- The Washington Times - Monday, August 15, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Whether it’s ozone or carbon dioxide, the cost of overregulating the air around us is more than the nation can afford. Even the Obama administration may be taking a breather, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday held off on issuing proposed new ozone standards. The agency claims more regulations are necessary because the conveniences of modern industrial society are making the planet toasty, but the pause has raised alarm in radical environmental circles.

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson wants to reduce the level of allowable atmospheric ozone from the current 75 parts per billion to as low as 60 parts per billion, which it claims will save thousands from deaths supposedly caused by air pollution. Businesses responsible for creating actual employment counter that those expensive standards would provide no real air-quality benefit. Instead, they would place 85 percent of the nation’s counties at the mercy of EPA’s regulatory whim, at a cost of $1 trillion and more than 7 million jobs.

The EPA said its rules would be issued “shortly,” but it declined to set a date after failing to meet a self-imposed July 29 deadline. The hesitation suggests the White House may be refiguring the speed at which it can roll out its all-encompassing regulatory agenda at a time when the U.S. economy stands on the knife’s edge of recession and 15 million Americans already are unemployed.

Also weighing on officialdom’s uncertainty are indicators that public concern about supposed climate change is evaporating into thin air. A Rasmussen Reports survey earlier this month suggested 69 percent of the public thought it likely that scientists were falsifying data to support their own global-warming theories. When the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change in 2007 published its report heralding a coming climate catastrophe, it relied on computer models to calculate the degree to which carbon dioxide supposedly is causing global temperatures to rise. There’s evidence that these models weren’t accurate. A July study published in the scientific journal Remote Sensing said actual NASA satellite data from 2000 through 2010 indicate the atmosphere vents far more heat into space than predicted by the IPCC models. Those findings go a long way toward explaining why rising levels of human activity have generated more carbon dioxide without significantly boosting global temperatures in the past 15 years. It’s apparent that Mother Earth is adept at cooling herself.

Don’t expect warmists to give up air power simply because their numbers don’t add up. Last month, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan E. Rice urged the U.N. Security Council to name global warming a threat to global security. The U.N. Framework Conference on Climate Change is campaigning to persuade America and other developed nations to pony up $76 trillion over the next 40 years to pay for a “green” economy for the Third World, one that would be free from the scourge of carbon dioxide - except insofar as CO2 is essential to breathing and life on the planet. Thanks to Ms. Rice’s push, U.N. greens can be expected to lock onto the U.S. wallet like a heat-seeking missile when the conference convenes in Durban, South Africa, in November.

If President Obama is serious about putting Americans back to work and earning a second term, he’ll resist the urge to slap a hefty price tag on air.

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