RELEASE: United States Starts Down Long, Difficult Road to Sufficient Climate Change Policy

By Earth's Newsdesk, a project of EcoInternet
CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org
Obama must lead on climate(Earth) — EcoInternet (EI) welcomes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ruling today that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases “may endanger public health or welfare”, a finding that opens the door to future regulation of such emissions under the Clean Air Act. EI continues to demand that emission cuts be fast and large, that Congress not weaken planned E.P.A. carbon regulation, and that Congress abandon cap and trade legislation for a simple, highly effective, carbon tax. And that the U.S. leads at Copenhagen or feel the consequences.
The E.P.A said in its proposed endangerment finding that “based on rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific analysis of six gases -; carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride -; that… these gases are at unprecedented levels as a result of human emissions, and these high levels are very likely the cause of the increase in average temperatures and other changes in our climate.” Human health and welfare was thus threatened by increased severity and intensity of storms; more frequent drought, heatwaves, and forest fires; rising sea levels; and harm to water resources, agriculture, wildlife and ecosystems.


“We are thrilled to see President Obama dismiss President Bush's years of criminal climate science obstruction, and to rejoin the world of civilized nations making public policy based upon ecological science, and needs of Earth and her humanity. We encourage the President to follow through with rigorous efforts to immediately begin reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including phasing out the use of coal and tar sands, ending old forest logging, committing further to energy efficiency and renewables, and resisting the siren song of industrial agrofuels,” says EcoInternet President, Dr. Glen Barry.
EcoInternet has provided leadership for years in the movement to have carbon dioxide regulated. EI's global Earth Action Network publicly and successfully worked with others to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that carbon dioxide is a pollutant under the Clean Air Act and that the EPA had the right to regulate CO2 emissions [1]. Earlier this year several thousand global citizen activists from around the world, organized by EI, urged the new President to “immediately start regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act [2].” President Obama listened.
Dr. Barry warns, however, that “Earth has already passed a critical threshold whereby there are too many people consuming too much, not enough terrestrial ecosystems remain intact, and there is too much carbon in the atmosphere. Maintaining the biosphere and achieving global ecological sustainability depends critically upon social change and personal transformation at a previously unknown scale. Humanity simply must stop burning and cutting Gaia to death, and embrace an age of ecological protection and restoration. This E.P.A. announcement is an important start.”
###ENDS###
[1] U.S. Supreme Court Must Rule for Carbon Regulation
[2] Urge President Obama to Say No to Canada's Filthy Tar Sands
EcoInternet provides the world's largest and most used climate and environment portals at http://www.climateark.org/ and http://www.ecoearth.info/ . Dr. Glen Barry is a leading global spokesperson on behalf of environmental sustainability policy. He frequently conducts interviews on the latest climate, forest and water policy developments and can be reached at: glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org

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9 Responses

  1. President Barack Obama is a leader for these times.

  2. Dave Moore says:

    Obama is a supporter of cap and trade which the Kyoto Protocol used. This failed to cut greenhouse gases which actually rose even in the countries that signed on to Kyoto.
    We should join Glen Barry and James Hansen calling for a carbon tax with a cut on other taxes such as income tax.
    Obama has not moved to stop mountaintop removal coal mining or expansion of coal owered electricity or oil shale exploration. Lets see some action before too many accolades.

  3. Richard Dadzie says:

    Changing some of the bush policies that simply ignored the overwhelming science is a good step in my opinion by the President. At least now we can have open and constructive discussion as to how we can tackle perhaps the biggest challenge of our lifetimes and that of our descendants.

  4. Mary says:

    From an article that was posted at http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/408/legacy.html, titled "The Bush Environmental Legacy: 9 Landmark Decisions" , gives an overview of the devastating decisions that the Bush Administration had on the environment. Two of the 9 I have listed here, these pertain directly to the loss of conservation and public lands:
    1. Dismantles the Roadless Rule: In 2005, the Bush administration formally repealed the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which was issued by the U.S. Forest Service in January 2001 to protect the last remaining “wild lands” in our national forests. The rule placed nearly 60 million acres of wilderness in 39 states-nearly one-third of the nation's forests-off limits from logging and road-building. A federal court rebuked the Bush administration in 2006 ordered reinstatement of the Clinton-era Roadless Rule. The Bush administration immediately appealed that decision and then went back to the states and asked them to resubmit their petitions and re-start the entire rulemaking process. Under Bush's plan, state governors decide whether areas in their own states should be opened to resource development. Idaho and several other Western states could open their most national forest lands to commercial activities like logging and oil and gas drilling.
    2. Opens public land to oil and gas drilling: The Bush administration and Congress have opened up millions of acres of public land in the Rocky Mountain West and Alaska's North Slope to oil and gas drilling.
    With the current administration, at least they are stopping and listening to what is occurring. President Obama's willingness to be part of the world talks on these issues is a huge step forward. I believe that he will help overturn many of the devastating decisions of the Bush Administration. We all need to stay diligent on environmental issues, this will ensure that our lands our here for the next generation.

  5. Dan Robinson says:

    In order to discuss possible elephants in the room, someone has to be able to see it. The elephant most clear to me, but apparently too few others, is the ever-continuing population increase, which is the cause of virtually all of our environmental and social problems. For instance unemployment is more about constantly increasing numbers of workers rather than about too few jobs. The jobs we do have are mostly make-work welfare to support the corrupt economy, sometimes giving the worker sustenance, but seldom self-respect or sense of accomplishment. More jobs means more pollution and resource consumption. Overcrowding leads to competition, then the need for central control, and if not done properly, to elitism, capitalism (beyond free enterprise to the rich getting richer through money system manipulations), fascism and eventual collapse, this time perhaps more final.
    Some say population will level off with increasing wealth and education, and that it's already happening. I say that's the view from the upper standards of well-being. At the bottom people are getting effectively poorer, and fewer resources mean fewer kids will live. The smarter people use whatever means available to have fewer children. In any case, population leveling off isn't enough, unless we quickly come up with something like an efficient version of cold fusion, allowing us to move on to find other limits.
    In order to get beyond the population problem more permanently, more of us need to see that today human evolution is less by genes and more by memes, our cultures and individual teachings that we pass on to present and later generations. In that sense we're to some degree each other's parents and children. Instead of “Be fruitful and multiply”, my motto is “Make love, not babies, and doublely reduce the causes of war.” “Make love” should be taken to mean more like “create love”. To me, “love” doesn't mean so much an emotional attachment to one other person, but concern for another's happiness and welfare. Ideally, this concern starts with the greater community, such as the biosphere on which we all depend, then humanity, then lesser communities, down to the individual.

  6. It appears to me that a social transformation of a hard to imagine kind, a radical transformation not witnessed by anyone now alive, is in the offing. Perhaps powerful human forces of sensibly-directed “intentional will” and emotional contagion, engendered by a deliberative dialogical process and embraced by the family of humanity, will lead to a rapid paradigm shift and a new, more reality-oriented set of humane {to replace profane} social values. When the new way of thinking about the world we inhabit and better social values are reasonably mobilized and become ubiquitously evident in the self-limiting actions of members of participatory democracies {to replace the conspicuous over-consumption activities of the selfish leaders of governing oligarchies}, I expect the family of humanity will find its way from the profane values and unsustainable lifestyles of the elites, such as we see today, to a sustainable future world order on this sacred Earth.

  7. Joe Takens says:

    The fact that Barack Obama supports the idea that human pollution is a significant cause of climate change and recognizes the need for carbon taxes/credits is a step in the right direction. Having a President who does not obstruct or alter scientific climate reports will hopefully create greater awareness among the public which may help us to address the root causes of this problem, such as over-consumption and over-population.

  8. Among the bought-and-paid-for politicians in Washington, DC, the Greedy Boys of Greenwich and the Wonder Boys of Wall Street, is there one human being in this “Axis of Arrogance and Greed” who will speak out for something other than their own selfish interests?
    Who is going to stand up and speak out clearly, loudly and often as President Barack Obama is doing?
    Many voices are needed now.

  9. Rebecca Gasper says:

    It is a promising step in the right direction that the new administration has an agenda on climate change. But the most recent data discussed at Copenhagen and published recently in Nature (Meinhausen 2009)reveal that we are on a trajectory to exceed the 2 degrees C “safe” threshold of temperature rise.
    At home, a carbon tax would arguably be a more aggressive and effective policy than cap-and-trade. Still, we as a country need to take the lead not only on domestic policy, but also setting the stage for new international agreements that focus on the top 20 emitters.

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