Monday, December 21, 2009

EPA: Clean Air vs. Reducing Carbon

A nice piece by Steven Hayward in the Weekly Standard. He begins by admitting forthrightly (maybe not what you'd expect from a conservative) that the Clean Air Act, enforced by the EPA, has done a lot of good. It has been costly, but it has not really inhibited economic activity or growth in a noticeable way.

By contrast, if the EPA tries to use its authority to drastically reduce the production of CO2, there is likely to be a substantial economic cost. It's not like other sources of energy are readily available, and business people are just too short-sighted to use them. What's even more likely than costly implementation, however, is that there will be litigation every step of the way, and increasing doubts as to whether CO2 should in fact be treated as a pollutant.

Liberals and environmentalists might say: leave it to a conservative to say that a fairly recent reform, which they bitterly opposed at the time, has worked out, but the one being proposed now is a disaster. I come back to the point that there is real doubt about the data, and the warmists have not been transparent about that. In one way or another, they will have to be more transparent now.

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