RELEASE: United States Starts Down Long, Difficult Road to Sufficient Climate Change Policy

By
CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry,

(Earth) — Ecological Internet (EI) welcomes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ruling today that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases “may endanger public health or welfare”, a finding that opens the door to future regulation of such emissions under the Clean Air Act. EI continues to demand that emission cuts be fast and large, that Congress not weaken planned E.P.A. carbon regulation, and that Congress abandon cap and trade legislation for a simple, highly effective, carbon tax. And that the U.S. leads at Copenhagen or feel the consequences.

The E.P.A said in its proposed endangerment finding that “based on rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific analysis of six gases ? carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride ? that… these gases are at unprecedented levels as a result of human emissions, and these high levels are very likely the cause of the increase in average temperatures and other changes in our climate.” Human health and welfare was thus threatened by increased severity and intensity of storms; more frequent drought, heatwaves, and forest fires; rising sea levels; and harm to water resources, agriculture, wildlife and ecosystems.

“We are thrilled to see President Obama dismiss President Bush’s years of criminal climate science obstruction, and to rejoin the world of civilized nations making public policy based upon ecological science, and needs of Earth and her humanity. We encourage the President to follow through with rigorous efforts to immediately begin reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including phasing out the use of coal and tar sands, ending old forest logging, committing further to energy efficiency and renewables, and resisting the siren song of industrial agrofuels,” says Ecological Internet President, Dr. Glen Barry.

Ecological Internet has provided leadership for years in the movement to have carbon dioxide regulated. EI’s global Earth Action Network publicly and successfully worked with others to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that carbon dioxide is a pollutant under the Clean Air Act and that the EPA had the right to regulate CO2 emissions [1]. Earlier this year several thousand global citizen activists from around the world, organized by EI, urged the new President to “immediately start regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act [2].” President Obama listened.

Dr. Barry warns, however, that “Earth has already passed a critical threshold whereby there are too many people consuming too much, not enough terrestrial ecosystems remain intact, and there is too much carbon in the atmosphere. Maintaining the biosphere and achieving global ecological sustainability depends critically upon social change and personal transformation at a previously unknown scale. Humanity simply must stop burning and cutting Gaia to death, and embrace an age of ecological protection and restoration. This E.P.A. announcement is an important start.”

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