March 14, 2009

In Hot Pursuit Of CO2


Climate Change: Washington is about to crack down on carbon dioxide emissions. It had better hurry because it won't have much time before the backlash strikes. The public is losing its faith in the global warming religion

The Environmental Protection Agency, under new management, wants to regulate emissions of CO2, as well as other greenhouse gases, as part of its campaign against global warming.

The next step is to establish a reporting system, which was proposed Tuesday, so the government can monitor private activity and eventually tax carbon emissions.

As many as 13,000 factories, power plants, refineries and other commercial enterprises that fuel the economy will be required to report to the government their levels of greenhouse gas emissions. From there, it's a small step to regulating hospitals, chain saws, fireplaces, lawn mowers, go-carts — you name it.

Carol Browner, head of the EPA under the Clinton administration and climate czar for the current White House, is certain that the EPA will make the "endangerment finding" that will help move the process along. The way she talks about it, it sounds like it is now a mere formality the EPA will declare CO2 to be a pollutant.

That's no surprise. The political left for years has been chasing down CO2, which isn't a pollutant even if the Supreme Court says it can be regulated as such under the Clean Air Act. It's a naturally occurring gas that's necessary for life to continue. And it makes up less than four hundred parts per million (0.038%) by volume of our atmosphere.

And humankind's contribution to that small portion is just over 3%, meaning that whatever we do, our impact on greenhouse gas concentrations is virtually negligible. By extension, our impact on global warming is just as negligible.

Our argument wouldn't be complete without pointing out that among greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide is a weak player. It makes up less than 4% of total greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Water vapor (clouds) is responsible for 95% of the greenhouse effect.

Yet the fight over global warming continues, and unprovable claims that there's a scientific consensus that humans cause the Earth to warm seem to be growing louder.

Is it because those who push this message of doom know their carefully constructed tale is collapsing?

The alarmists have to be aware that the American public is growing ever more skeptical about the global warming scare. (See chart.)

Even Democrats find the warnings have gone overboard. A Gallup poll taken this month found 22% of them say that the seriousness of global warming has been exaggerated, up from 18% last year, 16% in 2007 and 15% in 2006.

Republicans have, as could be expected, increasing doubts: 66% now think the dangers of global warming have been exaggerated compared to 59% last year and 57% in 2007.

The biggest increase in suspicious attitudes, though, is among independents. The share that believes global warming claims have been exaggerated has jumped by a third, from 33% in 2008 to 44% this year.

This trend, as well as data from many other polls, indicates the public won't easily go along with the carbon tax that some in Washington want to burden the country with.

Neither will they be happy with a cap-and-trade scheme, as the costs incurred by businesses that have to buy emissions credits will be passed on to them.

Despite a steady media barrage of experts claiming that humans are responsible for global warming, Americans are growing wary.

Since they aren't seeing the intense heat, destruction and displacement they've been told they would see, their unwillingness to pay massive amounts to guard against a phony threat should be no surprise. They don't want to buy a new sky if the one we've always had isn't falling.

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