Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Supreme Court weighs in on global warming

On Monday April 2, the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must start implementing regulations on automakers and other industries to cut global emissions. Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority. Story here. Eventually, clean air regulations could pressure less affluent consumers to purchase new fuel efficient cars, even though doing so now is being seen as an act of good citizenship.

The Court also ruled against Duke Power Company, insisting that it must start using pollution control equipment on aging equipment. Story here.

Since the United States uses energy out of proportion to its population, action on energy conservation and greenhouse gas emission will be politically important as it deals with growing countries (especially China) determined to raise living standards, a problem that could eventually become as threatening as dependence on Middle East oil is now.

Update: 4/5/2007

Juliet Eilperin has a story in The Washington Post this morning, "Climate Panel Confident Warming Is Underway: Report to Detail the Role of Humans," here.
The report distinguishes between items of "high confidence" (80% certainty) and "very high confidence" (90% certainty). The terminology reminds me of the "highly confident " letters that used to justify hostile takeovers in the corporate world!

On April 6, a CNN story appears warning that a new dust bowl could develop in the United States, with severe water supply problems in the Southwest, story here. A related story is that Lake Superior is warming rapidly, here.
More media stories claim that the new reports warn of catastrophic changes for the planet. A most inconvenient truth.

Update: 4/16

On April 16, Seth Borenstein of the AP wrote a report "Global Warming a Security Risk: Retired Military Leaders Issue Report" warming that conflicts will arise over the sacrifices caused by changing climate and dwindling resources.

Picture: low lying area in Federalsburg, MD, on the Delmarva between Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, flooded in torrential rains last June 2006, a typical area that can be affected by global warming, 80 miles from Washington DC.

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