Greenhouse gas is bad for you

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that greenhouse gases are a threat to public health and welfare and that emissions from vehicles contribute to that threat. Their announcement is in response to a 2007 Supreme Court decision that required them to determine whether six key greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride—threatened health and welfare, and if so, to take steps to regulate them.

The agency said greenhouse gases drive climate change, which threatens the health of the sick and elderly and increases ground-level ozone pollution linked to asthma and other respiratory problems.

The EPA’s determination doesn’t automatically impose emission reduction requirements, but it does allow the agency to use the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, factories, refineries and other sources. It also lets them finalize greenhouse gas standards for new light-duty vehicles. Industry groups are concerned that regulating carbon dioxide would be complicated and hurt the already ailing economy. But EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson called the findings “long overdue.”

“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,” a statement from the EPA read. “The evidence of human-induced climate change goes beyond observed increases in average surface temperatures; it includes melting ice in the Arctic, melting glaciers around the world, increasing ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, acidification of the oceans due to excess carbon dioxide, changing precipitation patterns and changing patterns of ecosystems and wildlife.”

In other words, just because it’s cold and snowing doesn’t mean climate change isn’t happening.