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EPA Takes Another Step Towards Regulating Greenhouse Gases

The EPA has taken another step today towards regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The agency formally declared that heat-trapping gases like CO2 and five others were a threat to public health and welfare.

In order to regulate the gases under the Clean Air Act, the agency had to prove that the gases endangered the public. The EPA recently announced that it would require companies to start reporting their greenhouse gas emissions and now with today's declaration, regulation could be as little as 60 days away, when the comment period ends on this ruling.

The scientific analysis found that CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride were in high concentrations in the atmosphere and that they are very likely causing increased draught, heavy downpours and flooding, more intense heat waves and wildfires, rise in sea levels, more intense storms and harm to water resources, agriculture, wildlife and ecosystems.

Ecogeeks already know all of this, but having a government agency officially declaring these facts means the cheapest viagra uk the U.S. can more effectively contribute to negotiations over a new international climate treaty. Congress is drafting climate and energy legislation that will most likely supersede any regulations that the EPA comes up with, but this is a great first step that shows that our government is at least making progress towards protecting the planet.

via NY Times

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Comments (17)Add Comment
written by Fred, April 18, 2009
CO2 is a trace gas making up only 4/100ths of 1% of atmospheric gases.

Also CO2 levels in the atmosphere are essentially at a 500 million year LOW point. And yet you declare you already knew it was "too high". And you're glad some government bureaucrat makes it "official".

What rubbish.

But don't believe me! Just look at the Phanerozoic chart on Wikipedia.

Water vapor has a vastly greater greenhouse gas effect than CO2.

CO2 in the air is NOT at historically high levels, it is NOT a pollutant, and it is NOT a problem we need to solve.
Thanks for the clarification, Fred...
written by Andrew, April 18, 2009
...And what exactly is the value in describing how little CO2 is in the atmosphere without any perspective whatsoever? The lethal dose of botulin toxin is measured in parts per trillion, but surely 1 in a trillion of anything must be harmless, right?

Obviously that example is ad absurdum, and CO2 can't be viewed in anywhere near the same light...but your argument is a meaningless straw man dressing up as scientific knowledge. The fact of the matter is, CO2 does act as a greenhouse gas, and the order discount tramadol current scientific consensus is that, yes, it is changing the climate. And that's a big deal.
Please enlighten me Andrew -
written by Fred, April 18, 2009
I never dressed up anything as my knowledge. I merely pointed to a chart (which no one disputes for accuracy as far as I know), that clearly shows how extremely LOW atmospheric CO2 is from a 500-million year perspective. Perspective was in fact what I offered.

Also you are evidently confused as to what a straw man fallacy is, so here's another reference for you: - So you'll recognize it the next time you try to online viagra overnight use it at the same time you're accusing someone else of it.

By the way, the "consensus" on CO2 and global warming is a political consensus, not a scientific one, and that is falling apart even as we watch.

Since you feel so informed by your consensus though, please answer a few troubling scientific questions for me:

1 - AGW computer models all predict a large greenhouse gas hot spot over the equatorial belt - why is it not there?

2 - Ice core data for the last 150K years show that CO2 increases always *followed* warming by several centuries. So what's causing the warming this time?

3 - Satellite data consistently show that the earth has not warmed since 2001, even while CO2 has increased. Why can't the AGW models account for this fact?

Thanks for helping me to better understand your reasoning in the face of these significant anomalies.
Anthropic activities ARE increasing CO2
written by MollyGrue, April 20, 2009
There is a evry simple way to see that, even if by the past natural cycles caused warming, then release of CO2 by the oceans, the present high level of CO2 is caused by humans.

Human emissions come from petroleum. Petroleum comes from plants that died millions of years ago. In plants, the 12CO2 is at higher level than the 13CO2 (the most common one). It means that: if the good choice 5mg levitra 12CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing, the CO2 comes from burning petroleum. If the 12CO2 is not increasing, the CO2 comes from releases by the warmed oceans.
And guess what? The 12CO2 level IS increasing - this was never observed in previous increasing CO2 levels.
And let me remind you that, in the present moment, the increase of temperature followed the CO2 increse from a few years - we didnt saw any increase of temperature in the past centuries that could explain the present CO2 levels, which also is (timely speaking) out of the natural cycles that caused the ice ages.

Other thing: H2O may be the most common greenhouse gas, but CO2 remains the greenhouse gas that is the easiest to controll/stop emitting (CH4 is most greenhouse-efficient, but can you ask the cows to stop having gases? will you ask farmers to breed kangaroos instead of cows?).
written by Morgan, April 20, 2009
As Fred pointed out, CO2 levels are at planetary historically low levels. Antarctic ice core drilling has proven beyond doubt that warming of the Earth precedes an increase in CO2. The CO2 'science' has become a religious dogma and those who question it are labelled 'deniers' - just like in the dark days of religious inquisitions.

You also state as fact that petroleum is derived from plants. This is also religious 'accepted dogma'. Did you know that hydrocarbons are exceedingly common in space? There are entire planetary bodies formed from it. It is probable that the bulk of our petroleum is abiotic in orgin too. This is an inconvenient truth for the peak oil meme bearers.

I am not denying that warming is currently taking place, but it is intellectually dishonest to exchange science for carbon politics, which is what has happened. Why? - Because there is a lot of money to follow link cheap generic levitra india be made by governments and corporations in trading carbon credits. Carbon credit trading looks like the look here how much is cialis next big Ponzi scheme.

written by MollyGrue, April 20, 2009
The "fact" that CO2 is at "historically low level" is completely wrong, for carrot drillings prooved that even during the past highest CO2 records, these records were still lower than those recorded by now. Do not take the isotopic ratios of oxygen with CO2 levels (linked with temperature levels), for they work the opposite ways. The highest the temperature, the lowest the difference between oceanic ratios and arctic/antarctic ice ratios for oxygen isotops.
Hypothesing that the petroleum comes from outer space is completely stupid, for "out of space" things that enter the atmosphere are mostly rocks. I dunno where you found your assesments, for during all the years I spent studying the greenhouse subject, under both points of views, I never read such thing, ever, in anyone of other scientists' publications. But I did found all the previous informations I gave here...
@ Morgan -again
written by MollyGrue, April 20, 2009
I will also add that simple isotopic analyses of petroleum show that it DOES come from biotic sources.
Explanation: let be the isotopic ratio of atmospheric carbon. When entering a plant through photosynthesis, the isotopic ratio changes, for plants uses more 12C and less 13C compared to what is found in the atmosphere. As a result, plants -and all creatures feeding over plants- are enriched with 12C. So is petroleum. If petroleum was coming from outer space, it would have the same isotopic ratio that outer space, which also is the same isotopic ratio than atmosphere.
And still, if petroleum was coming from outer space, burning it would logically add to the terrestrial CO2 levels. Simply because the forest area, which would be fit for uptaking the additional CO2, is dicreasing every year thanks to anthropic activities, releasing again more CO2 when burning.

And please, before stupidly saying that planetary bodies are entirely made out of hydrocarbons, question the atrophysic department of your university.

And before saying that carbon credits are currently being bought and sold, search out and find the real answer to your questions.
written by Musson, April 20, 2009
The two things you can do that will have the most powerful effect on CO2 in the atmosphere is to 'QUIT BUYING CHINESE GOODS' and 'QUIT TALKING TO INDIAN SUPPORT CENTERS'.

The increase in CO2 in China and India in the next 20years is the equivalent of all the CO2 produced in the USA and Canada.

written by Musson, April 20, 2009
"Antarctic ice core drilling has proven beyond doubt that warming of the Earth precedes an increase in CO2"

Making statements like this show you have absolutely no understanding of statistical analysis. Anything you say is suspect.

If you had said there appears to be a correlation - I could accept that. But, your statement is ludicrous.
written by MollyGrue, April 21, 2009
About stopping buying chinese: if everybody would use buses in place of levitra lowest price cars, trains in place of planes, and buy local goods, it would be more efficient than simply stopping buying chinese ;)

And yes, the CO2 level, during the ice ages and inter-ice ages, came AFTER the warming, simply because warming, in these times, was due to astronomic cycles in the degree of inclination of the rotation axis of the Earth. Warmed, the oceans released CO2. But also, too much CO2 in the atmosphere -as there is nowaday- DOES cause warming.
If you look at the wavelenght of the light that comes out of the Earth (after absorption-emission of the solar heat) you see that there is a "window" of wavelenght through which Earth heat can go out of the atmosphere (the other wavelenghts are blocked by greenhouse gases) The problem is that CO2 affects this "window", blocking the exit of infrared light (the "heat" light if you prefer) That is why increasing atmospheric CO2 is increasing global atmospheric heat. The more CO2 you put in the atmosphere, the more you "close the window". By now, the window is "closed" far beyond all historic records (both in ice cores and carbonate deposits)
Meaning of buying cialis without prescription all that: the more you "close the window", the more you heat the planet and the oceans, and the more CO2 will be released by the oceans. Oceanic acidification resulting to the perturbation of chemical equilibrium in carbonate chemical species is making living species disapper (such as coral reefs...)

Conclusion: past correlations between global heat and global CO2 level shows that the actual situation is worse that we thought.
@MollyGrue - good 'GHG window' summation
written by Fred, April 21, 2009
But one thing you said about it - " The more CO2 you put in the atmosphere, the more you "close the window" " - deserves a bit more discussion.

Agreed that the greenhouse effect is real ; but CO2 only soaks up it's favorite wavelengths of light, and it's already very near its saturation point.

For example, imagine adding one more layer of insulation to an already well insulated house - it will only make a tiny difference in heat loss.

The same situation exists now with CO2 in the air. So any effects of additional CO2 will be extremely minor. Water vapor dominates the infra-red spectrum, and it can both heat and cool, something the AGW models fail to account for.
written by MollyGrue, April 22, 2009
Indeed, atmospheric models are poorly accurate compared to complexity of the real atmosphere.
Facts are needed to be known to understand why modelling in this case is very complicated and approximative: there is a latency time between the cause and the consequences, plus a thresehold effect. These still cannot be modelised until they happen -and when they happen, it means it is too late.
Greenhouse effect is not the buy tramadol online online a href only problem caused by too much CO2: ocean acidification is another one. And "global warming" is a litle bit inappropriate: even if, as a mean, temperature is raising, the main consequences are climate changes (which can be expressed as cooling in some regions, and too much/less rain in others).

The argument about water vapour is stupid for me; right, water vapour is responsible of the main part of we recommend generic pack levitra the warming. Without it, no life would be possible on Earth. Still, because of the thresehold effect, litle changes in the atmospheric equilibrium has no catastrophic consequence YET. Once the thresehold is crossed, NO TURNING BACK is possible and consequences happen. Because of latency time, consequences are seen after the thresehold has been crossed.
Guys from the ecology department in the neighbour building studied this thresehold effect in some ecosystems (with a temperature or a chemical change) and guys from the Earth dynamism department next door keep on trying to modelise it for the atmosphere. I asked them this morning and they still lack data to built their models on. The problem is, to have these data, they need to see the consequences of crossing the CO2 thresehold...
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written by Ekaterina, April 24, 2009
The EPA announcement is a welcome one and it has been long time coming. We must slow the effects of climate change and that means reducing emissions. You cannot manage what you do not measure, so the cheap levitra no prescription absolute first order is to establish the baseline carbon footprint--at the organizational (corporate et al) level, municipal level, regional, state and national level. Then and only then can we begin to reduce our emissions. If anyone is looking for resources to help them prepare for the EPA reporting rules, CSA (World Secretariat for the development of ISO 14064, an international carbon accounting standard) has developed a suite with the goal of 'carbon performance made simple' that includes an independent ghg registry, training, advisory services to help measure and manage the footprint, standards and getting levitra personnel certification for carbon consultants, ghg quantifiers and ghg verifiers. Try
Doesn't matter now
written by Freeflydude, April 28, 2009
The carbon arguement is not really the issue here. Nevermind the fact that with 7 billion or so people on the planet exhale CO2 everyday. Overcrowding + deforestation will likely cause a rise in CO2 levels. Then tack on the fossil fuel we burn that not only emits CO2 but other toxic chemicals as well. Planetary climate change has happened in the past and it will happen again in the future. It is very likely that human activities have accelerated this process and made it worse than what the levitra in australia for sale earth would normally experience. We can't stop it any more than we can stop a tornado or hurricane. So now the question is how do we deal with it and prepare for it? By all means keep arguing over who or what to blame instead of how to prepare for it and lessen the impact. Sometimes the earth just has to show us who's boss and there's no mercy when it does. The sooner we realize this and respect the natural order of things the better off we'll be. I believe the increase in natural disasters is the earths way of wow)) buy levitra uk fixing what we screwed up. You can't blame it on any one thing like carbon. The environmental workings of the planet are too complex for all of the scientists in the world to fully understand. The only thing that is certain is that humans are not living by natures rules, rules that have been in place since the cheap viagra no perscription beginning of time. Maybe instead of trying to figure out why these things are happening we should start living by natures example and preparing for the events that are likely to take place.
written by Pirate Pete, April 29, 2009
And there lies the rub ... don't fart in the kitchen - don't pee in the pool. We can't continue to use up resources and throw them into the ocean. Pollution stinks - period. But... to tax us back to the stone age is completely stupid. Someone please, stop the insanity. This is about greed - any way you look at it. Boycott everything :)
No matter.....
written by Mia, April 30, 2009
All irrelevant. I won't speak to the science, but I can talk about what I want for for my kids. "Taxing" seems to be the only way to get polluters to stop polluting. Industry doesn't have the right to make a profit no matter what or who the hurts. And, worse, they don't have a right to move their industry to other countries where the governments allow them to pollute when they aren't allowed to do it here. There are whole towns in other countries where all the children have lead poisoning. This should not be ok. Also, what nobody seems to be talking about, is how SCARCE oil and coal are becoming and how getting to these resources damages our environment. And, consider too that increasing demand throughout the rest of the world will make these resources even more scarce and harder to get to.... and on it goes. The UAE is building and entire solar powered city. Why do you think they're doing that?
written by Pirate Pete, May 03, 2009
they got lots of sunshine?

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