States Sue EPA Over Greenhouse Gas Ruling

A coalition of 16 states and 11 environmental groups is taking the federal government to court regarding the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new cars and trucks. The move comes exactly one year after a Supreme Court ruling that carbon dioxide and other vehicle pollutants fall under the guidelines of the federal Clean Air Act, and therefore require regulatory action from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA has essentially ignored that order, forcing states to bring the battle back into the courtroom. “The court rejected the EPA’s claim that it lacks authority under existing law to regulate greenhouse gases,” said James Milkey, the chief of the environmental protection division at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, in the New York Times. “It has the duty to regulate, not just the authority.”

EPA administrator Stephen Johnson has been criticized for dragging his feet on this issue for the past twelve months. Though he responded to the initial court ruling by saying the EPA would take actionable steps to reduce greenhouse gases, there were no signs of progress by the end of 2007. In March 2008, he announced that he would only make decisions about regulation following a period of public comment to gather more information—a move that was perceived as stall tactic by environmentalists and policy makers.

Many environmentalists see the EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson’s reluctance to take action on greenhouse gases from new vehicles as a direct reflection of the Bush administration’s lack of commitment to reducing carbon emissions.

On Wednesday, the states petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeal for the District of Columbia to force the EPA to declare its official position on greenhouse gas regulation within 60 days.


  • Enviro scientist

    I have spent the last few weeks pouring over global warming and greenhouse scientific literature. As an environmentalist who also believes in honesty I am dismayed. Some of it is out right fraud, some is incompetent, and the rest is very weak. We have so many important and real environmental problems that need to be addressed that to waste time with a problem that isn’t supported by any data is criminal.

  • Boom Boom

    The administration is all about the “rule of law” unless they don’t like the law, then they ignore it.

    How many more months of this do we have?

  • Jeff

    EnviroScientist,

    Are you actually an environmental scientist? What research have you conducted? Though the earth has survived massive natural climate change in the past and there is some reason to question what is causing current climate trends what is wrong with doing all we can to reduce our potential impact on the environment? Cutting back on oil use for fuel so that it can be put to other longer term uses such as making HDPE pipe to send clean water to a village is a good thing. What is wrong with people wanting to breathe cleaner air?

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Jeff. Once you burn oil it is gone forever. There is no way to “recycle it” – unless you count carbon absorbed by plants, etc, but we all know that is VERY SLOW. Let’s use it for things we really want it for, not transportation or heating!

    Furthermore, the only way to discount the idea that human activity is causing global warming/climate change is to discount the opinion of EVERY country’s equivalent of the National Academy of Sciences, as well as EVERY Noble Prize winning scientist who has expressed an opinion on the matter. Why don’t people get it – CLIMATE IS REAL AND HUMAN ACTIVITY IS CAUSING IT!!!!

    The debate is so over….

  • Anonymous

    The debate won’t be over as long as there are multinational corporations making billions of dollars a day whose very core product is one of the largest contributers to the problem. A few million here or there will continue the “debate” for some time to come.

  • sean

    I’m surprised at Enviro Scientist’s comments. Even ex PM John Howard of Australia is now a convert for Global Warming (well he may just have pretended to be a convert for the election, and lost ebcause voters didn’t believe he’s serious about Global Warming and Climate Change).
    Is Enviro Scientist from Bob Lutz’s camp?

  • NotanEnviroScientistbutplayoneinblog

    Well, as you can tell by my post name, just because he “claims” he’s an environmental scientist doesn’t actually make him one. I don’t think there are any legit scientists left in the world who don’t realize the legitimacy of the evidence about global warming and the seriousness of the problem.

    The only true debate left at this point is how far the actions must be taken and how fast to try and avert a global calamity and prevent James Lovelock’s prediction of doom to 80% of the human population….

  • NotanEnviroScientistbutplayoneinblog

    Oh.. it didn’t show all of it.. my name is “NotanEnviroScientistbutplayoneinblog”

  • steved28

    I agree that the jury is still out on the impact of AGW. But there are so many other benefits. When you reduce CO2, so many other harmful pollutants must follow suit. And then there is the obvious benefit of our dependence on foreign oil (or lack thereof). Sometime I also wish that all the focus was not on green house gases. If we have a very inactive sunspot cycle, and the globe actually cools in the next cycle, will all the progress made wither for lack of a reason? And will science ever be believed again?

  • Envirocitizen

    I think we should do everything we can to get off oil. But the question of humans and C02 causing gobal warming is a big guess. The guys who made the computer model of gobal warming can’t even predict the weather next month, so lets do everything we can, but try and stay reasonable.

  • Anonymous

    I thought the court decision said the EPA has the authority to regulate CO2 emission from man made sources, but did not rule that the EPA is required to regulate those sources?

    Say we compare an active person with a person who is sedentary? Should the EPA issue regulations saying the active person must not exercise because he or she exhales more than their share of CO2? After all, it is a man made source.

    The limits of regulatory reach seems a subject for discussion among environmentalists, and if there are no limits, then what is being advocated under the guise of environmentalism, is communism. Food for thought folks.

  • Jeff

    If it is communism that allows a group of like minded people to regulate emissions more strictly than the federal government what is wrong with that. If California wants to be the cleanest state in the US let them damn it. What is the down side? Auto makers with crappy cars sell fewer cars in California. Sounds good to me!

  • Donald

    The evidence of that CO2 is warming our atmosphere is non-existent. Over the last 650,000 years the Earth has warmed and cooled in a cyclical pattern as shown on the chart in “An inconvenient truth”. The problem is that the earth warms 800 years before the CO2 rises meaning that CO2 didn’t cause the warming. Something else did and the climatologists admit that they don’t know this unknown cause. Since CO2 is less soluble in warm oceans the oceans degas as the earth warms leading to the 800 year lag.

    Many scientists disagree with the “settled science” (settled science is an oxymoron) and so in an attempt to silence them they slander the messeger. Solar physicists generally don’t agree with the greenhouse effect. As a physical chemist, I have been analyzing data for 25 years on a daily basis with the same statistical models used by the climatologists. The claims are not supported by the data. Rather than slander and claim that all scientists agree, debate the data. When people slander as a first defense it is a sign that they know there point of view can’t be supported.

    The greenhouse effect cause is bleeding energy from real environmental problems and will be exposed as junk science in due time.

  • ICanClaimToBeScientistToo

    So Donald… wheres your data posted?? Where’s your credentials?? If you are so certain and have so much evidence in hand, lets see it… In the meantime, I will go with the hundreds and hundreds of LEGITIMATE scientists who have done the study – and published the results – and have now shown that the effect and global warming is legit and dangerous.

  • Nea

    Although the issue of predicting climate change is by definition un-provable until after the event, there is an overwhelming consensus by the leading experts in the field that this is a real threat and that there is mounting data to support the predictions.

    Read the IPCC report whose brief is to:

    “assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the latest scientific, technical and socio-economic literature produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change, its observed and projected impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy”

    Their conclusions fly in the face of your suggestions Donald. Quite apart from that you may also want to consider the Precautionary Principle which suggests that we should take the strong possibility seriously because of the potentially devastating effects for millions of people across the planet.

  • ICanClaimToBeScientistToo

    Nice one Nea…

    I am so tired of going to all these sites and seeing idiots just posting “global warming is fake” and “its all an illusion” without making an effort to back up thier efforts.

    I challenge anyone who really thinks that global warming is false to please provide legitimate published scientific evidence that would refute the overwhelming published scientific evidence that shows how the effects of Ghg is real.

    You do that, you meet that challege, and I will be the first to come up and admit you are right. Until that time, please don’t just throw around uneducated and unsupported opinions as fact.

  • RandalH

    It’s not up to anyone to prove the theory of anthropogenic global warming false. The burden of proof is on those claiming that it is true.

    However, now that the federal govt is the impediment to progress in reducing CO2 (and I don’t disagree that it’s prudent to do so) maybe we’ll see a surge of state’s rights advocates in the environmental movement. After all, the whole idea is that progressive states can lead by example and move much farther faster than a federal bureaucracy ever could.

  • ICanClaimToBeScientistToo

    Umm… the burden of proof on global warming is already there.

    Lets start with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Joint science academies’ of the G8+5, InterAcademy Council, European Academy of Sciences and Arts, Network of African Science Academies, U.S. National Research Council, American Meteorological Society, Royal Meteorological Society (UK), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Physics, American Astronomical Society, American Physical Society, Federal Climate Change Science Program, National Center for Atmospheric Research, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London, American Quaternary Association, Geological Society of America, American Chemical Society, Federation of American Scientists, Engineers Australia (The Institution of Engineers Australia), Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, European Geosciences Union, International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, International Union of Geological Sciences, International Council for Science & the European Science Foundation.

    Who do you have?

  • ICanClaimToBeScientistToo

    With the July 2007 release of the revised statement by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, no remaining scientific body of national or international standing is known to reject the basic findings of human influence on recent climate.

  • RandalH

    You have a meaningless list of copy-and-paste me-too organizations, most of which likely get (or would like to get) funding for climate research. That doesn’t equal proof. You should know that if you claim to be a scientist.

    By the way, you missed the American Osteopathic College of Proctology.

  • Nea

    Well now – I would say the burden of proof cuts equally both ways! As I said previously, climate change is impossible to prove until after the event (unfortunately). However, it is equally not possibly to prove that it won’t happen – until after the event. There are an increasing number of empirical observations which climatologists believe support the predictions of climate change.

    The point is that we are talking about probabilities, and about balance of opinions. And on balance, it is true that at this point in time there is an *overwhelming* scientific balance of opinion that believes that the threat is real.

    Now, it is also true that some groups benefit from research grants the more real the problem is perceived to be. That has always been the way with any large scale development in science. You will also find people who are prepared to back either side of the argument – because let’s face it there are going to be a *lot* of losers if policy changes as dramatically as it needs to.

    I think it’s a little disingenuous to call the long list of very well respected scientific organisations “cut-and-paste-me-too” and meaningless. The point you are avoiding there is that there is an overwhelming agreement in the mainstream scientific community that the threat is real. The dissentors at this point of time are in the minority – most of them have their own interests – and we cannot afford to ignore the threat.

  • ICanClaimToBeScientistToo

    Ahh… more ignorance in action. Did you actually READ my post name? i can CLAIM to be a scientist too. Doesn’t mean that I necessarily am. In fact, unlike the Donald, I have actually never said I was a scientist.

    So where is the website for your cut-and-paste organization?? Where is thier statement regarding global warming?? See, again you miss the point, I am fully able to provide data and information from EVERY SINGLE ONE of the organizations I listed.

    So again, I challenge you. What legitimate organization do you have with a statement and data claiming that what every other organization is claiming to be true is false?? Don’t respond with rhetoric and stupid comments that only show your LACK of true education on the issue. Respond with facts. Scientifically supported and tested facts.

    The world awaits…

  • Todd C

    The whole “global warming/climate change” reason was always a poor way to get people to stop polluting the air, especially those who profit extensively from continuing to do so. Throw in the fact that many see switching our industries to less polluting methods as terribly costly, virtual economic suicide, and it’s no surprise that so many of us go out of our way to prove that it’s a hoax.

    Find ways to make change profitable, and the resistance will vanish.

  • Nea

    OMG Todd – this has nothing to do with trying to get people to stop polluting the air per se – it has to do with a) The future of our planet b) The devastating impacts on millions of people across the globe.

    Of course it would be much easier and less costly for us all in the west and beyond if we didn’t have to wake up to the reality of global warming – that is why it was coined an “incovenient truth”. If you and too many others are short sighted enough to believe that the only way to bring change about is through profit then I would suggest that Lovelock’s catastrophe theory is going to play out. Enjoy the next 10-20 years before shit really hits the fan!!!

  • ICanClaimToBeScientistToo

    Ahh Todd.. spoken like a true capitalist.. all about the money… *&%$ the planet, just make sure I get paid. Well you will find yourself getting paid in the next few years.. but not in money, and not how you wanted…

  • Nea

    Oh – and for your own selfish reasons you may be investing in trying to prove that global warming is a hoax – but let’s see the credible evidence!!! You haven’t given any!

    Read the posts above – the *overwhelming* balance of scientific opinion is that global warming is a real threat – and is going to cause untold harm to peoples lives AND the world economies!

  • ICanClaimToBeScientistToo

    “it’s no surprise that so many of us go out of our way to prove that it’s a hoax.”

    Where’s the proof? My challenge still stands…. rhetoric isn’t proof. And you can’t prove the facts as a hoax. But your world will change, and of course the fat-cat robber barons who have made so much money off of the planet don’t want it to, so OF COURSE they are going to try and scare the general public into believing false hype that they put out. Opinions from non-experts passed off as evidence. Ignoring the real data, or saying silling lines like, “Oh, that proves nothing.”

    “Find ways to make change profitable, and the resistance will vanish.”

    Got another one for you: Find a way to make change NOW, or the human race will vanish. Time is running out….

  • Todd C

    Folks, I am not a capitalist, but I am a realist. I promise you, I was not posting my position. Sometimes you have to understand what motivates your opponent in order to defeat him. If you really want to change things for the better, you’ll need to rally more of the masses to your cause. Change is urgently needed, but let’s be smart as we choose our words and attempt to persuade others to our way of thinking. We don’t have the luxury of time. We need to bypass the bickering and get moving. Go after the decision-makers and investors, but instead of finger-pointing, bullying and badgering, find a way to make our goals their goals.

    Nea, ICanClaimToBeScientist, obviously you’re both educated thinkers, and you post on this site because you care about something that truly matters. None of us knows for sure what it will take to bring about change in this world. I think we owe it to ourselves, and more importantly to our planet, to find the fastest possible solution. See this as a world-wide tug-of-war. Now imagine if we were all pulling in the same direction.

  • Nea

    I’m glad you clarified your position Todd – and I am interested in your latest post. I agree that there is a place for this kind of thinking – and we should be having the debate about the best way of getting everyone on board as rapidly as possible.

    Where we can make it financially appealling for people to change their behaviour then I think it is an obvious way to go. However, I would fundamentally disagree with your suggestion that I (or ICanClaimToBeAScientist) are being ideallistic. It has long been recognised that the current economic systems in the Western world do not measure *true* long term costs to the consumer – and that is the flaw in your argument. Because the consequences of climate change are predicted to be so dire for so many people right across the globe (Western world included), and because of the projected timescales involved, I would strongly argue that it is ideallistic to believe that we can rely on monetary incentives alone to drive the kind of change that is required.

    The realistic options to avert disaster at this moment in time are radical policy changes – our leaders need to make bold decisions to ensure that the our futures are not blighted. It goes right against the grain of a free market economy, and yet, lo and behold, we are starting to see governments making unpopular decisions – taxing large fuel guzzling cars off the roads and imposing levies on Carbon polluters.

    In the opinion of the IPCC (which represents the most comprehensive review of scientific opinion that we currently have) speed of action is of the essence – and we need to make radical changes *yesterday*!

  • Todd C

    I think we’re on the same side Nea. I’m talking about finding ways to coax change from the worst of the carbon polluting offenders who generally choose the financial path of least resistance. If we offer options that triple someones costs, they’re unlikely to do it, no matter how green and popular it may be. Find and offer green options that also cut their costs, (solar perhaps?) and the change becomes a no-brainer. I’m not necessarily suggesting tax-incentives, but I’m not ruling it out, either. Time is absolutely of the essence, and that’s why I advocate an end to the finger pointing. On an increasingly crowded Earth, I think it makes more sense to work with our neighbors and not against them. Is not the best solution the one that is adopted… and actually works? Unclench

  • ICanClaimToBeScientistToo

    Todd, thank you! It’s nice that we can actually have some intelligent conversation. I totally agree with everything you said. The problem lies really with the “dark side”. They are the ones who keep doing what they can to twist the facts to make is so that they can argue that we should just go with business as usual.

    In a way the greatest thing to happen in the past couple of years hasn’t been the global warming – it’s the price of oil rising to unprecedented heights. For the first time in probably ever it’s finally becoming financially viable to start pursuing alternative feul and energy sources. And then if we can put in other incentives (even if we are using the “oil-independence” argument), then we can start the processes to start moving towards where we need to go.

    Then as the evidence continues to accumulate that more is needed in other areas, we will (hopefully) already be in the process of changing the way the world works and getting it back under control….

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  • claire

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