• Apr 17th 2009 at 2:08PM
  • 17
Finally. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has today ruled that six greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, are harmful to the health of humans and will therefore be listed amongst the other pollutants that can be regulated by the Clean Air Act. According to the official report, greenhouse gases have, among other things, the following impacts:
  • increased drought;
  • more heavy downpours and flooding;
  • more frequent and intense heat waves and wildfires;
  • greater sea level rise;
  • more intense storms; and
  • harm to water resources, agriculture, wildlife and ecosystems.
The next step will be deciding if they should be regulated, and, if so, how. Regardless of what the federal government decides to do, recently-appointed EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has indicated that individual states – specifically California – will be free to enact their own greenhouse gas regulations.

Automakers have repeatedly said they would prefer a national standard, since regulations limiting carbon emissions will effectively serve to create new fuel economy requirements and that is something the federal government already regulates. We certainly expect to hear plenty more in the coming 60 days, which will serve as a public comment period before any more decisions are made. Click past the break for the official press release.

[Source: EPA, MSNBC]
Photo by Clinton Steeds. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.


EPA Finds Greenhouse Gases Pose Threat to Public Health, Welfare / Proposed Finding Comes in Response to 2007 Supreme Court Ruling

(Washington, D.C. – April 17, 2009) After a thorough scientific review ordered in 2007 by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a proposed finding Friday that greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare.

The proposed finding, which now moves to a public comment period, identified six greenhouse gases that pose a potential threat.

"This finding confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations. Fortunately, it follows President Obama's call for a low carbon economy and strong leadership in Congress on clean energy and climate legislation," said Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "This pollution problem has a solution – one that will create millions of green jobs and end our country's dependence on foreign oil."

As the proposed endangerment finding states, "In both magnitude and probability, climate change is an enormous problem. The greenhouse gases that are responsible for it endanger public health and welfare within the meaning of the Clean Air Act."

EPA's proposed endangerment finding is based on rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific analysis of six gases – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride – that have been the subject of intensive analysis by scientists around the world. The science clearly shows that concentrations of these gases are at unprecedented levels as a result of human emissions, and these high levels are very likely the cause of the increase in average temperatures and other changes in our climate.

The scientific analysis also confirms that climate change impacts human health in several ways. Findings from a recent EPA study titled "Assessment of the Impacts of Global Change on Regional U.S. Air Quality: A Synthesis of Climate Change Impacts on Ground-Level Ozone," for example, suggest that climate change may lead to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone, a harmful pollutant. Additional impacts of climate change include, but are not limited to:

* increased drought;
* more heavy downpours and flooding;
* more frequent and intense heat waves and wildfires;
* greater sea level rise;
* more intense storms; and
* harm to water resources, agriculture, wildlife and ecosystems.

In proposing the finding, Administrator Jackson also took into account the disproportionate impact climate change has on the health of certain segments of the population, such as the poor, the very young, the elderly, those already in poor health, the disabled, those living alone and/or indigenous populations dependent on one or a few resources.

In addition to threatening human health, the analysis finds that climate change also has serious national security implications. Consistent with this proposed finding, in 2007, 11 retired U.S. generals and admirals signed a report from the Center for a New American Security stating that climate change "presents significant national security challenges for the United States." Escalating violence in destabilized regions can be incited and fomented by an increasing scarcity of resources – including water. This lack of resources, driven by climate change patterns, then drives massive migration to more stabilized regions of the world.

The proposed endangerment finding now enters the public comment period, which is the next step in the deliberative process EPA must undertake before issuing final findings. Today's proposed finding does not include any proposed regulations. Before taking any steps to reduce greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, EPA would conduct an appropriate process and consider stakeholder input. Notwithstanding this required regulatory process, both President Obama and Administrator Jackson have repeatedly indicated their preference for comprehensive legislation to address this issue and create the framework for a clean energy economy.

More information: http://epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment.html

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Haha yeah right that's it, the addition of fossil carbon dioxide to our atmosphere is just a tool used by the Illuminati to control us! It has nothing at all to do with changing weather patterns and severe drought, nooo...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah, right. It's never been this hot, cold, wet ,dry, whatever. Personal testimonials is how snake oil has been peddled for a thousand years. No "science" required, needed or wanted.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ok... ready, set... start frothing at the mouth!

      • 6 Years Ago

      2010 projections (the source is Brussels, published in Washington Times, 16 May) How much will various countries be above their promised target levels?

      Portugal: 77 pct. above
      Spain: 61 pct. above (their greenhouse gas emissions have increased forty percent since 1990)
      Greece: 51 pct. above
      Ireland: 41 pct. above (NB: This number is where the U.S. will likely end up!)
      Luxembourg: 31 pct. above
      Finland: 26 pct. above
      Italy: 13 to 23 pct. above (the number went up once Italy submitted its official estimate)
      France: 19 pct. above, with
      Belgium at 16 pct. and
      Netherlands at 10 pct.

      The bottom line is that few countries will adhere to this unworkable treaty.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What nonsense. Controlling a natural occurring gas. Good luck with that. Sort of like catching a fart and painting it green.

      The Europeans have never ever met their limits. They have had this for a few years. NEVER MET ANY of their goals of reduction. INCREASED every year. And with the Chinese moving past us and the Indians....so what.

      What are the humans that breathe going to become...little roving point source polluters needing a bag.

      What a way to make your government agency even more ludicrous.

      This policy is solely a way for the left to gain control over production. More of the leftist fascism.

        • 6 Years Ago
        "The Europeans have never ever met their limits"

        No country has met their Kyoto limits. We could have signed on and not met the limits also. Or we could have done what we did, and be honest about not meeting them.
        • 6 Years Ago
        In 2006 atleast it seems Sweden was also on track to meeting the kyoto limits.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually, having the EPA do this is what the Admin. wanted to do. This way they have avoided a catastrophic fight (for the Dems) in the congress and forcing the Dems to pass this Cap and Trade monstrosity.

        Now they can get it in place via regulatory fiat rather than through congress WITHOUT a vote to be pinned on them when the natives show up with our pitchforks, tar, and feathers.

        Just how the usual Left Fascists always work.

        • 6 Years Ago
        "No country has met their Kyoto limits."

        UK, Denmark, Germany have all surpassed Kyoto targets. But don't let facts get in the way of ranting...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Oh, come on! It has always been recognized that pollutants are not a concern when they are below a certain concentration, therefore, there has never been a total ban on any pollutant, only maximum safe limits on the amounts that can be emitted or found in the environment. Even the strictest "clean air" regulations allow the emission of small amounts of CO, NOx, unburned hydrocarbons, sulfur, and particulates.

        So regulation of CO2 emissions would not ban it, as reasonable and moderate levels of CO2 are not a hazard and do not cause excessive greenhouse warming. Your right to breathe out is safe, nor will we see a ban on baking soda or bread making (both produce small amounts of CO2), or carbonated beverages. What will be impacted are those activities that produce hundreds or thousands of times more CO2 than ordinary living creatures do, and even those won't be totally banned, just limited.
      • 6 Years Ago
      An article like this certainly brings out those with a lack of science education. For a science-based view of this very real problem, see:

        • 6 Years Ago
        Green house gas and global warming hysteria has never been about science. It's a just an excuse for the government to extend control over people's lives. CO2 is not and has never been a pollutant, and people need start passing third grade science and figure that out.

        The EPA could care less whether their regulations will actually stop global warming; they're just excited about the opportunity to control people's lives.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I hope they ban meat since its the sourece of the driving force of climate change. Don't believe? see these views

      You can make a huge difference, one bite at a time! A small change in our diet, can benefit us both locally and globally! Our food-print makes up a majority of our carbon-footprint.

      Scientific research shows that the factory farming is the #1 cause of pollution – more than all transportation around the world combined. It’s also a major cause of deforestation, soil degradation, water/food shortages, as well as an inefficient use of grain, soy, electricity & petroleum. So the most impactful, signal thing one can do to halt climate change is adopt a vegan diet.

      Every time you eat a meal free of animal products, you save 2.5 lbs. of greenhouse gas emissions, 24 square feet of land, and 133 gallons of water. If you eat three meals a day, that totals 2,737.5 lbs. of greenhouse gas, 26,280 square feet of land and 145,635 gallons of water per year.

      Prestigious Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production stated factory farms pose unacceptable risks to public health, the environment & animal welfare.

      Sustainability Starts with Your Palate & Plate
      find out more at www.LetsActNow.org
      • 6 Years Ago
      I agree don't let the facts get in the way of saving the planet...



      "But only by buying rights to emit greenhouse gases from countries in the ex-communist bloc will the EU get even close to hitting the 8% cut."
      • 6 Years Ago
      Does this mean a cap and trade on exhaling?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Guess we'll be getting that $2/gallon fuel tax many here want.

      Dumped directly into the general fund.
      • 6 Years Ago
      STOP BREATHING YOU HUMAN SCUMBAGS! It is I, Al Gore, and I am here to tell you that your days are numbered, human trash with your carbon dioxide breathing and evil ways! Soon, a new race will reign! The Gorites lead by the Tippertwits will "totally PWN this planet, dude!"
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X