PRESS CALL TODAY: Public health expert and scientists on the EPA’s endangerment finding

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"PRESS CALL TODAY: Public health expert and scientists on the EPA’s endangerment finding"

Dr. Paul Epstein of Harvard Medical School, Dr. Andrew Dessler of Texas A&M University and I will discuss the science behind EPA’s endangerment finding:

This week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson will testify before Congress defending the administration’s request to increase funds for climate rules based on EPA’s December finding that greenhouse gas pollution endangers the public health and welfare. Several states and numerous industry groups filed petitions last week to overturn the EPA’s finding.

Legislators in both chambers are debating efforts to strike the finding. Meanwhile 16 states have signaled their support for it.  According to the latest Benenson Strategy Group poll, a large majority””59 percent of Americans””support EPA acting if Congress doesn’t, including 61 percent of independents.

The science behind EPA’s conclusions will be discussed by:

Dr. Paul Epstein, Associate Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School

Dr. Andrew Dessler, Professor, Texas A&M University Department of Atmospheric Sciences

Dr. Joseph Romm, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress and Editor, ClimateProgress.org

When:  Today, February 22, 2010 at 2 p.m. EST

Please contact Suzi Emmerling at 202-481-8224 or semmerling@americanprogress.org if you plan to attend the call.

Please don’t bombard Suzi with emails if you aren’t media.  I will be posting the audio online as soon as we have it.

For more on Dr. Dessler, see Texas state climatologist disputes state’s anti-science petition: Greenhouse gases “clearly present a danger to the public welfare.”

You can read some of Dr. Epstein’s prolific work on the subject of health impacts of climate change here, including his New England Journal of Medicine article, “Climate change and human health” and the exhaustive Climate Change Futures: Health, Ecological and Economic Dimensions.

Comments on what I should say are always welcome!

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2 Responses to PRESS CALL TODAY: Public health expert and scientists on the EPA’s endangerment finding

  1. Joe, while the call may take a bit of setting up… a streaming media live feed of the audio is really simple and inexpensive… then everyone could hear it live. And you could have your participants interact.

    It seems like you are favoring the established press in getting out the message first – then maybe permitting on demand media at a later time. I thought you might favor direct information. We want to listen in while it is happening.

  2. Wit's End says:

    Are you going to post a transcript?

    http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/air-quality.htm

    This is what the National Park Service has to say about air quality at Smokey Mountain National Park:

    “Ozone levels are injuring trees and other plants. Thirty species of plants showed leaf damage after being exposed to controlled ozone levels identical to those that occur in the park. To further quantify ozone injury to plants, permanent monitoring plots were set up in the park. In general, researchers have found that ozone exposure and damage to plants are worse at the higher elevations. They have also documented that up to 90% of black cherry trees and milkweed plants in numerous park locations show symptoms of ozone damage. Some of the other plants that show ozone damage symptoms include tuliptree, sassafras, winged sumac, blackberry, and cutleaf coneflower.

    Acid Rain, Acid Clouds, and Nitrogen Overload
    Plants and animals in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are also threatened by airborne sulfur and nitrogen pollution. The park receives the highest sulfur and nitrogen deposits of any monitored national park. These pollutants fall to the ground not only as acid rain, but also as dry particles and cloud water. The average acidity (pH) of rainfall in the park is 4.5, 5-10 times more acidic than normal rainfall (5.0-5.6). Clouds with acidity as low as 2.0 pH bathe the high elevation forests during part of the growing season.

    Research shows that certain high elevation soils in the park are receiving so much airborne nitrogen that they are suffering from advanced nitrogen saturation. This condition limits the availability of forest nutrients, especially calcium, to plants and causes the release of toxic aluminum that can hurt vegetation and streamlife. Mountain streams and forest soils are being acidified to the point that the health of the park’s high elevation ecosystems is in jeopardy. Nitrate levels in some streams are approaching the public health standard for drinking water.”