The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution, thereby endangering public health and welfare.
While this may sound like a no-brainer to organic and green consumers, the finding is the result of a study period ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007. The finding now moves to a public-comment period—and you can be sure the gross polluters will hire hack scientists in feeble attempts to refute it.
Six hazardous greenhouse gases were identified: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.
“This finding confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations,” says EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. “Fortunately, it follows President Obama’s call for a low-carbon economy and strong leadership in Congress on clean energy and climate legislation. 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 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.”
According to the EPA, science clearly demonstrates that concentrations of the six named 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 agency acknowledges that climate change contributes to increased drought; heavier 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.
Jackson says climate change disproportionately affects the poor, elderly, children, Americans in poor health, the disabled, those living alone and indigenous populations that depend on limited resources.
The findings also raise serious national security concerns. In 2007, 11 retired U.S. generals and admirals signed a Center for Naval Analyses report that stated climate change “presents significant national security challenges for the United States.” Scarcity of resources like water, they said, could lead to “escalating violence in destabilized regions” and “massive migration to more stabilized regions of the world.”
No regulatory action can be taken until the public-comment period expires.
“In the weeks and months ahead, we will work closely with all stakeholders to find the best solutions to the threats of climate change,” Jackson says. “I believe that the right answer will come through legislation that focuses on green jobs, clean energy and new technologies.”