This little noticed news (the EPA put out their press release Friday, guaranteeing minimal coverage) reminds me of a joke. Two guys are sitting at a bar. First guy says, “Mind if I smoke?” Second guy says, “not at all.” First guy says, “thanks.” Second guy says, “but please don’t exhale.”
Granted we pump out a lot of carbon dioxide in our industrial society, but it’s also the stuff you and every living animal exhale and the stuff every living plant loves to inhale. Without this arrangement, we’re all dust.
What the EPA scientists are attempting to do is not protect us from pollution, but to manage industrial policy and create a “low carbon” world. Politicians like it because it will give them another thing to tax.
I’m not one of those who denies the existence of global warming, but I don’t think it has been established beyond reasonable doubt. What’s more important is that nobody in the government-scientific bureaucracy has had the fortitude to do a legitimate cost-benefit analysis of what it would really take to wean ourselves and the rest of the industrial world from fossil fuels. The industrial world has been developing for 300 years and has raised billions of people out of the muck and drudgery of subsistence farming. We turn our back on that at great peril. And nothing would do more to end the poverty, hunger and illness in the Third World than if they could develop the kind of transportation and electrical generation systems we all take for granted.
it is conceivable that we could cut our fossil-fuel based carbon dioxide emissions by half or better, but it would realistically take 100 years of innovation and wise government policy. Industrial systems are not easily dismantled. But today’s political climate makes anything this rational or long term well nigh impossible.
Stay tuned, this power grab by the EPA may do more to alter our way of life than all the bailouts put together, but there will be a battle for it. The scientists and greenies see a false heaven, the politicians see something new to tax. And the mainstream media is in the tank on this as well. Note the subconsciously implied endorsement in the New York Times headline at the link: “The Fight Plan For Clean Air.”
Note to NYT: carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless gas.
And try not to exhale, will ya?