Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably have heard something about Dieselgate – the VW exhaust emissions “cheating” scandal (in quotes for the same reason I’d air quote using a radar detector to “cheat” a speed trap).
But you probably don’t know about the real “emissions scandal.”
That would be the lame duck Obama EPA’s decision – its peremptory fatwa – to categorize carbon dioxide as a “pollutant” subject to federal regulation. It did so post-election, more than a year before the deadline (April, 2018) it had established, prior to which there was supposed to have been “public comment.” The hurry-up no doubt due to the fact that Obama’s intended successor – a “climate change” high priestess, did not win the election.
“The April 28 (2018) deadline was ‘no later than’ set forth in the 2012 rule,” warbled Obama’s soon-to-be-not acting assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.” Rather than risk a “denier” (Trump) not imposing this fatwa – based on the fact that he was elected to not issue such fatwas – the Obama politburo simply decided to decide.
Whatever happened to “democracy”?
Apparently, when the voters express wishes contrary to those of the ruling cabal, then minority rule muss sein. They Know Best – and are going to make sure we know it. And, abide by it.
Well, this business is bad business, for two very big reasons:
First, it’s new. Historically – since the 1970s – the EPA only regulated reactive exhaust emissions; things like unburned hydrocarbons/volatile organic compounds and so on that had tangible (provable) negative effects on air quality or people’s health. Exhaust byproducts that caused or worsened smog, or created acid rain or made it harder for people with respiratory problems to breathe.
These were not hypothetical problems. Smog was a real problem.
But Obama’s fatwa deals with carbon dioxide, which is non-reactive and has absolutely nothing to do with smog formation or acid rain; which does not in any way contribute to or cause breathing problems.
It causes the opposite, in fact.
Carbon dioxide is what plants breathe – and in return, they give us oxygen, which is a thing we need to live. More carbon dioxide means faster plant growth; more oxygen – and more food, too.
Those are facts.
Now, it’s alleged that carbon dioxide is a “greenhouse gas” (which is true) that contributes to unnatural and man-caused “climate change” – a truly oily term that can mean almost anything (warmer, colder, in between…?) and which therefore ought to raise any thinking person’s suspicions on that account.
Or it is a con.
Either way, it’s not good.
Which brings us to the second thing.
Unlike, say, unburned hydrocarbons – which can be chemically scrubbed (catalytic converters) or otherwise rendered inert/harmless other things (like water vapor, another “greenhouse gas,” incidentally) by making an internal combustion engine burn its fuel more completely and precisely, there is only one way to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced as a result of internal combustion:
There must be less combustion.
A given quantity of fuel burned will always produce “x” volume of carbon dioxide. It cannot be chemically altered, sequestered or scrubbed. To get less, you burn less – period.
Consider what this will mean.
A car company can design a clean-running V8 muscle car or SUV. You can have your horsepower and clean air, too. Go outside, see for yourself. A 2017 Dodge Hellcat – with 707 hp – produces fewer harmful compounds at the tailpipe than a ’79 Cordoba with 120 hp. The Cordoba’s exhaust will make your eyes water; the Hellcat’s won’t.
But reducing carbon dioxide can’t be done without also reducing horsepower – and engine size.
Smaller and smaller, weaker and weaker.
No more Hellcats. Maybe no more V6 Camrys, either.
Littler engines, that’s our future (but not Obama’s; he will still be ferried about in his sub-10 MPG armored SUV). The “carbon footprint” of some animals is more (or less) equal than others. Notice that engines larger than about 2.0 liters are becoming scarce. Obama’s fatwa – which was anticipated by the industry – is why.
They are going to get even smaller than that.
EVs do not emit anything at all – “greenhouse” or otherwise. But as economically realistic and functionally practical conveyances, they leave a lot to be desired. Well, they’ll cost you a lot – and won’t take you very far.
EVs are not going to replace internal combustion – except for the very few who can afford them and who are willing and able to put up with their debilities. And this may be just exactly the point.
Which is: To get most of us out of cars entirely – and into buses or other forms of “public” (that is, government) transport. Which is wanted because it is much easier to control.
It is probably a source of great frustration in certain quarters that new cars are not only clean but so clean that the EPA has become – like Mothers Against Drunk Driving – a bureaucracy that’s in it for the money and power, the original justification for its existence no longer existing.
It cannot be conceded that the problem (in this case, “clean air”) has been solved. New problems (“climate change”) must be confected.
Like “climate change.”
And this time, there is no solution.
Except for one.
Pull the plug – and drain the swamp.
The one upside to modern Deciderism – the fatwa-spewing precedent established by that bandy-legged canker sore on two legs, George W. Bush (who, I remind “conservatives,” made Obama not only possible but inevitable) is that it works both ways.
A couple of weeks from now, the “denier” can issue his own fatwa. One that rescinds the Obama fatwa.
Not only could it be done – it must be done.
Else we’ll all be taking the bus.
Well, most of us will be… .
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