EPA reaffirms human health risks of greenhouse gases

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Washington, D.C., July 29, 2010 — The decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to deny petitions to reconsider its greenhouse gas endangerment finding reaffirms the strength of climate science.

In response to a directive from the U.S. Supreme Court, EPA reached a December 2009 science-based finding that six greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride — are a threat to human health and the environment. The EPA reaffirmed that determination.

“Like other major scientific assessments, EPA’s exhaustive review of the science underscores that climate-disrupting gases are a clear and present danger to human health and the environment,” said Dr. Steven Hamburg, EDF’s Chief Scientist. “The science behind EPA’s finding is strong. Now America needs to forge clean energy solutions that reduce the vast pollution discharged into our air.”

EPA’s endangerment determination provides the basis for clean car standards adopted in April of this year. The new clean car standards were broadly supported by states, America’s automakers, the United Auto Workers union and environmentalists.

The clean car standards will reduce oil consumption by 1.8 billion barrels, cut climate-disruptive gases by 960 million tons, and save consumers an estimated $3,000 at the gas pump over the life of their car.

The administrative requests seeking reconsideration of EPA’s science-based finding were filed by coal companies, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the State of Texas, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and other interests.

EPA spent months carrying out a detailed review of the petitions, finding that the science-based determination was strong and that several recent major studies only reinforced the serious threat of greenhouse gases.

EPA announced its decision, and released details of its investigative process.


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