Two of the top climate reporters in the country, the Post‘s Juliet Eilperin and the NYT’s Andy Revkin, have written articles on EPA’s endangerment finding that I think are quite confusing and misleading.
Eilperin’s piece, the front page story in today’s Post, is “EPA Says Emissions Are Threat To Public: Finding Could Lead to Greenhouse Gas Limits.” An otherwise pretty solid article contains this inaccurate and highly misleading third paragraph:
What happens next is unclear. The agency’s proposed finding is likely to intensify pressure on Congress to pass legislation that would limit greenhouse gases, as President Obama, many lawmakers and some industry leaders prefer. But cap-and-trade legislation, which would limit emissions and allow emitters to trade pollution allowances, is fiercely opposed by a coalition of Republicans and Democrats from fossil-fuel-dependent Midwestern states who fear that such a system would raise energy prices and hurt the nation’s economy.
Huh? First off, cap-and-trade is fiercely opposed by virtually all Congressional Republicans from everywhere in the country (with the possible exception of Maine) — see “House GOP pledge to fight all action on climate” and “”Hill conservatives reject all 3 climate strategies and embrace Rush Limbaugh.”
And while many GOPers do repeat dubious talking points about the economic impact(see “MIT Professor tells GOP to stop ‘misrepresenting’ his work and inflating the cost to families of cap-and-trade by a factor of 10“), a large fraction simply deny the overwhelming science that makes clear global warming is a grave but preventable threat to the health and welfare of Americans.
So the GOP half of Eilperin’s final sentence above is just misleading.
Second, I just don’t think it is accurate to say “cap-and-trade legislation … is fiercely opposed by … Democrats from fossil-fuel-dependent Midwestern states.” There’s no question that many Midwestern Democrats have concerns about cap-and-trade (see “Moderate Senate Dems build ‘Gang of 16″² to influence cap-and-trade bill“). And those concerns may well translate into provisions that water down the final bill. But to create the impression that a significant number of Midwestern Democrats fiercely oppose cap-and-trade outright is misleading. I expect a cap-and trade bill will pass Congress in the next 12 to 15 months — with the support of most midwestern Dems.
Small note to Eilperin re phrase “fossil-fuel-dependent Midwestern states”: All states are currently fossil fuel dependent. All states are addicted to oil and other fossil fuels, which, as EPA found, threatens our health and well-being.
Revkin’s blog post on the finding is even more confusing to the public, starting with the headline and opening lines: