In one of the strongest declarations I’ve seen from a major newspaper editorial board, the San Jose Mercury News calls on Congress in 2007 to enact major legislation to deal with global warming:
Climate change at crisis level
EVERYONE — PUBLIC AND PRIVATE — MUST ACT TO AVOID CATASTROPHE
Mercury News Editorial
Global warming is the greatest environmental threat that humanity has ever faced….The United States produces about one-fourth of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, yet we’re the only major nation that officially denies there’s a problem. This is the year for all of us — government, business, individuals — to aggressively attack global warming.
California already is in the vanguard. Last year lawmakers and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger passed a landmark law to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by about 25 percent by 2020. Although the details remain to be worked out, including how to implement an emissions trading scheme, the structure is in place for positive change. Northeastern states are implementing similar initiatives, and others may follow suit.
California is also leading the nation by providing incentives for drivers to purchase hybrids and by creatively using clean-air laws to force automakers to boost average vehicle fuel economy.
Sadly, the Bush-Cheney administration, loyal lackey of the energy industry, has consistently opposed any national efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The best we can probably hope for from the Roughneck-in-Chief is more funding for alternative energy research and added incentives for purchasing hybrid cars.
That puts the pressure on Congress — particularly California Sen. Barbara Boxer, the new chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee. Congress needs to pass sensible and veto-proof legislation to reduce U.S. production of greenhouse gases.
The Supreme Court should also strike a blow for planetary sanity by backing the dozen states that have sued the Environmental Protection Agency to force regulators to treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant. If the court doesn’t step up, Congress will need to dictate regulations.