E.P.A. Says It Lacks Power to Regulate Some Gases. The
environmental agency said that it did not have the legal authority to
regulate emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases
under the Clean Air Act. By Jennifer 8. Lee. [New York Times: Science]
The advised-by-the-White-House EPA (isn’t it supposed to be the other
way around) has apparently concluded that CO2 and other greenhouse
gasses are not pollutants. One could argue, I suppose, that since CO2,
methane, etc are naturally occuring that they can’t be classified a
pollutant; but one couldn’t argue that about SF6, for example. OTOH, we
regulate many things that are
naturally occuring — like heavy metals — but become problematic when
they show up in the wrong places — like in living systems.
The whole thing reminds me of the Reagan administration’s foray into
merging the arts of political and biological taxonomy, when they classified catsup as a
“vegetable” in school lunch programs.