2009-01-21

Obama, at the Threshold Catastrophic Climate Change, Already Has the Tools to Act. By Mary Christina Wood and Tim Ream, Straight.com, January 19, 2009. "While many seek new climate legislation from Congress, legislators have squandered too much time in drawn-out deliberations with little to show for it. The urgency of planetary heating now demands immediate action -- action that can be taken immediately by newly sworn-in President Obama. The new President has the tools to regulate carbon through the Clean Air Act. In 2007, the United States Supreme Court set forth the statutory grounds for such regulation in a suit brought by states against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In a ruling that should have forced the President's hand, the Court directed EPA to determine whether carbon dioxide endangers public health and welfare. Such an endangerment determination would trigger a host of regulatory mechanisms in the Act that would result in quick reductions of carbon pollution across industrial and transportation sectors. It could also thwart the building of new coal fired plants without carbon sequestration, plants recently called 'factories of death' by NASA climate scientist James Hansen… Our children's and grandchildren's lives decades from now hang in the balance of actions taken early in this presidency. Absent swift carbon reduction now, they will find themselves trapped within a deadly atmospheric greenhouse of our own making… Citizens worldwide must make clear to President Obama that regulating carbon is… a firm trust obligation. He can, and must exercise that obligation immediately, without waiting for Congress, using the fullest extent of regulatory tools he already has at hand."

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