bush after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state of Massachusetts when it sued the EPA (under Bush-appointed chief
Robert Meyers Stephen Johnson) for blocking its ability to regulate automobile emissions (yes that's right, the EPA can actually prevent a state from being too environmentally friendly).
The court indicated that CO2 should be considered a pollutant but did not in any way specify its regulation at the federal level. President Bush did not act on the ruling, saving it for the 44th president's to-do list.
The irony of the report, something that will hopefully help in forthcoming bi-partisan legislation, is that its chief author is Robert Meyers, who was appointed by Johnson to lead the report. Obama appointees are noticeably absent from the document which is being prepared by 28 EPA scientists, engineers and researchers. So it is quite likely that history books 100 years from now will credit Meyers with saving the planet.
I believe it was Artaud, the French philosopher, who said irony is man's greatest achievement. How accurate he turned out to be!