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EPA in Court

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posted on Dec, 4 2006 @ 11:31 PM
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Twelve states including Massachusetts, plus several cities and environmental groups have taken the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to court over global warming. The first arguments were heard last Wednesday.

Mainstream science says the earth's climate is changing, and human activities are contributing to the change.

But industry says no - and wants the case tried in the court of public opinion - it's manipulating headlines and peppering Boards like this one with disinformation - to obscure the issues, misrepresent the science and confuse the public.

The court has its hands full.



When Questions of Science Come to a Courtroom

Last Wednesday, the nine justices heard arguments in the first global warming case to come before the court. Massachusetts, 11 other states and several cities and environmental groups are saying that the federal Environmental Protection Agency has ignored the requirements of the Clean Air Act and otherwise shirked its responsibilities by failing to regulate emissions of heat-trapping gases, chiefly carbon dioxide.

...much of the argument hinged on scientific questions. Is the earth’s climate changing? If so, are human activities contributing to the change? ...Mainstream science has answers to these questions (yes and yes). But while it is impossible to argue that earth has not warmed up a bit in the last century, there are still some scientists with bright credentials and impressive academic affiliations who argue that people don’t have much do to with it. As Justice Anthony M. Kennedy suggested on Wednesday, maybe the court will decide to decide this issue for itself. ...If it does, it will also confront issues outside the realm of mainstream science.

One is the standard of proof. Typically, scientists don’t accept a finding unless, statistically, the odds are less than 1 in 20 that it occurred by chance. This standard is higher than the typical standard of proof in civil trials (“preponderance of the evidence”) and lower than the standard for criminal trials (“beyond a reasonable doubt”). ...Lawyers work in reverse. They know their desired outcome at the outset, so they gather arguments to support it. While it would be unethical for scientists reporting on their work to omit findings that don’t fit their hypotheses, lawyers are under no compunction to introduce evidence that hurts their cases; that’s the other side’s job.




This case is interesting - and pivotal.

But judging it in the court of public opinion doesn't wash. Especially since industry owns the media.


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posted on Dec, 13 2006 @ 12:13 AM
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Not that pivotal.

The EPA claims it does not have the legal authority to regulate CO2, the states claim they do.

Even if the court rules the EPA does have the legal authority, it does not mean the EPA will exercise its authority and the courts themselves do not have the power to order executive branch agencies to do so. Any future administration could just ignore it, or enact meaningless regulation to assuage public opinion.

Some in the environmental industry are trying to build this case into something it is not. The case of itself is meaningless except for building future case law.



posted on Dec, 13 2006 @ 12:37 PM
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Originally posted by dave_54
Not that pivotal.

... The case of itself is meaningless except for building future case law.



Precisely.

If it fails, it's a dead end; if it flies, it's a new ballgame.

Qualifies as pivotal, imo.



posted on Dec, 13 2006 @ 02:57 PM
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It depends upon the definition of 'pivotal' one chooses. I see this as nothing more than a national version of California's recent legislation, which is more feel good than substance.



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