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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Toxic Logic: Bush’s refusal to regulate emissions isn’t the end; western states take lead

    Much has been made of the Supreme Court’s recent “”global warming decision,”” but it’s unlikely to change anything. Even so, inaction on the part of the Bush administration opens the door for innovation from Arizona and other states.

    Monday, the Supreme Court issued a stinging rebuke to President Bush, ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency could not refuse to regulate greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

    The case was a complex one, turning as it did on the constitutional principle of standing as well as the latest scientific knowledge from leading climate change researchers. Essentially, the EPA was claiming that it lacked the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions because the jury is still out on the effect of such emissions on global warming.

    As the Arizona Daily Wildcat reported Tuesday, however, four UA professors were pivotal in providing the scientific counterargument. In an amicus curiae brief, three UA professors joined other climate change researchers in writing that “”increases in greenhouse gases will almost certainly affect global climate and pose risks to human societies”” and that the EPA “”mischaracterized the scientific analysis in (a climate change report) and arrived at conclusions sharply at variance with the scientific judgments of the report.””

    The upshot of the Court’s decision, then, was an affirmation of the notion that the EPA does indeed have the authority to regulate “”tailpipe emissions”” from cars and trucks. Theoretically speaking, such regulations will most likely require higher auto fuel efficiency, something automobile makers and oil companies are loath to support.

    Still, while this is cause for much gnashing of teeth from conservatives and business groups, the decision is unlikely to affect the EPA’s policy before President Bush leaves office. Yesterday, The New York Times quoted Bush as saying, “”Unless there is an accord with China, China will produce greenhouse gases that will offset anything we do in a brief period of time.”” (Translation: I’m dragging my feet, and there’s nothing you can do about it.)

    That President Bush is refusing to take real steps to combat global warming comes as no surprise. But states like California (which is set to reduce the state’s carbon dioxide emissions 25 percent by 2020) can fill the vacuum, and by signing on to similar initiatives, Gov. Janet Napolitano has wisely followed suit.

    At the National Governors Association meeting in February, Gov. Janet Napolitano joined Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and others from western states to pursue a regional strategy for clean-energy technology and market-based solutions for greenhouse gas emissions.

    Here’s to hoping that more states will do what the ineffective Bush administration cannot. The future of our economy – and our planet – depends on it.

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