The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) appears to want to regulate our very breath. But not with mandates for regular doses of Listerine in the morning. The problem is carbon dioxide, the gas we expel with every breath. It has become public enemy number one.
ADEQ's director, Steve Owen, wants to impose rules on Arizona's economy similar to those California has proposed for the regulation of the so-called greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. Ironically enough, it is the federal government and the Environmental Protection Agency that are blocking those rules. Carbon dioxide, a naturally occurring gas that is quite useful to plant life, has been considered a pollutant. The U.S. Supreme Court, narrowly disagrees, however, saying the executive branch has to make a case for not regulating carbon dioxide.
A recent article in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (reprinted here) presents some stark facts in graphical form, striking at the heart of the computer model-driven theory of carbon-forced global warming. The article shows that recent warming pre-dates higher atmospheric carbon concentrations, is part of a longer-term trend, and is highly related to the waxing and waning of sun activity. I don't think it would surprise most people in Arizona to know that the earth's temperature might just be is related to the sun's energy output.
Maybe the folks at ADEQ suffer from California envy. We already have a big budget deficit, just like California, but we haven't yet mastered the art of throwing business out of the state. Perhaps regulating carbon dioxide based on questionable scientific information could be a good first step toward that end. It's too early to tell how much breathing would be affected.
Dr. Byron Schlomach is the director of the center for economic prosperity at the Goldwater Institute.
Heartland Institute: Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide