Going beyond the hype...

Is it real? Is it Hype? Is it Hot in Here? GreenhouseTruth.com, an unbiased portal for climate change resources and news is the proud home of Nathan Cool's new book, Is it Hot in Here? where these and other questions about a potentially warming world are revealed in their simple, and sometimes sobering truth.

GreehouseTruth Blog  ::  Carbon Dioxide Goes to Court

Free newsletter

Free newsletter


Tell a friend about this page

Tell a friend



Global Warming Blog

Carbon Dioxide Goes to Court
U.S. Supreme Court to decide on regulating CO2 emissions
Posted August 11, 2006 by Nathan Cool

The Clean Air Act of 1990 was a positive step in the environmentally appropriate direction to clean up smog, repair the ozone layer, reduce acid rain, and other issues aimed at reducing pollution in the air we breathe. While this ecologically sound, government based regulation has served to reduce carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, lead, and particulate matter such as dust, soot and smoke, it didn't address carbon dioxide. Why, you may ask? Well, carbon dioxide is not really a pollutant--an argument used time and again by global warming skeptics touting its benefits as plant food. So while our air has become easier to breathe since 1990 through the implementation of smog control, CFC reduction and other measures, greenhouse gases like CO2 have been left unchecked. But that may soon change.

On June 26, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments on whether the federal government should step in and regulate carbon dioxide in the same way it does the elements restricted by the Clean Air Act. This lawsuit, which argues that CO2 can harm the environment via climate change, pits 12 states, 13 environmental groups, two cities and American Samoa against the fed. This lawsuit could be a major breakthrough for the pro global warming campaign while being a burden for big industry and all of us who rely on the way our economically prosperous world turns today.

As I mention in chapter 8 of my upcoming book, Is it Hot in Here? -- The simple truth about global warming, when talking about the hotly debated Kyoto Protocol, there are indeed financial repercussions to any reduction of fossil fuel use or the reduction of greenhouse gases. Sadly, we've become so dependant as a society on the use of fossil fuels for energy use that any deviation from the norm of today can hit us where it hurts: the pocketbook. But if the fed does lose, and is forced to take control of carbon dioxide, would it actually affect we the people, or would it only be a blow to big business?

Since the Clean Air Act of 1990 came into existence, our economy has grown by leaps and bounds while improving the environment around us. Cutting back on air pollutants, CFCs and the like did not take the U.S. economy into a death spiral of monetary loss. Instead, we've thrived. The Clean Air Act didn't necessarily put restrictions on the consumer; its basis was focused on those who provide things to the consumers. Ergo, big business had to change their ways, and we the consumers merely kept trotting along as though nothing really changed--automakers had to implement smog devices in cars, aerosol packaging was converted to eliminate CFCs, and smoke stacked factories were forced to clean up their act.

Big business is known to lobby against things that will hurt their profit margins, usually with more interest in their investors than the environment. If not, then we'd have hydrogen cars right now, and there would be far fewer restrictions and tariffs on importing ethanol in from South America. Listening to the arguments from those in the ivory towers will obviously be biased and tainted, like the "CO2 is plant food" argument that is so often used out of context. It will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court interprets all of this. No matter what the outcome though, win or lose, this case will set a precedent on global warming and the responsibility of those who influence the fumes that can warm our world.

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling is likely to come next year in 2007.

More information on the Kyoto Protocol, alternative fuels, CO2 as plant food, financial repercussions of greenhouse gas reductions and other topics discussed in this blog can be found in my new book, Is it Hot in Here?--The simple truth about global warming. To get your copy, Click Here.