EPA Finds Emissions Increase, Set to OK GHG Endangerment Finding

By Published On: April 17, 2009

In spite of lots of talk and hand ringing, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on tax day that overall emissions in 2007 increased by 1.4 percent from the previous year. “Total emissions of the six main greenhouse gases in 2007 were equivalent to 7,150 million metric tons of carbon dioxide,” the EPA stated April 15. The report, Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, indicates that overall emissions have grown by 17.2 percent from 1990 to 2007. The rise was attributed to increased carbon dioxide emissions from fuel and electricity consumption. Demand for heating fuels and electricity due to a cooler winter and a warmer summer in 2007 were said to be the main cause. In addition, that year saw a boost in fossil fuels to generate electricity to offset a drop of 14.2 percent in hydropower generation. Two days earlier, the White House signed off the on the agency’s proposed findings regarding the health threats of greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA’s “endangerment finding” is not “economically significant,” according to the April 13 notice of regulatory review released by the Office of Management and Budget. The EPA sent its proposal to the White House March 20. The agency’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide gases under the Clean Air Act was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court last year. Just minutes before press time, the EPA’s head approved her agency’s greenhouse gas endangerment finding. Under Republican administrations--including the previous one--the OMB, which reviews federal rulemakings, often held up proposed environmental regulations. “This finding confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generation,” stated EPA administrator Lisa Jackson April 17. “This pollution problem has a solution--one that will create millions of green jobs and end our country’s dependence on foreign oil.” In an April 15 letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, a group of so called “free-marketers” stated, “The endangerment finding will set the stage for an economic train wreck and a constitutional crisis.” “The EPA decision is historic and a game-changer for climate policy that will have political and policy repercussions domestically and abroad,” said Joe Mendelson, National Wildlife Federation global warming policy director. Congressional Democrats are on a parallel route to curb carbon gases. Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) authored a bill to create a national cap-and trade market to cut greenhouse gases 20 percent from 2005 levels in 2020, and up to 83 percent by mid century. The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Environment will hold an April 21 hearing on the bill. Known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, the measure also sets a national renewable portfolio standard of 25 percent by 2025 (Circuit, April 3, 2009).

Share this story

Not a member yet?

Subscribe Now