As you know, the Clean Air Act was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by the president. (It was originally enacted and then signed by President Richard Nixon in 1970, and amended in 1977 and 1990.) In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the authority, under the Clean Air Act, to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Therefore, curbs on carbon dioxide emissions are, in effect, mandated.
A few weeks ago, The Charleston Daily Mail (in West Virginia) published an editorial concerning support for regulation of power-plant emissions which was surprising – given that The Daily Mail is in a major coal producing region. Also, The Houston Chronicle – a newspaper in an oil and gas state – editorially supported the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions.
Recently, in testimony before a U.S. Senate Sub-committee, four former Republican heads of the EPA, supported such regulations. In addition, on June 21, in The New York Times, former Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson, a Republican, called for a tax on carbon dioxide emissions.
In a nationwide poll conducted in June by ABC News and The Washington Post, 70% of the respondents reported “the federal government should limit the release of greenhouse gases from existing power plants in an effort to reduce global warming.”
These developments suggest that nationally the mood of citizens is changing in response to events in their lives and research reports by climate scientists worldwide.
The changes now under way may not proceed as smoothly as we would like, but increased use of alternative sources of energy and energy conservation are crucial to our economy, our health, and our survival.