Though CO 2 emissions in the atmosphere continue to rise, Indiana’s senior politicians are working hard to resist any carbon restrictions by the environmental protection agency. Last week, the World Meteorological Organization released findings that the level of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose at a record-shattering pace last year. The scientists from this U.N. advisory body also expressed surprise at their findings and fear of the consequent acceleration of global warming and attendant climate change. The report went on to note that concentrations of nearly all the major greenhouse gases reached historic highs in 2013, reflecting ever-rising emissions from automobiles and smokestacks but also a diminishing ability of the world’s oceans and plant life to soak up the excess carbon put into the atmosphere by humans.
Also last week, Indiana Governor Pence released a letter that he signed, along with 14 other state governors, addressed to President Obama asking him to veto new green house gas regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. These measures would reduce the permitted amount of green-house gas emissions from power plants. They are specially focused on coal burning plants which produce more CO2 than any other fuels. In order to comply, most older coal plants would have to undergo major upgrades, switch to cleaner fuels, or shut down. Governor Pence also dispatched Tom Easterley, the Commissioner of Indiana’s Department of Environmental Management, to tell the Subcommittee on Energy and Power of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce that the new EPA regulations would, qoute, cause significant harm to Hoosiers without providing any measurable offsetting benefits.
Meanwhile, Indiana’s Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly and Republican Senator Dan Coates, along with 50 other senators, published letters to similar affect. The Senators’ requested a 60-day extension of the public comment period on the EPA’s proposed rule. This extension would be on top of the current 120 day comment period. Senator Donnelly’s announcement states that this extension is, “critical to ensure that state regulatory agencies and other stakeholders have adequate time to fully analyze and comment on the proposal.” Senator Coates’ announcement is more direct, stating that the proposed rules will, “restructure our entire electricity sector, kill reliable coal power and raise energy prices.” In response to the bipartisan petitions the Obama administration added another 45 days of comment period. Meanwhile, global climate scientists think that the world’s oceans have reached their capacity to absorb carbon, which means that levels in the atmosphere will increase at an even faster pace.