In a landmark finding for America and humanity, the EPA “issued a proposed finding Friday that greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare.” The ruling sounds the death knell for new dirty coal plants and should apply some pressure on Congress to pass climate legislation.
Note: everything you could want to know about this finding — including the 133 page finding itself and the 171 “Technical support document” — can be found on EPA’s website here.
“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 EPA reports on its website:
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.
BACKGROUND AND IMPLICATIONS