The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its final endangerment finding on greenhouse gases (GHGs), concluding that greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten the public health and welfare of the American people. EPA also finds that GHG emissions from on-road vehicles contribute to that threat.
EPA’s final findings respond to the 2007 US Supreme Court decision that GHGs fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants. (Earlier post.) The findings do not in and of themselves require, or 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. (Earlier post.) EPA has not yet proposed GHG rules for stationary sources.
|“Today’s finding is based on decades of research by hundreds of researchers. The vast body of evidence not only remains unassailable, it’s grown stronger, and it points to one conclusion: greenhouse gases from human activity are increasing at unprecedented rates and are adversely affecting our environment and threatening our health.”|
—EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson
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 United States and around the world.
EPA issued the proposed findings in April 2009 (earlier post) and held a 60-day public comment period. The agency received more than 380,000 comments, which were reviewed and considered during the development of the final findings. EPA will publish its responses to the volumes of public comment on its website.
On-road vehicles contribute more than 23% of total US GHG emissions. EPA’s proposed GHG standards for light-duty vehicles would reduce GHG emissions by nearly 950 million metric tons and conserve 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of model year 2012-2016 vehicles, according to EPA analysis.