The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that greenhouse gases (GHG) threaten the public health and welfare of Americans. According to the EPA, science overwhelmingly shows GHG concentrations at unprecedented levels due to human activity.
‘Business leaders, security experts, government officials, concerned citizens and the United States Supreme Court have called for enduring, pragmatic solutions to reduce the greenhouse gas pollution that is causing climate change,’ says Lisa P. Jackson, EPA administrator.
EPA's final findings respond to the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that GHG fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants. The findings do not impose any emission reduction requirements but rather allow EPA to finalize the GHG standards proposed earlier this year for new light-duty vehicles as part of the joint rulemaking with the Department of Transportation.
EPA's endangerment finding covers emissions of six key greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride – that have been the subject of scrutiny and intense analysis for decades by scientists in the U.S. and around the world.
Scientific consensus shows that as a result of human activities, GHG concentrations in the atmosphere are at record high levels and data shows that the Earth has been warming over the past 100 years, with the steepest increase in warming in recent decades, according to EPA.
EPA made the announcement after examination of scientific evidence and consideration of public comments. The agency received more than 380,000 comments.