It just became official: global warming is bad for our health.
You think? This headline may look like something lifted from The Onion – but in fact we’re talking legally and in the Here and Now. For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency appears to have designated greenhouse gases (the most infamous being carbon dioxide) as a danger to human health, opening the way to regulating these gases under the Clean Air Act.
In other words: the government is legally required to directly tackle these gases as pollutants that threaten people right now – not as a form of housekeeping for the future of our planet.
The Obama adminstration has been quick to impress with its unprecedented environmental reforms – but this is potentially colossal. And naturally it has a sizable slice of the commercial sector up in arms. They’re asking the question: is a recession really the time to impose such a check upon economic development? The fear is that all major manufacturing projects will have to comply with stricter emissions controls, which will prove costlier and so hamper economic growth.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is unimpressed, to say the least – but it ties in nicely with the current government’s proposed “cap and trade” system, where companies will have to obtain a permit to be allowed to release emissions.
Whether such hands-on regulation comes from Congress or from the EPA, it appears to be on the way at last. Democrat Edward Markey has stated that the EPA report “will officially end the era of denial on global warming”. And that’s change by anyone’s definition.