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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.

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First Fuel Economy Rules Ordered for Big Trucks

BP's "spill baby, spill" has the Administration pushing for much tougher national regulations for all classes of vehicles.

by on May.21, 2010

The President’s proposal would also order more gains in fuel efficiency for cars and lighter trucks.

President Obama today ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to institute the first regulation to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas pollution from medium- and heavy-duty trucks for model years 2014-2018.

He also called for national regulations on increasing fuel economy beyond the current ones, which stipulate that new light vehicles  must average at least 35.5 miles to a gallon of fuel by  2016 for combined city and highway driving.

The President’s proposal would order further, unspecified improvements in fuel efficiency for cars and light trucks made in 2017 and beyond. California still has the ability to impose its own regulations after that, and automakers are desperate to have a long-term national policy imposed. How this unfolds in Congress is uncertain, but the Administration called for action before the end of this year. ( See Administration Rolls Out New Fuel Economy Rules )

The Obama announcement comes as the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continues to release the equivalent amount of oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez every day or two. No end to what is called the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history  is in sight.

It is estimated that trucks currently use more than two million barrels of oil every day, and average 6.1 miles per gallon. Trucks also emit 20% of the greenhouse gases related to transportation.

The President said in a White House Rose Garden photo opportunity that preliminary estimates indicate the potential for significant fuel efficiency gains of as much as 25% and greenhouse gas emissions reductions for large tractor-trailers, which represent half of all GHG emissions from the sector.

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