Sunday, January 31, 2010


The American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act of 2009 was approved by the United States House of Representatives on June 26, 2009 by a vote of 219-212.  Although counterpart legislation in the US Senate has gone through the Environment and Public Works Committee, the final bill is still under consideration.  The major component of the House bill regulates green-house gases to include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur and several other gases. The bill calls for dosmetic greenhouse gas emissions to be capped at 2005 annual levels, and reduced to 17% of those levels by 2050. Another aspect of the bill would impose tariffs on countries that trade with the United States if these countries do not implement similar regulations on greenhouse emissions.  These cap and trade regulations have given this ACES legislation the popular name "Cap and Trade" in the public media.  The bill provides for utility and manufacturing companies to buy "polution permits" or to pay fines if they do not meet these regulations. Either way, this will increase the cost of doing business, which in turn will increase consumer costs for a variety of products. There has been a widespread debate and much controversy about these greenhouse gas emissions and their affect on "global warming". There are many scienctifc experts on both sides of this issue, as well as many so-call "experts" - such as actors (many who have not even graduated from college).  I suspect this debate will continue on green house gases and global warming for quite some time. 

An issue that is usually not raised is the affect on green house gas emissions on public health. Most greenhouse gases regulated under this legislation do not directly pose a health risk. For example, carbon dioxide is an ingredient in carbonated beverages and methane is produced in abundance from cattle.  However, reducing harmful pollutants (such as particulate matter that share emission sources with greenhouse gases) will have a positive impact on pulmonary and cardiovascular disease. For example fossil fuel combustion for production of electricity accounts for a large proportion of carbon dioxide emissions.

Although the carbon dioxide may not be an issue in one's health, this combustion process produces products that may pose a health risk.

For more complete information on the American Clean Energy and Security Act (HR 2454), go to