It’s fun to watch the fiction of a “consensus” about man-made global exposed.   Certainly, it’s good news that the daily drip-drip of new revelations about how the IPCC and famed global warming scientists have been fudging data, losing primary sources, and exaggerating their findings has made it less and less likely that the U.S. Congress will try to enact economy-crushing cap-and-trade legislation.

Yet environmental extremists have a plan B, which actually may really have been their plan A all along. John Alter sets the scene in the March issue of Reason (this article is available online here):

On December 7, as delegates from around the world gathered in Copenhagen for the United Nations climate conference, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that her bureaucracy would begin to regulate the emission of carbon dioxide and other gases deemed to be warming the planet. “Today, I’m proud to announce that EPA has finalized its endangerment finding on greenhouse gas pollution,” Jackson proclaimed. As a consequence, the agency “is now authorized and obligated to take reasonable efforts to reduce greenhouse pollutants under the Clean Air Act.”

“Reasonable” here is in the eye of the beholder. The 1990 Clean Air Act was designed for conventional air pollutants such as particulates and ozone smog, not for carbon dioxide. Applying those rules to CO2 will mean imposing costly regulations not just on cars and factories but on commercial buildings, churches, and even residences. All told, more than 1 million entities could become subject to new federal controls on greenhouse emissions.

The EPA power grab was no surprise; indeed, it was inevitable. The regulatory train was set in motion in 2007, when the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 vote in Massachusetts v. EPA that the Clean Air Act applied to greenhouse gases. The EPA probably would have made the same move had John McCain been president, by court order if not voluntarily. Now that the train is picking up speed, it will be almost impossible to stop and difficult to control. If you think federal environmental regulation is costly and inefficient, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Alter warns that the regulatory train is already in motion and that nothing short of Congressional action amending the Clean Air Act will stop it.