Monday, April 2, 2007

March Sanity (In April)

As of today we know one branch of government acknowledges that the E in EPA might stand for something other than (friendly) Environment (for oil tycoons).

An agency whose mission is to “protect human health and the environment” can regulate greenhouse gases ( Craziness! One wouldn’t think a whole bunch of litigation would be necessary to arrive at that conclusion. The naïve among us might suppose the EPA would come to that conclusion on its own, based on scientific consensus regarding greenhouse gases and global warming. The naïve among us ignore the power of profits and the inertia of a fossil fuel based economy, I suppose.

Its cool to hear the Supreme Court sees the Clean Air Act as both enforceable and relevant to climate change. Unfortunately, there is a vast gap between today’s ruling and environmental policy that combats global warming. The ruling doesn’t explicitly say the EPA has to regulate greenhouse gases. You can bet there’ll be lots more litigation and lobbying before that happens.

In the meantime we Americans need to get moving. There are so many ways to conserve energy. By choosing to do so en masse we can create economic pressure to develop green products and political pressure that drives green policy. CEOs care about profit, and politicians care about re-election. That is not going to change. If environmentalism is seen as profitable, whether in terms of dollars or votes, these folks will become environmentalists. I am not delusional, just hopeful. There are significant barriers to a mass conservation movement, and change will likely be incremental. I allow myself to hope, though, that Americans will eventually muster the will and creativity to reduce our greenhouse gas output, even if it takes a little sacrifice.

Even though Massachusetts vs. Environmental Protection Agency isn’t revolutionary, I can breathe a sigh of relief. Way to go Supremes. I’d like to drive all 1056 miles round-trip just to give each of you a big hug. Don’t worry, as a token of appreciation for your green sensibilities I’ll hold back.

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