March 05, 2008

Did He Just Say 'Endanger'?

This is a great catch by Lisa Heinzerling. So, last week, EPA head Steven Johnson finally explained why he had rejected California's request to set its own, stricter tailpipe standards last December. His 48-page report argued that global warming endangered the public health of all Americans, and hence, California wasn't facing the sort of "extraordinary and compelling conditions" that would justify it being allowed to do its own thing.

Now, that's probably untrue. The increased risk of water shortages and forest fires due to climate change are likely to hit California harder than most other states. Also, according to one recent study, "global warming currently causes greater respiratory and cardiovascular disease in California per person than in other states through its impact on air pollution."

But set that aside. California's almost surely going to win this legal battle eventually. The fun part is that, under the Supreme Court's ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA last year, the EPA is required to start regulating carbon-dioxide emissions as soon as it makes an "endangerment finding." And what do you know, that's basically what Johnson's report was: It says that global warming is "unequivocal" and threatens to endanger public health. Granted, Johnson's trying to deny that that's what it was, but it sure looks and quacks like one...
-- Brad Plumer 9:22 PM || ||