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EPA Says Climate Change Real. Rejects Challenges

EPA's human health endangerment finding stands. Unknown, costly regulatory consequences for U.S. economy will ensue.

by on Jul.29, 2010

CO2 reduction is no walk in the park for auto makers or thus far unsuspecting consumers.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today denied ten petitions challenging its 2009 determination that climate change is real and is occurring due to emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities. This threatens human health and the environment.

The latest decision, which has wide-ranging and potentially huge negative consequences for the stumbling U.S. economy, confirms a previous EPA ruling that greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten the public health and welfare of the American people.

Since virtually all vehicles for the near or longer term will burn fuels that cause large amounts of GHGs, more stringent fuel economy standards are inevitable. This will affect the types, sizes and cost of vehicles – in ways yet unknown — that you will be able to buy.

EPA’s Greenhouse Gas findings were initially issued in response to a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that GHGs fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants. Prior to that, under Republican Administrations, the EPA did not take regulatory action to deal with the controversial problem.

Both the previous and today’s EPA position were not surprising given previous public statements of President Obama and his political appointees at EPA. (See EPA Finds Greenhouse Gases Threaten Health)

The petitions to reconsider EPA’s Endangerment Finding claimed that climate science cannot be trusted, and assert a conspiracy that invalidates the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

EPA has just said in a statement that after months of “serious consideration” of the petitions and of the state of climate change science, that it finds no evidence to support these claims.

In fact, EPA’s review shows that climate science is “credible, compelling, and growing stronger.”

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“The endangerment finding is based on years of science from the U.S. and around the world.  These petitions — based as they are on selectively edited, out-of-context data and a manufactured controversy — provide no evidence to undermine our determination.  Excess greenhouse gases are a threat to our health and welfare,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

“Defenders of the status quo will try to slow our efforts to get America running on clean energy.  A better solution would be to join the vast majority of the American people who want to see more green jobs, more clean energy innovation and an end to the oil addiction that pollutes our planet and jeopardizes our national security,” Jackson asserted.

In what was perhaps the most widely disseminated web attack by anti climate change groups – who said that e-mails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit in the United Kingdom were evidence of a conspiracy to manipulate global temperature data – the EPA’s response was, well, curt.

“EPA reviewed every e-mail and found this was simply a candid discussion of scientists working through issues that arise in compiling and presenting large complex data sets.  Four other independent reviews came to similar conclusions,” EPA said.

Then there was the claim that that error in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report call the entire body of work into question.

Of the alleged errors, EPA confirmed only two in a 3,000 page report.

  • The first pertains to the rate of Himalayan glacier melt;
  • The second referred to the percentage of the Netherlands below sea level.

IPCC issued correction statements for both of errors.

“The errors have no bearing on Administrator Jackson’s decision. None of the errors undermines the basic facts that the climate is changing in ways that threaten our health and welfare,” EPA said.

So the U.S. government has once again found that climate change is happening. More serious for homo sapiens is the assertion that human activity is a contributor.

EPA maintains that the global warming trend over the past 100 years is confirmed by three separate records of surface temperature, all of which are confirmed by satellite data. Evidence of climate change is also seen in melting ice in the Arctic, melting glaciers around the world, increasing ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, shifting precipitation patterns, and changing ecosystems and wildlife habitats.

“America’s Climate Choices,” from the National Academy of Sciences is the most recent assessment of the full body of scientific literature on climate change. The recently released “State of the Climate” report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also asserts that climate change is real and poses a significant risk to human and natural systems.

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