EPA Administrator Comments on Global Warming

By October 26, 2006Energy, Global Warming

Another report from White House Radio Day, which this blogger attended Tuesday as the obedient servant to WDAY radio host Scott Hennen from Fargo, N.D. First interview of the day — 7:30 a.m. — was with EPA Administrator Steven L. Johnson. Johnson, a career EPA employee and official with particular expertise in the area of pesticides, has been one of the more low-profile agency heads since being named Administrator in May 2005.

Johnson’s interview with Hennen provides a good take on how the Bush Administration views the global warming issue. (It has different nuances than shopfloor.org’s view, seems fair to say.) An excerpt:

Scott Hennen: First of all, is it real?

EPA Administrator Steven L. Johnson: It is real. It is real. Global climate change comes from a variety of sources, both man-made as well as naturally occurring. And, the President, and the Administration, really, has an unprecedented level of commitment to address this. In fact, we have now invested about $26 billion in helping both understand and, more importantly, to begin to address it. In fact, if you compare what we have a nation have invested, there is no other nation in the world that has invested more than the United States in trying to address it. And, of course, we’re seeing the fruits of that investment, whether it be alternative fuel- and flexible vehicles, whether it be clean-coal technology, whether it be hybrid technology. All of these kinds of technologies are going to answer not only energy-security issues, but also greenhouse gas issues, as well.

For more of the interview, please head to the extended entry section of this post.

Hennen: Where do you place the majority of the blame? Because that’s another debate, whether it’s real or not, and then whether or not, look, we can impact it positively or negatively if we wanted to anyway, or whether this is much bigger than us. Where do you come down on that debate?

Johnson: Well, everyone…As I like to say, environmental responsibility is everyone’s responsibility. And it begins at home. I don’t know if your listeners have seen the ENERGY STAR, the little blue star on a lot of products, on lightbulbs….

Hennen: You bet. We just built a home entirely with ENERGY STAR products.

Johnson: Congratulations. Last year alone by consumers buying ENERGY STAR products, we saved the nation $12 billion, and if you equate that to greenhouse gas emissions, we prevented greenhouse gas emission equivalent to about 23 million cars. So, environmental responsibility IS everyone’s responsibility, and each person can make a difference — whether it’s changing a light bulb to an ENERGY STAR light bulb or buying a fuel-efficient car.

Hennen: Lastly, there’s a suggestion that the lawyers are coming, as it pertains to global warming, much like we’ve seen with waves of litigation on tobacco and guns and junk food and everybody else, warning people, specifically Detroit and “Big Oil” and others, that the team of lawyers are coming….Do you see that wave of litigation coming in that arena?

Johnson: Well, we see it, and in fact, there is an active lawsuit that’s been filed against the agency for regulating carbon dioxide from tailpipes of automobiles. So that issue ….

Hennen: That would be an interesting challenge for you, wouldn’t it?

Johnson: That issue is actually going to be coming before the Supreme Court in November of this year. So we think we’re in a very solid position from a legal point of view, but we’ll wait for the Supreme Court to make its ruling and take whatever steps we need to after that.

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