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SCOTUS Says EPA Can Regulate Carbon 360

ThanatosMinor writes "In a 5-4 decision today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the EPA has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, saying that the EPA's reasons for not doing so in the past were 'arbitrary, capricious or otherwise not in accordance with law.' The ruling does not require the EPA to regulate carbon. But concerns about global climate change and its ties to human activity did appear to be deciding factors in the case." The AP coverage stresses that the ruling upholds the right of states to sue the Federal government over issues of global warming.
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SCOTUS Says EPA Can Regulate Carbon

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  • by OakDragon ( 885217 ) on Monday April 02, 2007 @09:52PM (#18581981) Journal
    What was it the abortion people used to say? What do nine old dudes in robes know about my body?

    What do nine old farts (gender neutral term to keep up with the times) know about climate science? Apparently as much as Leonarda Dicaprio and John Travolta. Enough to be dangerous.

    • by shark swooner ( 1077115 ) on Monday April 02, 2007 @09:58PM (#18582023)
      RTFA:

      Note that the supreme court dodged a bullet by not basing their decision on the question of the validity of anthopogenic global warming. As the New York Times reported:

      In sending the case back for further proceedings, Stevens said the high court did not decide which policy the EPA must follow. "We hold only that EPA must ground its reasons for action or inaction in the statute," he wrote.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by OakDragon ( 885217 )
        Sorry, I can't read the article if I expect to get my post read by people who encourge me to RTFA.
        • Sorry, I can't read the article if I expect to get my post read by people who encourge me to RTFA.

          Best descriptor of Slashdot's noise to signal ratio evar.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by theodicey ( 662941 )
      Actually, it's pretty much only Scalia who thinks he's smart enough to evaluate climate change. He got smacked down in oral argument [slate.com]:

      "Scalia observes that there is a difference between an "air pollutant" and a "stratospheric pollutant." Milkey interrupts: "Respectfully, Your Honor. It is not the stratosphere. It's the troposphere."
      • LOL. It is my understanding the global warming crowd are only worried about the pollutants in the stratosphere which cause the warming. After all, this is the only changes they are willing to adjust for things like water vapor and such.

        I wonder if he got it wrong or was pulling this from something else? The stratosphere, if this is the case, is different from the air or troposphere as we use it. If the idea of global warming and the regulation of Co2 does come before them, this might be an indication of how
    • by hxnwix ( 652290 )
      Haha. Nice try, friend.
    • Come on mods, RTFA! SCOTUS is not so senile as to attempt to tell the EPA how to conduct science, they told them to do their fucking job and have given the states the legal standing to force them, (and one would assume all other federal agencies), to do so.

      This decision emphatically supports the quaint little notion that "science informs politics". Regardless of what appears to be your own "dangerous" ignorance on the subject of climate science, arguing against the core message in this verdict is nothing
      • by ukemike ( 956477 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @09:13AM (#18586463) Homepage
        It surprises me how a website full of otherwise apparently intelligent people can display such ignorance.

        The Bush administration has consistently governed favoring crony-ism, special interests, and religious wackos, instead of science.

        http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/news/2004/02/6 2339 [wired.com]

        The Court told the EPA that they had to DO THEIR DAMN JOBS, regulate greenhouse gasses, or provide a reasonable explanation why they won't. You see for years in the face of overwhelming evidence they have simply failed to act in accordance with the law.

        On the other big topic of debate here, whether this qualifies as "news for nerds," not all nerds are monomaniacally obsessed with computers. Some of us are interested in science, which is a study of how the real world works.
  • No change (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HomelessInLaJolla ( 1026842 ) * <lajollahomeless@hotmail.com> on Monday April 02, 2007 @09:55PM (#18582007) Homepage Journal
    The Supreme Court is, as has been their policy for nearly 100 years [articlev.com], ignoring the greater question of jurisdiction while focusing on the lesser aspects.

    Quote from the article [sciam.com]'s author:

    I'm no legal scholar, but it sounds as if, by declaring that the EPA's case was weak, further defense of this matter (say in a future federal court case) would require either that the EPA come up with some compelling jurisdictional argument about why a substance in the atmosphere that could potentially harm humans isn't after all covered by the Clean Air Act
    I think the greater question is whether or not the Clean Air Act, or even the act which created the EPA, was Constitutional to begin with. The most direct example of this distinction can be found in a historical piece published by the NYTimes [nytimes.com].

    As Congress does not possess power itself to make onsetments relative to the persons or property of citizens of the United States, in a Federal Territory, other than such as the Constitution confers, so it cannot constitutionally delegate any such powers to a Territorial Government, organized by it under the Constitution.
    Parallel, As Congress does not possess power itself to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, other than such as the Constitution confers, so it cannot constitutionally delegate any such power to a federal authority such as the EPA, organized by it under the Constitution.

    In 1857 the SCOTUS did the right thing, politically, by affirming that the Federal Government does not have sweeping jurisdiction over anything which can be remotely rationalized as commerce

    The legal condition of a slave in the State of Missouri is not affected by the temporary sojourn of such slave in any other Sate, but on his return his condition still depends on the laws of Missouri.

    As the plaintiff was not a citizen of Missouri, he, therefore, could not sue in the Courts of the United States. The suit must be dismissed for want of jurisdiction.
    If the transportation of a slave across state lines wasn't eligible for interstate commerce in 1857 then what has changed since then? A Constitutional Amendment was required, even a Civil War wasn't enough, for the slave trade to be considered "commerce". Where does the EPA derive its power from?

    While it is a Good Thing that the slave population was officially outlawed (nevermind the gaping hole in the 13th Amendment which allows for a simple jaywalking ticket to make a person eligible for slavery), it is a Better Thing that our government be reminded, as often as possible, of the limitations on its power.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Qzukk ( 229616 )
      I think the greater question is whether or not the Clean Air Act, or even the act which created the EPA, was Constitutional to begin with. The most direct example of this distinction can be found in a historical piece published by the NYTimes.

      You're absolutely right. We should abolish the Clean Air Act, then all the other environmental regulations and finally the EPA and then start arresting factory workers and operators for assault by poisoning.

      Because just like the GPL is the only thing that gives people
      • by vandan ( 151516 )

        and then start arresting factory workers and operators for assault by poisoning

        Factory workers? Surely you mean factory owners? The workers don't have any say in factory processes. They should, mind you.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by aldousd666 ( 640240 )
          I'd agree the owners are to blame, but damnit, people who work for someon in business should not get a say in it. They are paid by the company because there is stuff for them to do, not because it wants to give them a job. If you don't like your job in the factory, quit, but you DON'T get a say in it. You can complain that it's unsafe, you can get them to fix that, but you cannot say what should and shouldn't be done in general, that's why they PAY you, to do what you're TOLD. Start your own factory and
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by vandan ( 151516 )

            f you don't like your job in the factory, quit, but you DON'T get a say in it.

            Sure, that's how things happen at the moment. And look at the state of the world. If workers had a say ( or had THE say ), they would make decisions that were more responsible. They'd be far more inclined to consider things like sustainability, or protecting the environment, etc.

            Start your own factory and hire people if you want to make the rules.

            Sorry, but that's just bullshit. There are massive institutional barriers that pr

          • Yes, factory owners should follow the law. And people should have a say in the law. Some of these people work in factories. Ergo, factory workers should have a say in factory processes. If you disagree, then you hate democracy.
      • Be a little careful about "poison is the cost of progress". Nearly everyone thinks vaccines are a good thing, even though a very small percentage of people have a reaction. Certain technologies, such as sanitation, have significant environmental costs, even though as a whole they save millions of lives.
        • such as sanitation, have significant environmental costs,
          Not necessarily. It can be done environmentally friendly. In the long term it's cheaper too.

      • The question the grandparent poses is not "Should there be a Clean Air Act?" It is "Does Congress have the power to make a Clean Air Act?"

        If you shoo questions about abuses of power under the rug when you agree with the outcome, you will be bit in the ass when you don't.
      • Re:No change (Score:4, Insightful)

        by debrain ( 29228 ) on Monday April 02, 2007 @11:48PM (#18582767) Journal
        Because just like the GPL is the only thing that gives people the right to copy GPL software, the EPA and Clean Air Act and the like is the only thing that gives companies and people the right to poison each other with impunity.

        The problem with the CAA and EPA is not their end, but their means. A positive result does not justify abuse of process. If the CAA and EPA have powers beyond what is legitimate, and they are nevertheless recognized, what stops the same branches of power (be it Congress or the Executive or the judiciary) from abusing this same extension of authority for malicious purposes? The division and separation of powers exists for the purpose of preventing this abuse so that process is democratic and representative, and it does so reasonably well when respected.

        Respect for the environment is a totally separate issue from respect for the mechanisms that prevent abuse. If people are poisoning each other, there are valid non-abusive mechanisms to prevent that. If no such mechanism exists then, and only then, should the system be reformed. Thankfully the system in the US is sufficiently flexible that no such reform appears to be necessary, in the long run.
        • by sheldon ( 2322 )

          Respect for the environment is a totally separate issue from respect for the mechanisms that prevent abuse. If people are poisoning each other, there are valid non-abusive mechanisms to prevent that. If no such mechanism exists then, and only then, should the system be reformed. Thankfully the system in the US is sufficiently flexible that no such reform appears to be necessary, in the long run.

          It should be noted that when the Clean Air Act and the EPA were established... pollution was pretty bad so it appe

      • Of course poison isn't the cost of progress. Poison is the product of progress. Human lives are the cost. Yes, I'm feeling very pedantic today.
    • Thirteenth Amendment (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tepples ( 727027 ) <.tepples. .at. .gmail.com.> on Monday April 02, 2007 @10:13PM (#18582145) Homepage Journal

      As Congress does not possess power itself to regulate carbon dioxide emissions
      Even when carbon dioxide emissions in one state interfere with the ability of another state to conduct commerce?

      While it is a Good Thing that the slave population was officially outlawed (nevermind the gaping hole in the 13th Amendment which allows for a simple jaywalking ticket to make a person eligible for slavery)
      The loophole in this constitutional amendment [wikipedia.org] is there to allow for forced labor for felons serving time in prison. Any slave camp established by the government would be considered a de facto prison, and there's still a ban on cruel and unusual punishments [wikipedia.org] such as long prison terms for minor misdemeanors. Have you any evidence that the amendment has been applied in some other manner?
      • there's still a ban* on cruel and unusual punishments

        *does not apply if "The Decider" dubs you a terrorist. Not valid in leased US territories within Cuba or overseas military bases.
      • by jadavis ( 473492 )
        Even when carbon dioxide emissions in one state interfere with the ability of another state to conduct commerce?

        How might CO2 emissions be considered regulating commerce "among the several states"?

        CO2 mixes over the entire world, and does not affect a transaction between individuals across state lines. Your argument is no better than the logic that they used to say that someone growing crops on their own land for their own consumption was subject to federal regulation (which is how they make Marijuana illeg
        • Actually, you can form a reasonable argument if you flip it around, and it's been done
          before. Industries have been known to ask that the federal government step in with a set
          of central standards, instead of having to deal with a myriad of local jurisdictional
          regulations. This was the case with energy efficiency in appliances (e.g; refrigerators
          IIRC) that led to Energy Star, and there have been hints of it within the CO2 realm as
          well. Basically, the idea is to level the playing field, removing this dmiension
          • by jadavis ( 473492 )
            Industries have been known to ask that the federal government step in with a set of central standards,

            I don't care what the industries want, I care what the Constitution says. Big business loves big government; as long as they are on the right side of whatever legislation is being passed. That's nothing new.

            We should have a limited federal government and leave more power with the states. That's what the Constitution says.

            • we should have a limited federal government (9th, 10th) and limited state governments (14th), with the majority of power remaining with the people.
            • You've completely missed the point, which is that this kind of thing can be in compliance
              with a reasonable of the commerce lause.
              • by jadavis ( 473492 )
                this kind of thing can be in compliance with a reasonable of the commerce lause.

                I don't think so. The fact that some industries find the diversity of law inconvenient is not an excuse to expand federal power to "standardize" these laws at the national level. The federal government's powers are few and defined, and if you open it up to whatever is convenient for an industry, then you have missed the point of the commerce clause.

                The simple test is: any law at all meets your standards; therefore the commerce c
        • I don't know much about the 16th amendment, but couldn't this EPA stuff be handled through a fiction relating to Federal income tax? Any EPA fines are "supplementary taxes" levied on those who pollute (imposing external costs on society as a whole... partially causing the Federal government to spend more on, say Medicare).
          • by jadavis ( 473492 )
            I don't know much about the 16th amendment, but couldn't this EPA stuff be handled through a fiction relating to Federal income tax?

            It's a stretch, but it makes at least as much sense as allowing people to deduct the interest paid on a home loan. Personally I don't think that either are Constitutional, but I can see how -- under the influence of the wrong substance -- one might say that it's still a tax on income, even though such an "income tax" is based on all kinds of non-income variables.
    • Re:No change (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Comatose51 ( 687974 ) on Monday April 02, 2007 @10:26PM (#18582245) Homepage
      Well, if you believe what most economists believe, which is things like pollution is considered externality and the cost of production, then air pollution would fall under commerce. This is especially true considering the fact that you can trade carbon credits and can actually monetize carbon or the lack of carbon emission.
      • Pyramid schemes were legal once too. Just because carbon credits can be pass around and traded like real money doesn't give them any legitimacy. A company can find this out when their shareholders decide the investment into them are a waist of money and a misuse of company funds. It is a tricky subject because of how new the idea is.

        I doubt the government will pass laws regulating them to any efficiency because it would end up giving defacto advantages and leverage to certain companies. I could start a fact
    • The decision itself basically said that sirst, Massachusetts as a State has special standing to pursue the case, second, Greenhouse gases could fall under the EPAs mandate, therefore the EPA needs to issue a ruling with a reason why they aren't regulating them or how they're going to regulate them.

      The first part seemed to be crafted by the Liberals on the court in order to let them rule on the second part, since otherwise the case should have just been thrown out on procedural grounds. The majority five did
    • I almost agree with you (in theory) but I fear that your argument may be a stalking horse. Here's a litmus test--should prostitution and drugs be legal?

      If the answer is "yes" then I know you are a libertarian, with a consistent, coherent political philosophy. I may disagree with you on some issues, but at least we can have a conversation. If the answer is "no" or, worse, "that's not my point, and it's more complex than that... (i.e. equivocating)" then I know that you're a conservative who cries for li

      • by Grym ( 725290 ) *

        Drugs, prostitution, pornography, gay marriage, abortion--on these subjects conservatives are silent about the evils of big government. The environment, hate crimes, intelligent design, prayer in schools--on these subjects the conservatives wail as if liberty herself were being dismembered on the White House lawn whenever the government takes action.

        So which is it? Libertarian or conservative?

        While I agree that most conservatives are inconsistent (or hypocritical even) in their sense of moral outrage

        • I don't think it's that dramatic of leap. I wasn't posing a delimma between totalitarianism and anarchy. But the drugs/prostitution litmus test is, I've found, dependable, because it goes straight to the heart of social conservatism and immediately stops any talk of small government.

          JAMA, The Lancet, and other medical journals have advocated an end to the war on drugs, not on moral grounds, but because it makes for worse social and health problems. Even the National Review had a cover story a few years

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by oliphaunt ( 124016 )
      This sounds good, until you know the name of the case you're quoting:

      If the transportation of a slave across state lines wasn't eligible for interstate commerce in 1857 then what has changed since then? A Constitutional Amendment was required, even a Civil War wasn't enough, for the slave trade to be considered "commerce".

      If this is a troll, it's a clever one: you're using the Dredd Scott decision [wikipedia.org] to support your argument that Congress can't use the Commerce Clause to justify the EPA. But Dredd Scott wa

  • by bluemonq ( 812827 ) * on Monday April 02, 2007 @10:00PM (#18582049)
    ...Carbon stated that the Supreme Court could "take a flying leap," insisting that SCOTUS should spend its time instead worrying about the dangers that Oxygen and Sodium present.
  • So...the author of the article linked says he hasn't seen a breakdown of who voted what...but the New York Times article that he linked to gave him the breakdown. Somebody hasn't been reading their sources.
  • Important side note (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lelitsch ( 31136 ) on Monday April 02, 2007 @10:15PM (#18582163)
    I wonder how much the administration realized the unintended consequences of including a "laundry list" of reasons why they should not regulate emissions. Now they have a sentence like this in a SCOTUS decision:

    "While the president had broad authority in foreign affairs, that authority does not extend to the refusal to execute domestic laws."

    This might so come back to haunt them as precedent.
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by Technician ( 215283 )
      The AP coverage stresses that the ruling upholds the right of states to sue the Federal government over issues of global warming.

      Maybe they will suddnly change the studies to show CO2 is only a small contributor to warming, say on the order of burning a candle in a house causes the house to become warmer.

      After all, our global warming is the same as the global warming and loss of polar ice caps on Mars. It must be the sun that is the big factor, just like your house gets colder in winter and warmer in summ
    • by schwit1 ( 797399 ) on Monday April 02, 2007 @10:29PM (#18582257)
      "While the president had broad authority in foreign affairs, that authority does not extend to the refusal to execute domestic laws." This would seem to say that bypassing FISA for searches or refusing to enforce immigration laws is illegal.
      • Precisely. The law is not a one way street. Most of the executive powers that make people "fear" Bush were in place during the Clinton administration. Take them away from Bush and you also take them away from any future Democrat presidents. That's why so much of the Democrat congress are acting so strangely: they want those laws, powers, and abuses in place when one of their own finally gets back in the White House.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Scudsucker ( 17617 )
          Most of the executive powers that make people "fear" Bush were in place during the Clinton administration.

          Really? Clinton had the Patriot Act, Guantanamo, secret CIA prisons, tribunals, indefinite detentions w/o a trail or a lawyer, waterboarding, extraordinary rendition, etc etc?

          That's why so much of the Democrat congress are acting so strangely: they want those laws, powers, and abuses in place when one of their own finally gets back in the White House.

          Why are you so full of shit today, Brandybuck?
          • I said "most", not "all". Do you even know how to read?

            To take just one tiny example, from this evening's headline: Clinton fired 93 US Attorneys, Bush only fired 8. But guess who's getting rake over the rusty razor blades for it?
      • I'm not sure executing is the same as enforcing.
    • Is this a non-sequitur or was the administration arguing that this was a foreign policy issue?
  • by michaelmalak ( 91262 ) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Monday April 02, 2007 @10:19PM (#18582189) Homepage
    This decision bodes poorly for the U.S. in regards to the Big Climate Lawsuit [climatelawsuit.org], whereby Boulder is suing two U.S. government agencies over global warming drying up Boulder's water reservoirs. Three California cities have since joined the lawsuit.

    The two agencies, the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, are a form of corporate welfare to Big Oil. When Big Oil wants to destroy the environment in a third world country, banks shy away due to political instability. In steps the U.S. government to provide taxpayer-guaranteed loans.

    The lawsuit is over the narrow issue of that these agencies did not do environmental impact studies in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Now that the Supreme Court has already ruled that carbon dioxide may be classified as a pollutant, the district court that is deciding the Big Climate Lawsuit must follow precedence.

    I would rather have seen OPIC and Ex-Im dismantled over the fundamental reasons they are wrong: unconstitutional, corporate welfare, exploitation of third world countries, and destruction of the environment directly attributable to oil drilling and transport. But as is usually the case, the strongest legal case does not necessarily correlate to the strongest moral/ethical case.

    • Boulder is suing two U.S. government agencies over global warming

      Too bad the government has sovereign immunity [wikipedia.org], which I seriously doubt they would waive in this case. Even in the unlikely event that they waived immunity, AND they were found guilty, you would still have to calculate the percent of damage by the specific "infractions" of those agencies, compared to all other influences in the world, which would be nearly impossible. Additionally, the money doesn't just come from nowhere. Any award would si
  • by 1zenerdiode ( 777004 ) on Monday April 02, 2007 @10:32PM (#18582283)
    Holding: Carbon dioxide is a pollutant...emissions can be regulated under the Clean Air Act.
    Perverse Outcome: Administrative rules could make it illegal to breathe.
    Alternative Constitutional Theory to Challenge the Ruling: Tension between First Amendment and Commerce Authority since it is necessary to breathe in order to speak freely.

    Alternatively, massive new entitlement programs may be funded by requiring the purchase of respiratory carbon credits.

    Next year: Increasing the entropy of the surroundings will constitute a violation of the Clean Air Act. Do your part to limit your entropy footprint.
    • Next year: Increasing the entropy of the surroundings will constitute a violation of the Clean Air Act. Do your part to limit your entropy footprint.

      Don't worry, I am. Every day I add another layer of blocks to my neatly ordered stack in the corner, creating order where before there was a chaotic bag of blocks, thereby offsetting my entropy.
      • The process of you assembling those blocks was inefficient and took far more energy from you than you'll ever get back out of them. Think of a tea cup, or coffee cup. The process of making one is quite long and takes quite a bit of energy to get smooth, paint, finish, etc. Then, within a few years of you owning it, you drop it on the floor shattering it. It took very little energy to disorganize compared to the energy it took to assemble.

        Things always take more to arrange, which is to say, arranging costs m
    • This is funny, but, up to how you're food gets fertilized, transported and processed, the carbon in it comes from the air. So, the EPA may regulate the fossil fuel used to produce your food but not the portion that comes from photsynthesis I think. That is the stuff you exhale so you don't come under regulation. Still not sure about cheez whiz, that might be petroleum based.
      --
      Carbon free energy: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-user s -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]
    • Ehh,, and they could even regulate the population because having children would be the same as building new factories. finally, we have found a way to mandate birth control and family planning.
  • Oh boy, now the EPA can regulate breathing, how often, how much, how deeply.

    All those mammals...they just gotta go.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by belg4mit ( 152620 )
      I know you fucks are either trolls or think you're being "insightful" or "funny", but seriously,
      stop it. Biologically active carbon is part of a recirculating cycle, mineralized carbon in fossil
      fuels has been out of the cycle for a long time*, and adding it back in the form of CO2 is the
      problem NOT BREATHING. However, if you seriously think breathing is a problem, then by all means,
      do us all a favor and STOP. kthxbai

      * And as an animal, that's a good thing. 20% atmospheric O2 is tasty.
  • So I say lets open a big bottle of it in his office while he's there.

    When (if?) he wakes up, let's ask him again if he thinks CO2 is a pollutant...
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      CO2 is a naturally occurring gas. Volcanoes, vents in the earth, every living creature, decomposition, etc all release CO2 into the atmosphere. Plants require CO2 as well and without plants humans and animals cease to exist. So yea, lets get right on eliminating CO2 and the subsequent annihilation of the human race.
      • by BJZQ8 ( 644168 )
        Nobody ever pays attention to the coal fires. If it were REALLY about limiting carbon emissions, we would go solve that problem. ONE of those fires puts out more CO2 than every automobile in the US, and they are burning all over the world. It's not about "saving the planet"...it's about establishing a stock market for carbon trading that will make a few well-positioned people trillions of dollars.
        • Got a source for your second paragraph? That's a very big claim. I have heard the fires in China are on that scale, but how many fires is that? Are they all separate, disconnected fires? They clearly aren't all the same size, so which ones are you talking about? In Centralia, Pennsylvania [wikipedia.org], a fire there is 1.6 square kilometers and will burn for 250 years.
    • Your'e not making any sense. If the CO2 drives out all of the oxygen, then it's harmful. Otherwise it's just as safe as nitrogen. Are you suggesting that nitrogen be regulated as a pollutant as well? Water vapor (THE major greenhouse gas)? Helium (thing of the children and their balloons)?

      By your argument, EVERYTHING is a pollutant that can be regulated by the EPA!
    • by rlp ( 11898 )
      > So I say lets open a big bottle of it in his office while he's there.
      > When (if?) he wakes up, let's ask him again if he thinks CO2 is a pollutant...

      Then you can submerge him in water, and ask if that's a pollutant.
  • by Brandybuck ( 704397 ) on Monday April 02, 2007 @11:16PM (#18582539) Homepage Journal
    I know that many of you are cheering that the SCOTUS turned Green and environmentalist, but that's not the case. This ruling isn't about global warming, or carbon, or even Al Gore's haircut. The ruling merely says that an executive department must stay within the bounds of a legislative statute. That the department happens to be the EPA and the statute the Clean Air Act is merely incidental.

    To quote: "We hold only that EPA must ground its reasons for action or inaction in the statute."
  • by Guppy ( 12314 ) on Monday April 02, 2007 @11:58PM (#18582829)
    Something I've been wondering, being a biologist, is the direct impact on humans of the higher levels of CO2 itself (as opposed to indirect effects such as climate shifts).

    Interestingly enough, humans don't have any way to sense the oxygen concentration in air. The air in a nitrogen filled room can feel perfectly fresh right up to the point where you get dizzy and pass out. Instead, we sense CO2 concentrations -- a room with normal levels of O2 but several percent CO2 will be distinctly unpleasant to breath. At about 1000ppm CO2 a room may start to feel stuffy.

    I've heard of some projections () of 650-970 ppm CO2 by 2100. The change over time will certainly be too slow for anyone to notice, but I find it remarkable that we may be heading to the point where outdoor air will be as high in CO2 as what we now consider stale. [wikipedia.org]
    • by w3woody ( 44457 )
      One wonders if future generations will be born used to the higher CO2 concentrations and air we think is stuffy or stale would be considered normal then?
    • by Ihlosi ( 895663 )
      Interestingly enough, humans don't have any way to sense the oxygen concentration in air.

      They do, actually. However, the mechanism that regulates blood oxygen saturation works much, much slower (hours to days) than the one that reacts to excess blood CO2 concentrations.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The U.S. business climate is now F....d. Invest in India or China. They will be laughing all the way to the bank while we cut our own throats here.

    This is what we get for cutting back on science requirements for our schools. A bunch of people who don't know the first thing about the carbon cycle making laws based on religious Voodoo.
  • by scorp1us ( 235526 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @12:37PM (#18589569) Journal
    I expect to be modded down again for another dissenting opinion, but such is the case when there is no good science to settle the argument either way. The mob applies leverage and attempts science by consensus (History shows that consensus has almost always started out wrong to begin with).

    I watched The Great Global Warming Swindle [google video] AND Inconvienent Truth.

    I have to say, other than a nice graph of carbon dioxide and temperature, the rest of the film was science by consensus. "90% of scientists now agree". Furthermore, Al only makes the statement that "the relationship between the [two lines] is a complicated one". With that one line, he avoids the actual science of global warming. It allows him to gloss over any kind of investigation of solar activity, dissolved CO2 levels in the oceans, the ratio of CO2 to other green house gasses. Yes, there is more than one, but Al never mentions that. Instead he only shows the PPM increase, and not a percentage increase. He also fails to go into why the upper atmosphere is not increasing in temperature whereas ground temps are (hint: solar radiation heats the ground more effectively than green house gasses)

    What we have, and everyone has to admit this, is the only real correlation is our ability to measure CO2 in PPM, and an increase in temperatures (at the same time an increase in solar activity). Anyone with statistics experience will tell you correlation is not causation. We simply have to wait for the many factors to fluctuate so we can tease out the real relationship.

    I love the environment and animals (I was going to be a park ranger), but I call BS (Bad Science) when I see it. How embarrassing will it be in 50 years, when we've passed a local solar maximum and things are back to normal? Until our confidence [and understanding] is so high in the matter, we shouldn't be legislating first and asking questions later.

FORTRAN is the language of Powerful Computers. -- Steven Feiner

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