The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee is expected to vote today on a bill that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from taking any regulatory action against climate change. During a hearing on the subject yesterday, subcommittee chairman Ed Whitfield of Kentucky cautioned – whether one thinks the science tells us that global warming is a serious problem, a minor problem, or hardly a problem at all, the real question before this committee is whether EPA’s regulations under the Clean Air Act are a wise solution to that problem. Whitfield said they clearly are not.
Professor Knute Nadelhoffer, Director of the University of Michigan Biological Station in Pellston, Michigan, told the subcommittee – we know the climate is changing. It is real, it is happening, and the impacts are becoming clearer the more we observe and study plant and animal distributions, nutrient cycles, atmospheric chemistry, and long-term, large-scale weather and climate patterns. The professor testified, – the United States has become both warmer and wetter over the past century.
More importantly, Nadelhoffer said, – rising concentrations of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, in the atmosphere, resulting from fossil fuel combustion and other human activities, are the primary drivers of these recent changes in the climate system. Stabilizing the climate, by limiting and eventually reducing greenhouse gas emissions, will help maintain these and other “ecosystem services,” which together contribute to our quality of life and economy.