Here's one from Mike:
Its official! Carbon dioxide is a pollutant in the US (some think it's a pollutant from the US). Well now it's a five judges against four official pollutant - the US Supreme Court has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can and should regulate the emissions of four greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, from new vehicles. The US Clean Air Act dictates it.
After eight years, the Court called the Agency on abdication of Responsibility, and dismissed as nonsense a range of EPA excuses for inaction. The EPA played a number of poor get-out-of-jail-free cards - which met with eloquent derision in the Supreme Court ruling and were dismissed as Jokers.
Some examples of the Bush administration's case:
* There is no definitive proof linking the gases to global warming!
Yes there is says the judges, including the US Government's own 'objective assessment'.
* We need more research, there are many uncertainties surrounding climate change.
Well, as noted by the US national Academy of Sciences in 1979: "A wait and see policy may mean waiting until it is too late."
* Curtailing climate change emissions from new vehicles would certainly mean improving vehicle efficiency, that's not our job, that is for the Department of Transport.
That the DOT sets mileage standards in no way licenses EPA to shirk its environmental responsibilities. The EPA has been charged with protecting the public's "health" and "welfare"... a statutory obligation wholly independent of the DOT's mandate to promote energy efficiency.
There is more, so much more... but bottom line is the EPA has the authority and the responsibility to act, and it must do so, now!
Check out the rulings on the Supreme Court web site here and here -- but be warned these are in legalese.
OK one more silly one: Greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles are insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
Bullshit said the Judges. Well, no they didn't, that was me. What they said was a cut in US emissions would be a cut no matter what anybody else did! In short, the Court was not amused and commented: "...accepting that premise would doom most challenges to regulatory action. Agencies, like legislators, do no generally resolve massive problems in one fell regulatory swoop... they instead whittle away at them over time, refining their preferred approach as circumstances change and as they develop a more-nuanced understanding of how best to proceed."
Hooray for that, an important decision well articulated.
But, if this case took from 1999 to go through appeal to the Supreme court - and therefore eight years to reach a small and incremental enactment of pretty simple and fairly obvious control - we really have do not have time for a legal war of attrition to bring US regulatory agencies kicking and screaming to the climate control table.
Political will anyone?!