Obama says greenhouse gases are hurting us — now what?

April 17, 2009

The Obama administration’s move to declare climate-warming carbon pollution a danger to human health was quickly hailed by environmental groups and leading liberals as a long-overdue shift from the Bush era and a historic first step toward regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

In making the announcement, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson said that solving the problem would not only clean up the air but also “create millions of green jobs and end our country’s dependence on foreign oil.”

She says the way to do it is for Congress to pass comprehensive climate change legislation while at the same time averting a “regulatory thicket” that unduly burdens governments and businesses.

But announcing that greenhouse gases are bad and getting the likes of the Natural Resources Defense Council and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to agree with you is the easy part.

 Manufacturers and industry groups, concerned that they will end up shouldering the cost of cleaning up the atmosphere, were wary.

And, speaking of thickets, it will be no easy task getting such monumental policy change as a renewable portfolio standard for utilities, a cap-and-trade program or a carbon tax through Congress during an economic recession.

So, what do you think?  Do you agree with the EPA?  Can Obama get it done during a recession?  Should he? What do you expect him to do first? And if you had his ear, what would be tops on your wish list?

Top photo: Reuters/ Lucy Nicholson (the Los Angeles skyline)

Bottom photo: Reuters/ Fred Prouser (a downtown Los Angeles freeway)


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This legislation is a total disregard of the life supporting qualities of carbon dioxide.

read: http://ilovemycarbondioxide.com

How far can these bureaucrats get away from the essence of life?

We are in the century of stupidity (climate change and maligning CO2)

The media sure let us down with biased reporting.

Independent research from books like (Blue Planet in Green Shackles) or the internet
I recommend. If we do not wake up finally, we loose a decent life style .

Posted by GrandmaX | Report as abusive

This is simply good reporting, on long-awaited important dialogue from the U.S. government on climate change and CO2. $Billions are also going into electric transportation, another green move announced by the U.S. government on March 19/09. I have a hard time seeing the argument against changing how we live on the planet, if the changes stand to improves things for everyone. It’s less about disputing over how we are destroying the planet, whether it’s with air pollution in the form of CO2 or landfill mismanagement, and should be more about actually making positive changes and working together cooperatively in our communities and between countries. The debate on climate change ended some time ago Now we are starting to really see some action. This is why the I.E.A. exists, to advise world governments on energy security. They, and the IPCC, have urged all world governments to make the necessary changes because the world’s leading scientists work tirelessly to provide accurate and substantiated data about climate change due to human activity. Let’s keep it positive, this is awesome discussion on the part of U.S. President Obama and his administration.

Posted by Anja Atkinson | Report as abusive

IT IS SIMPLE FOLKS, if you think global warming is a fairy tale, just open your eyes and ears, gaze upon and listen to the reports of the shrinking of the polar ice caps, the huge ice shelf breaking off. You think the tsunami’s that took place not so long ago are jes a little random bleem of nature, just wait. the more ice that shrinks and falls into the ocean, the more water is displaced and the more tsunami’s will come.
There is so much evidence out there to try and discredit global warming, after all cleaning up our act costs people money, people dont like spending money unless it is for greedy selfish things. I suppose most everyone thinks that god is going to save us anyway, thats a whole other story, but it is why i have a bone to pick with christians and people of faith.
Lets clean up our act, do what we can do to try and save the planet. Even if it takes small steps, lets quit rebelling against what we know is the inevitable, the eventual destruction of our planet because some big corperation wants to make a little more money. That money wont be worth anything if everyone is dying and there is no place to spend it.

Posted by michael | Report as abusive

I don’t like this talk about 2050. Global warming is already a problem, and there’s always a worry about some unstable process like decay of thawed, ancient vegetation, decomposition of aquatic methane clathrates, destruction (and decomposition) of forests or reduction of polar reflectivity, that gets started by warming and then causes devastating warming on its own with no way to stop it. We’ve never tried this before. I don’t think we have 40 years for deliberation, or denial.

A recent popular article, about which I have some reservations, apparently pointed out that getting off fossil fuels will be a Herculean effort, maybe comparable to a decades-long war effort. Even for celulosic ethanol and biomass combustion, the acres that must be planted may exceed what we have. There are also issues of topsoil erosion, runoff pollution and water availability.

Any biological or chemical, solar solution needs to have good efficiency. Solar cells are already 10% efficient. We can fund research, but we shouldn’t gamble our future on it.

Off the cuff, solar cells could meet our power needs (in the daytime) with a single installation of 50 miles on a side, at a cost at todays price of $10 trillion. For night-time, we’d either need wind power or storage. When I did the math it looked like a DC transmission line could carry such power coast to coast at 75% efficiency if the thickness of the conductors was tripled. (This is also off the cuff.)

Regarding Carbon Capture and Sequestration, it just seems like Nuclear Waste Two. And to go nuclear we’d need possibly over 1,000 nukes.

Microgeneration using fossil fuels is just as bad for global warming as centralized generation. It seems to have a cult following of people who worry about exploitation by major interests. A healthy worry, but your solution needs to work! Natural gas does produce fossil CO2 when burned.

But, I’m worrying too early. Only within recent months has this been faced as a priority. We have yet to see whether Washington muffs it badly.

Posted by Pete Cann | Report as abusive

Sounds like a scheme to tax us for breathing.

Posted by M0nst3rB0y | Report as abusive

People need to start taking the little steps. I think people need to be encouraged to donate what little they can, whether that donation be in the form of money or time. I think people just DO NOT realize how quickly things are disappearing. For example, one of the nation’s largest and most productive expanses of coastal wetlands, the gulf coast, is disappearing. Every 50 minutes, we lose about enough land to fill a football field. If people do not act now coastal Louisiana will cease to be everything that it should be. The potential collapse of this intricate ecosystem would have enormous negative environmental consequences for wildlife habitat and marine life.

I learned about it on youtube. They have great videos. And it is a great organization to get involved with, because they really care and are trying to raise awareness.

See it at: http://www.youtube.com/user/marmillionco

Posted by Caitlin Vartain | Report as abusive

cover lakes and reserviors with solar panels mounted on floating structures by the square kilometers .this will save giga litres of water to evaporation and at the same time produce solar power,2mwper square km.Economy of scale will give boost to solar technology .and save water .

Posted by william tie | Report as abusive

Grandma X, what planet do you live on? Have you read about glacial retreat, the drying up of the Earth’s great lakes, natural ocean fishery collapse not caused by over fishing?
Sea levels are rising and soil erosion is advancing around the world at an alarming rate. People who live off the land have great difficulty feeding themselves. 1500 Indian farmers committed mass suicide in desperation behind the crops that have already failed completely.

Perhaps if you lived in a nation without a vast military to assure the provisions of abundance you might find life quite different. Our abundance in this country comes from other parts of the world. Because of the power of western currencies, resources from developing countries go to the wealthy nations before the indigenous people as the west can pay more. This is why 30,000 children die each day from a lack of potable water. Indian Ocean fisheries have collapsed and western fishing ships go into territorial waters illegally and fish out what are left to sell to Japan or Europe. The result is Iranian fishers are reduced to smuggling and Somalian fishers piracy in order to feed their families and pay back loans to World Bank vendors for their boats as there are no more fish.

You are wrong Grandma, we will loose an abundant life style, not a decent one. But that’s to much like right.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

At some point the media must stop making this a political issue (“.. and leading liberals..”). This is an issue that informed people from all walks of life and political persuasions acknowlege as a grave treat to everyone’s quality of life – particularly the next generation’s.

The glaring selfishness and lack of basic scientific understanding on the part of many deniers is saddening. They’re balancing their perceived short-term inconveniences against massive changes in most of the planet’s ecosystems that will result from rapid climate change.

The alarming part is that these delaying tactics are only going to make it harder to avoid the worst changes that are already occuring at rates surpassing the UN IPCC’s supposedly ‘dire’ predictions. There is much we don’t know, but there is enough information to demonstrate that we must take action now.

I urge people to expand their climate change research sources to include government and scientific organizations in the US and elsewhere. If you’re only getting your information from media ‘experts’ and info-tainers, you’re missing most of the facts. In this instance, as in many others, ignorance is not bliss.

Posted by RJ LeFave | Report as abusive

The greens where I live are opposed to this wind farm, take a look at

Posted by peter | Report as abusive