No misunderstanding in the U.S.

So analogies aside, is carbon dioxide a pollutant?  President Obama clearly thought so. In his Earth Day proclamation he stated:

“We cannot afford to ignore what the overwhelming judgment of science tells us: that climate change is real and that it poses an urgent threat to our people and our planet. That is why my Administration set historic fuel efficiency standards that will nearly double how far our cars go on a gallon of gas while reducing harmful carbon pollution.  …

“Today, America is sending less carbon pollution into the environment than we have in nearly 20 years. But we owe it to our children to do more. That is why I have called on the Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change. In the meantime, I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions to reduce pollution”.”

President Obama’s reference to carbon dioxide as pollution is in accord with a 2007 judgment of the U.S. Supreme Court. In that judgment the Court decided that the word “pollutant” in the statute under consideration applied to automobile exhaust. As a result the Court directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider whether auto exhaust may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.

On further study the EPA decided that Greenhouse Gases such as carbon dioxide did endanger public health and were likely responsible for the global warming experienced over the past half century. On further challenge to this conclusion, a three-judge panel of the Supreme Court  unanimously upheld the EPA’s central finding.

So the issue is settled for the U.S.  The President is correct that carbon dioxide is a pollutant both legally and factually.

It is interesting to speculate whether the issue “Is Carbon Dioxide a pollutant?” will come up before the Canadian courts.  Canadian environmental legislation is not nearly as comprehensive and not nearly as directive as U.S. environmental laws.  There is no Canadian equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency at our Federal level.  If the issue does come up, our Federal Government would oppose any such conclusion.

Only a change of Government might result in the issue being favourably resolved by a Canadian Court.

Share Button

1 thought on “No misunderstanding in the U.S.”

  1. Here are my answers to your exleelcnt questions:1) Greenhouse gasses are both good and bad. You need a cetain amount, but not too much. For example, water vapor is an important greenhouse gas. These gasses form a barrier that insulates the earth. Without them, the earth would be an ice- ball and inhospitable to human life. The problem occurs when we put too many of these gasses into the atmosphere, and that leads me to your second question about CO2, another greenhouse gas . . . . . 2) Carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere consists of little particles of carbon. Each particle absorbs heat. It’s like a quilt on a bed. The quilt traps heat and keeps you snuggly and warm, but if you pile on more and more quilts, you’ll become too hot! The earth absorbs some of the sun’s heat, but most of that heat escapes through the greenhouse gas barrier and back into space. When we increase our greenhouse barrier, less heat can escape back into space.3) If global warming continues, Florida will become heavily affected. One impact will be that, as the polar ice caps continue to melt, the shorelines will move further inland, greatly reducing the amount of habitable dry land. This will displace millions of people and other life forms. The Keys will become completely submerged. Also, certain life forms will migrate to new areas, while other life forms will diminish and/or become extinct. Certain diseases, like malaria, that are more or less contained to warmer areas of the earth, will begin to spread into these places. 4) It is difficult to predict climate change exactly because the climate does not change in a hurry. It’s like a huge B-52 aircraft. From the time the pilot decides to turn the plane around until it is turned around takes many miles. Also, global climate change is not a simple thing, it is very complicated. So, there are a lot of things that affect the climate. We have between 6 and 7 billion people on earth today. The best scientists can do is estimate what these people are doing in their various countries with their various laws and habits and lifestyles. The earth’s temperature for many thousands of years is recorded in ice-core samples taken from the poles. Each year the gasses in the atmosphere are trapped in the ice. They show warming and cooling periods in the earth’s history. But, since the Industrial Revolution, and the continual addition of greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere, the earth’s temperature has steadily increased far above what it has ever been.I hope this is helpful.

Comments are closed.

SubscribeSubscribe to one of 4RG's Newsletters

Click below to subscribe to any of our email newsletters. You can always unsubscribe at any time.

Subscribe Here