- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 3, 2011


As Congress looks for ways to trim the budget, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) represents an opportunity for up to $9 billion in savings. This outfit has become little more than an advocacy group for trendy leftist causes operating on the public’s dime. Many liberal policies being promoted are so unpopular that congressional Democrats can’t muster the votes to get them through the proper legislative process. So they go to the EPA instead.

That’s why the EPA announced Tuesday that it had revised the deadlines imposed on certain companies for reporting so-called “greenhouse gas” production. A facility that manufactures paper, for example, would have to determine whether it “emits 25,000 metric tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent (CO2e)” per year. The agency guesses that this covers about 10,000 businesses which would then be forced to measure their carbon-dioxide output, maintain detailed records and submit reports to EPA busybodies.

All of this extra work is required not to make companies more productive or more competitive in the marketplace. Instead, it increases the EPA’s power over the private sector in the name of fighting the purported effects of global warming.

Although we are led to believe that each metric ton of carbon dioxide brings the planet closer to the brink of destruction, companies won’t be compelled to report the greenhouse-gas emissions of their own employees, about a dozen of whom would produce a metric ton of carbon dioxide while breathing on the job for a year. “This carbon dioxide is part of a natural closed-loop cycle and does not contribute to the greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere,” the EPA website explains. “Natural processes of photosynthesis (in plants) and respiration (in plants and animals) maintain a balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Thus, the carbon dioxide from natural process is not included in greenhouse-gas inventories.”

This line of thinking betrays the unscientific basis of the EPA’s endeavor. If a CO2 molecule is making the planet warmer, it doesn’t matter whether it came from a factory or an animal or a bureaucrat. It interacts with the atmosphere in exactly the same way. The EPA rule reflects a more mystical view of climate change in which individual CO2 molecules can differ. Mother Earth looks favorably upon molecules from “sustainable” sources. Those from SUVs, factories and cigars anger her. Instead of blessing the planet with cold, she will curse it with warmth.

The left isn’t even consistent with such beliefs. First lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign encourages kids to be less lazy and sedentary and increase their physical activity for better health. Never mind that this could be catastrophic to the planet. As a child’s muscles burn calories through exercise, respiration increases and the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled can double. By comparison, encouraging children to take more naps would cut their carbon-dioxide output in half.

Mrs. Obama wants active lifestyle habits to carry over into adulthood, where a grown man can exhale as much as 150 grams of carbon dioxide when running for a mile - nearly as much as a Toyota Prius covering the same distance. Either exercising tots are not doing their part to save the planet, or carbon-dioxide molecules simply aren’t as evil as the EPA claims.

The House has voted to defund the EPA’s greenhouse-gas campaign. It ought to go further and ask why a federal agency is needed when all 50 states have their own departments of environmental quality, natural resources or environmental protection. If the left wants to pursue pseudo-scientific mysticism, it should do so without taxpayer money.

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