In an announcement yesterday that at least gave some support to the US delegation in Copenhagen, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), formally declared that “The Administrator finds that the current and projected concentrations of the six key well-mixed greenhouse gases--carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)--in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations”.
The organisation reached preliminary findings back in March, but has since been through a consultation period and review before reaching its formal conclusion.
“These long-overdue findings cement 2009’s place in history as the year when the United States Government began addressing the challenge of greenhouse-gas pollution and seizing the opportunity of clean-energy reform,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “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.” Notice that politicians are not in the list.
The declaration doesn’t mean much in itself, but it does open the door for the EPA to impose standards around, for instance, vehicle emissions.