Climate science may be put on trial

CO2 skywriting


Steve Chiotakis: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants the Environmental Protection Agency to hold what it's calling "the Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century." But instead of putting the teaching of evolution in schools on trial as the state of Tennessee did back way in 1925, this time it would be the science of climate change. From the Sustainability Desk, here's Marketplace's Sam Eaton.

Sam Eaton: In coming weeks the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to formally declare that CO2 emissions endanger human health. This would pave the way for heat trapping gases to be regulated under the Clean Air Act. That's something the world's largest business lobby, the Chamber of Commerce, wants to prevent. And it's hoping that a trial-like public hearing on climate science will be its ticket. William Kovachs runs the Chamber's environment division.

WILLIAM KOVACHS: If we're going to put EPA in charge of virtually the entire economic functioning of the government then we need to make sure we've got the science right.

But Brenda Ekwurzel with the Union of Concerned Scientists says the Chamber's reference to the Scopes trial is a bad analogy because the science of evolution ultimately prevailed.

BRENDA EKWURZEL: I think a better comparison are the Salem Witch Trials, which were based more on myth.

She says the EPA's endangerment finding, on the other hand, is based on decades of peer-reviewed science concluding that CO2 emissions threaten human health and welfare.

In Los Angeles I'm Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

About the author

Sam Eaton is an independent radio and television journalist. His reporting on complex environmental issues from climate change to population growth has taken him all over the United States and the world.


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