Endangerment finding: Legislative Hammer or Suicide Note?

The CO2 litigation campaign that begat Massachusetts v. EPA turns out to be too clever by half. As Roger Pielke, Jr. and Michael Shellenberger astutely observe, Team Obama’s threat to regulate greenhouse gases via the Clean Air Act (CAA) unless Congress enacts cap-and-tax legislation is tantamount to a promise to commit political suicide. However costly cap-and-tax might be, litigation-driven CAA regulation of greenhouse gases is potentially far more damaging to the economy. Instead of being a hammer that beats opponents into submission, EPA’s forthcoming endangerment finding–the first step in regulating greenhouse gases under the CAA–should strengthen Congressional Republicans’ resolve to fight cap-and-tax. By doing so, they will ensure that Obama and his allies bear all the blame for raising consumer energy prices, destroying jobs, and de-stimulating the economy. For further discussion, see my post on MasterResource.Org.