EPA Demonstrates Common Sense

It is good to see the EPA demonstrating common sense, hard as that is to believe. Particularly after watching Al Gore push tortured analogies decrying the opponents of the global warming ideology. I am getting disturbed that some of this bone headed thinking will work itself into the global economic system.

The worst idea that I heard recently was that the developed world, after shipping our polluting industries offshore, should turn around and slap on a carbon tax on all imports. We really need to turn the current financial panic into a true depression.

I have rarely seen such a lack of economic leadership in the political world. Both Democratic candidates sound hopeless on the issue, although perhaps you can trust Hillary to actually do nothing as her husband had the good sense to do in a different time and place. Of course, if you live in Pennsylvania, you may think she means it about NAFTA, and if you live anywhere else, you sure as hell hope she doesn’t. Obama however, seems to be a follower of ideas that may betray him and he has not come out with a strong convincing economic position. Unfortunately, we can say the same thing about John McCain. He however, appears most likely to recognize and follow good advice. I am personally impressed by his support of the Iraqi surge and he is certainly the best option for wriggling out of there.

We have been blessed for the past forty years, to have had strong voices who have positively influenced economic policy and have benefited with a full twenty five years of solid economic expansion that reinvigorated both Europe and Japan and ignited the emergence of both China and India as viable economic powers.

Yet we always hear the voices of the economically ignorant who desperately want to promote state power in the naïve belief that this can work. How many Katrinas do we need? Human greed will trump good intentions every time.

That is the elephant at the party in China today. And it is starting to rumble. The only escape hatch for the Chinese political leadership with their loot is in fact to start a program of free elections, starting at the local level and quickly moving to the higher stages in two year steps. It could have been done slower, but I do not think that they have that much time left. Heaven no longer needs them.

The truth is that global warming was likely never tied to CO2 production as we have investigated this past year. But CO2 production without paying attention to CO2 offsets is just bad husbandry unless you think throwing night soil out the window is a sustainable practice. CO2 management is not about not burning fossil fuels – they will all one day be burned – it is about using good husbandry to maximize CO2 sequestration in the soils every way we can.

It struck me today that terra preta soil culture will permit the maximization of soil nutrient content. This means that no food crop should be ever nutrient deficient which is the holy grail of organic farmers. At this point, this is only my hypothesis, supported by a scattering of evidence. I suspect that it is both possible and sustainable.

Recall that in 10,000 years, that agricultural man has never had a way to create fertile soil easily if in fact at all in many circumstances. Corn culture terra preta does just that in just a few years. The resultant soil is a nutrient sponge.

EPA Signals Caution on Global Warming

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government made clear on Thursday it will not be rushed into deciding whether to regulate emissions linked to global warming, as the Supreme Court directed nearly a year ago.

Such action "could affect many (emission) sources beyond just cars and trucks" and needs to be examined broadly as to other impacts, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency wrote lawmakers.

Stephen Johnson said he has decided to begin the process by seeking public comment on the implications of regulating carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas, on other agency rules that cover everything from power plants and factories to schools and small businesses.

That process could take months and led some of his critics to suggest he was shunting the sensitive issue to the next administration.

"This is the latest quack from a lame-duck EPA intent on running out the clock ... without doing a thing to combat global warming," said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass. He is chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

The Supreme Court said in April 2007 that carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is a pollutant subject to the Clean Air Act. The court directed the EPA to determine if CO2 emissions, linked to global warming, endanger public health and welfare.

If that is the case, the court said, the EPA must regulate the emissions.

The ruling, in a lawsuit by Massachusetts against the EPA, dealt only with pollution from cars and trucks.

Johnson said Thursday that if CO2 is found to endangered public health and welfare, the agency probably would have to curtail such emissions from other sources as well. That could affect a range of air pollution, from cement factories, refineries and power plants to cars, aircraft, schools and off-road vehicles.

"Rather than rushing to judgment on a single issue, this approach allows us to examine all the potential effects of a decision with the benefit of the public insight," Johnson wrote the leaders of the House and Senate environment committees.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, who heads the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, noted that Johnson has had nearly a year to respond to the court but "now, instead of action, we get more foot-dragging."

"Time is not on our side when it comes to avoiding dangerous climate change. This letter makes it clear that Mr. Johnson and the Bush administration are not on our side, either," Boxer, D-Calif., said in a statement.

Senior EPA employees have told congressional investigators in the House about a tentative finding from early December that CO2 posed a danger because of its climate impact. They said a draft regulation was distributed to the Transportation Department and the White House.

The EPA officials, in interviews with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said those findings were put on hold abruptly. Johnson has said that enacting tougher automobile mileage requirements in December meant that the issue had to be re-examined.

Johnson said a requirement for greater use of renewable fuels such as ethanol changed the landscape when it comes to CO2 regulation.

"It does not change EPA's obligation to provide a response to the Supreme Court decision," Johnson wrote Congress.

Environmentalists said Johnson's approach seemed to signal no meaningful action on climate change.

"EPA has offered a laundry list of reasons not to regulate," said Vickie Patton, a lawyer for Environmental Defense.

Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, an advocacy group, added, "This means any real action is going to come in the next administration."

But lawyer Chet Thompson, a former EPA deputy general counsel, said Johnson's approach was "very responsible given the numerous issues raised" and ramifications of regulating carbon dioxide.

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