Tuesday, March 3, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Per Capita Davis: What’s up in Washington?

By
February 15, 2011 |

Of course, any member of Congress can propose any law he or she wants, and there is a very long road to travel between having a bill introduced and actually having it signed into law. But here are some of the proposals emerging from the new Congress that relate to climate change.

First; the budget. The Republican majority in the House is seeking mid-year program cuts up to $100 billion, including a reduction of $900 million from energy efficiency and conservation programs and $1.8 billion from the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency (the arm of the federal government that regulates carbon dioxide emissions).

The Energy and Power subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee recently held a hearing to review EPA regulations related to climate change during which members asserted that the scientific studies warning of the consequences of increasing greenhouse gas emissions amount to a massive hoax, and that the Supreme Court did not really give the EPA authority to regulate carbon dioxide.

A bill introduced by Rep. Upton, R-Mich., the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and jointly drafted by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., would abolish the EPA’s authority to issue regulations for the purpose of limiting climate change and would repeal the finding that CO2 emissions are a danger to human health and welfare. According to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, responding to questions at the above-mentioned hearing,  “The bill would, in its own words, repeal the scientific finding regarding greenhouse gas emissions.” She further commented that, “Politicians overruling scientists on a scientific question — that would become a part of this committee’s legacy.”

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., along with 113 co-sponsors, introduced HR 97 to nullify the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the EPA is required by the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide and to abolish the EPA’s authority to regulate CO2 emissions.

Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, introduced HR 153 to prohibit the EPA from implementing any kind of cap-and-trade system to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, introduced a bill that would prohibit the EPA from enacting regulations to limit pollution — including CO2 emissions — from cement plants.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Rep. Shelley Capito, R-W.Va., introduced legislation to create a two-year moratorium on any EPA regulations to limit carbon dioxide and methane emissions. This bill also would retroactively stop enforcement of regulations currently in effect to require new power plants and factories to reduce their carbon pollution.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., introduced a bill that would prohibit any part of the federal government, from the president on down to the EPA, to take any action with the primary purpose of controlling climate change. It would repeal the current requirement that big polluters track and report their emissions, and it would pre-empt state action to reduce emissions (including California’s authority to regulate carbon emissions from cars, one of the main planks of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act).

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, also has re-introduced his legislation (what he calls the Better Use of Light Bulb, or BULB bill) to repeal light bulb efficiency standards enacted by Congress in 2007 and now in effect in California that effectively bans the future use of inefficient incandescent light bulbs.

It’s hard not to notice the number of “R’s” after the names of the representatives and senators introducing these bills compared to the number of “D’s.” Not that there aren’t any “D’s” — there are. If there weren’t, Congress would have enacted climate change legislation in the previous session. Although the new Republican majority consists of a far greater number of climate skeptics than the previous Democratic majority, the preservation and protection of the status quo appears to be a bipartisan issue.

It’s also hard not to wonder how climate science endorsed and supported by virtually every credible scientist on the planet can be labeled a “hoax.” It beggars the imagination how even if one doesn’t believe that the observed increases in CO2 in the atmosphere, the rising temperatures in the northern latitudes, and the increasing number of extreme weather events are not caused by human activities emitting greenhouse gas emissions, it still makes sense from a conservative viewpoint to increase the efficiency of light bulbs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Failure to see the potential disaster looming in front of us is perhaps most perplexing. It is not just tree-huggers sounding the alarm. A 2007 report by senior retired military officers pointed out the potential national security implications of climate change and this was followed up by a National Intelligence Council assessment that raised the same concerns. The CIA established a Center on Climate Change and National Security in the 1990’s and has been cooperating with other governments to assess potential dangers from climate change since then but the center was largely ignored and under-funded during the Bush administration.

In 2009, Sen. Barrasso, R-Wyo. (see above),  attempted to block the CIA’s use of funds for the center asserting that, “The CIA’s resources should be focused on monitoring terrorists in caves, not polar bears on icebergs.”

It’s tempting to extrapolate from the CIA’s experience and conclude that the U.S. “intelligence” on climate change is woefully backwards.

— John Mott-Smith is a resident of Davis. This column appears the first and third Thursdays of each month. Send comments to  [email protected]

Comments

comments

John Mott-Smith

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Nominees sought for city’s human rights awards

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

     
    A different kind of March Madness: pedal power

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    STEM-Tastic Sunday highlights summer opportunities

    By Chloe Lessard | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    County: Baby Justice was on Social Services’ radar

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Budget standoff leaves California college hopefuls in limbo

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Pets of the week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Embroiderers will discuss needlework tools

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Tuleyome needs volunteers for work party

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    ‘Pearls Before Swine’ joins daily comics lineup

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Winter market wraps up Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Public broadband, on ‘Davisville’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Alcoholic liver disease strikes Hispanics years earlier

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Logos Books hosts conversation groups, poetry readings

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Get a taste of Middle Earth at library

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Holmes’ talent showcased

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Bingo games Sunday will benefit DHS Madrigals’ trip

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Go all in for fun at Texas Hold ‘Em tournament

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    DCC Nursery School hosts open house

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Join a fitness party at Zumba class

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Sure and begorrah!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Cycle de Mayo kicks off Bike Month

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Overeaters get support at meetings

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6Comments are off for this post

    Klein’s book featured at Authors on the Move

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Forum

    One more family insult

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Lady Blue Devils in semis Tuesday night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Aggie men host two big ones this week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Dream run ends for Davis’ master wrestlers

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devil boys net an easy tennis victory

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    In the Clubhouse: Summerhays Jr. talks about new post at El Macero CC

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Aggie lacrosse team takes home opener

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

     
    Newly acquired Smith scores in Sharks’ victory

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Blue Devil girls look for revenge in the pool

    By Kellen Browning | From Page: B10 | Gallery

     
    DHS boys aim to repeat as section swim champs

    By Kellen Browning | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    Name Droppers: Dunn graduates from Marine Corps basic training

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

    Thursday Live! features Keith Cary, Wyatt Hesemeyer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    Songs of the Civil War to be performed by Anonymous 4

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Davis Chorale starts year with demanding music

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Dieter W. Gruenwedel

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, March 3, 2015 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, March 3, 2015 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7