EPA finds greenhouse gases pose a danger to health

Apr 17, 2009 By H. JOSEF HEBERT , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- The Environmental Protection Agency concluded Friday that greenhouse gases linked to climate change "endanger public health and welfare," setting the stage for regulating them under federal clean air laws.

The EPA action marks the first step toward imposing limits on pollution linked to climate change, which would mean tighter rules for cars and power plants. Agency officials cautioned such regulations are expected to be part of a lengthy process and not issued anytime soon.

Limits on carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases would have widespread economic and social impact, from requiring better fuel efficiency for automobiles to limiting emissions from power plants and industrial sources, changing the way the nation produces energy.

In announcing the proposed finding, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said it "confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations." She reiterated that the Obama administration prefers that climate change be address by Congress through broad, economy-wide limits on climate-changing pollution. But the EPA finding of endangerment prepares for possible regulatory action if Congress fails to act.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., whose Environment and Public Works Committee is considering climate legislation, said the EPA finding - stalled by the Bush administration - is long overdue but that "the best and most flexible way" to deal with the problem is for Congress to take action on a broader approach.

Friday's action by the EPA triggered a 60-day comment period before the agency issues a final endangerment ruling.

The agency said in its finding that "in both magnitude and probability, climate change is an enormous problem" and that carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases "that are responsible for it endanger public health and welfare within the meaning of the Clean Air Act."

The EPA concluded that the science pointing to man-made pollution as a cause of global warming is "compelling and overwhelming." It also said tailpipe emissions from motor vehicles contribute to climate change.

The EPA action was prompted by a Supreme Court ruling two years ago that said greenhouse gases are pollutants under the Clean Air Act and must be regulated if found to be a danger to human health or public welfare.

The Bush administration strongly opposed using the Clean Air Act to address climate change and stalled on producing the so-called "endangerment finding" demanded by the high court in its April 2007 ruling.

The court case, brought by Massachusetts, focused only on emissions from automobiles. But it is widely assumed that if the EPA must regulate emissions from cars and trucks, it will have no choice but to control identical pollution from power plants and industrial sources.

Congress is considering imposing an economy-wide cap on greenhouse gas emissions along with giving industry the ability to trade emission allowances to mitigate costs. Legislation could be considered by the House before the August congressional recess.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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User comments : 9

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GrayMouser
5 / 5 (4) Apr 17, 2009
Well... we all knew this was going to happen when the new administration told the EPA to "reconsider" it's prior ruling on CO2. The EPA managers appointed by Obama aren't going to say "No!" to him.
mikiwud
5 / 5 (1) Apr 17, 2009
The ranking of the articles are biased to seem as most agree with them. I justed rated three articles with a 1 to notice a drop of .1, .2 and .3 with total votes of 24 to 30. This is impossible if the origial score was genuine. I have commented on this before, any thoughts? You would need consecutive ranks of 1 just for a .1 drop.
Fazer
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 18, 2009
mikiwud, I'm not great with math, but after 30 votes, my figures show voting a one would drop the total score by anywhere from nothing on up to a maximum drop of .1 (or .13 if they go to two decimals.)

As for the article, I find it disturbing that our government would label a gas that is essential for plant growth, and thus for most of the life on Earth, as one that "endanger[s] public health and welfare"

Next, let's require an MSDS on every kitchen fawcett including a warning:

"This substance has been positively linked with death by suffocation. If ingested, induce vomitting immediately, unless you are thirsty, in which case the Surgeon General says it's okay to swallow...but not too much: you could die of Hyponatremia. Also, don't swim in it, you might get eaten; walk in it, you might catch pneumonia; or wash your hands too much in it, you might invite flesh eating bacteria to consume your body. It's really a rather unpleasant fluid, all things considered. Perhaps its best to just avoid it altogether."
Nartoon
3.4 / 5 (5) Apr 18, 2009
Just remember to vote republican when your taxes get too high. I think we can rid the world of green flu after the next election.
mikiwud
5 / 5 (1) Apr 18, 2009
Fazer,
You are correct. It was late at night when I posted. The drop of .1, .2 and .3 for basically the same figures caught my eye. .1 is normal. Even .2 according to the third decimal place used and if .05 is counted up or down. .3 drop is not correct. The one I saw was 4.4/5 after 28 votes dropped to 4.1/5 after 29 votes. It should be 4.3/5 (4.28 or 4.23 for a 4.2 if the 4.4/5 was nearer to 4.35/5)
What I noticed weeks ago was a 4.9/5 after 139 votes drop to 4.6 after 140 only one hour after the article appeared. Perhaps the math engine needs servicing, or has it been tuned?
Fazer
5 / 5 (1) Apr 18, 2009
Hmmm, certainly seems mysterious.

You also said something about the rating indicating whether or not people agree with the article. Is that what it is for? I took it as simply indicating how significant, either way, an article is. If an article says something that everyone disagrees with, for example "Scientists find that all elephants are inherently evil and they are pressing the U.N. to eradicate them", you wouldn't want the article to just disappear just because everyone disagreed with it, you'd want it to stay up so that people could have their say and perhaps create a grass-roots effort to save the species.
mikiwud
5 / 5 (1) Apr 19, 2009
Fazer,
I may be wrong but 4.9/5 after 139 votes seems VERY unlikely, especially in a very short time. Even if most readers like it not all will give it 4 or 5. I gave it 1. I may be wierd but I'm not the only one out there.
Velanarris
5 / 5 (1) Apr 20, 2009
It appears the "total" figure is inaccurate. So it could be 4.5/5 after 100 votes but in reality it's a 4.5/5 after 2 votes. I've seen this several times.
mikiwud
3 / 5 (1) Apr 21, 2009
I've also noticed a comment gets a "ranking" on the page, but not in in my activity, and vice versa. Sometimes one vote is missed, sometimes all. It is usually corrected after a day or two (or three) The whole lot could be a fault in the progaming, not deliberate as I first thought.