Thursday, October 16, 2008

Obama to Declare Carbon Dioxide Dangerous Pollutant If Elected

From Bloomberg:
Barack Obama will classify carbon dioxide as a dangerous pollutant that can be regulated should he win the presidential election on Nov. 4, opening the way for new rules on greenhouse gas emissions.

The Democratic senator from Illinois will tell the Environmental Protection Agency that it may use the 1990 Clean Air Act to set emissions limits on power plants and manufacturers, his energy adviser, Jason Grumet, said in an interview. President George W. Bush declined to curb CO2 emissions under the law even after the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the government may do so.

If elected, Obama would be the first president to group emissions blamed for global warming into a category of pollutants that includes lead and carbon monoxide. Obama's rival in the presidential race, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, has not said how he would treat CO2 under the act.

Obama ``would initiate those rulemakings,'' Grumet said in an Oct. 6 interview in Boston. ``He's not going to insert political judgments to interrupt the recommendations of the scientific efforts.''

Placing heat-trapping pollutants in the same category as ozone may lead to caps on power-plant emissions and force utilities to use the most expensive systems to curb pollution. The move may halt construction plans on as many as half of the 130 proposed new U.S. coal plants.

The president may take action on new rules immediately upon taking office, said David Bookbinder, chief climate counsel for the Sierra Club. Environment groups including the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council will issue a regulatory agenda for the next president that calls for limits on CO2 from industry....MORE

I get a kick out of that phrasing, "...issue a regulatory agenda" Along the same lines a group of attorneys in Colorado, headed by former Senator Gary Hart, have been hitting the books, researching ways the next president can order policies by executive decree. Here's the Presidential Climate Action Project:

A Letter to the Next President

A group of concerned scientists, environmental activists and public policy experts decided at a meeting last July to draft a letter calling for urgent action by the next President of the United States to address climate change. A cross-section of Americans who share their sense of urgency have already signed the letter. PCAP has endorsed the letter and urges Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain to respond, and to commit to immediate, effective action to address the climate emergency upon taking office.
Read and Sign The Letter »
See also: Setting the 2009 Energy & Climate Agenda

Here's their Presidential Climate Action Plan ((184 page PDF)