Get ready for the next round of global warming debates. The Environmental Protection Agency issued a proposed finding today that greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare.
The proposed finding, which now moves to a public comment period, identified six greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, that pose a potential threat.
“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,” Jackson added that the solution will create millions of green jobs and end the United States’ dependence on foreign oil.
The proposed finding states that the greenhouse gases that are responsible for climate change endanger public health and welfare within the meaning of the Clean Air Act.
EPA’s proposed endangerment finding is based on peer-reviewed scientific analysis of six gases that are very likely the cause of the increase in average temperatures and other climate changes. The gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.
The scientific analysis also confirms that climate change impacts human health in several ways. Findings from a recent EPA study for example, suggest that climate change may lead to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone, a harmful pollutant.
Additional impacts of climate change include:
- Increased drought
- More heavy downpours and flooding
- More frequent and intense heat waves and wildfires
- Greater sea level rise
- More intense storms
- Harm to water resources, agriculture, wildlife and ecosystems.
In addition to threatening human health, the analysis finds that climate change also has national security implications. Escalating violence in destabilized regions can be made worse by an increasing scarcity of resources such as water.
The proposed endangerment finding now enters the public comment period, which EPA must undertake before issuing final findings. Today’s proposed finding does not include any proposed regulations. President Obama and Administrator Jackson have repeatedly indicated their preference for comprehensive legislation to address this issue and create the framework for a clean energy economy.