The Environmental Protection Agency announced today that after a thorough scientific review ordered in 2007 by the U.S. Supreme Court, it has issued a proposed finding that greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare. While briefing members of Congress in advance of issuing this ruling the agency said that it had found the science supporting the so-called endangerment finding “compelling and overwhelming.”
“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.”
The finding identifies six greenhouse gases that may pose a risk to human health. They are: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. These findings are the product of a long in depth rigourously peer-review process.
The EPA also said that the scientific analysis 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,” 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.
This ruling has been a long time in coming and finally ends the eight year period of officially sanctioned and promoted climate change denial that has seduced our country into a false notion that continuing to pump ever greater loads of CO2 and other warming gases into our atmosphere is doing no appreciable harm. Science has been restored to its proper place in guiding public policy that has a scientific foundation underlying it and this ruling will help drive carbon limiting legislation through our political system. As legislation of carbon emmisions begin to finally emerge, this will help to foster the non-carbon polluting, energy sectors that are not fossil fuel based, as well as promote a greater interest in increasing the energy efficiency of our buildings, factories and our trucks and cars. The playing field may begin to be leveled, as the true cost of burning fossil carbon is accounted for and built into the price.
© 2009, Chris de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.