Greenhouse Gases: Regulation Coming?

A proposed finding from the EPA would classify six greenhouse gases as human health hazards, a first step toward regulating emissions that contribute to global warming.
By Alison Rogers
June/July 2009
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A comparison of carbon dioxide emissions and gross national product for 38 countries show that the world’s wealthiest nations are also the world’s largest per capita emitters of this and other greenhouse gases.
PHOTO: VIDADY/FOTOLIA


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As shown in a graph of carbon emissions and gross national product by country, the world’s wealthiest nations are also the world’s largest per capita emitters of carbon dioxide (CO2), the leading pollutant driving global warming. But now the country that emits the most CO2 per capita, the United States, is finally about to declare that six greenhouse gases “endanger the public health and welfare of current and future generations.”

In what has been called the first step toward regulating global warming-related pollution, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on April 17 issued a proposed finding that the six gases — CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride — are air pollutants as defined by the Clean Air Act. The finding was based on a broad, peer-reviewed scientific study ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007. The EPA’s proposed rule states clearly that current atmospheric levels of these chemicals are “likely the cause of the observed increase in average temperatures and other climatic changes.”

“This finding confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a problem now and for future generations,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson when she introduced the proposed rule.

As we went to press, the proposal entered a 60-day public comment period. 








Post a comment below.

 

alexa
9/14/2009 4:22:45 AM
I hope this regulation is the first step of many to come! It's fair to ask the welthiest nations to start regulating their emission, as their emissions are the largest. It is also necessary that the poorest countries start finding a cleaner way to advance their standard of living. Climate is changing much faster than our expectations,this is caused from our standard of living. We might not have the luxury of a "century or two"!! We should all give up some comfort for the future good. Altough this is not simple, I look at my child and can't help but wonder which world he will grow up.

alexa
9/14/2009 4:21:26 AM
I hope this regulation is the first step of many to come! It's fair to ask the welthiest nations to start regulating their emission, as their emissions are the largest. It is also necessary that the poorest countries start finding a cleaner way to advance their standard of living. Climate is changing much faster than our expectations,this is caused from our standard of living. We might not have the luxury of a "century or two"!! We should all give up some comfort for the future good. Altough this is not simple, I look at my child and can't help but wonder which world he will grow up.

Frank Ruvolo_2
6/8/2009 10:32:09 PM
Unless you get everyone to play the game is not fair. Rich nations cannot offset what poor nations will do. If you just want to feel better then pay the high taxes. If you want to do something convince them to find a cleaner way to advance their standard of living.

Robert_113
6/8/2009 9:00:58 AM
I don't know the value of this. I would need to know how much carbon each nation contributes, how much carbon might be displaced to another nation by simply having something made in China or India because of the carbon tax and what reductions all nations are making. I suspect China and India will increase their carbon emissions instead of decreasing them. I can't see suffering the economic consequences of a carbon tax without result, only for the sake of being able to say we did not do nothing.

Robert_113
6/8/2009 8:59:05 AM
I don't know the value of this. I would need to know how much carbon each nation contributes, how much carbon might be displaced to another nation by simply having something made in China or India because of the carbon tax and what reductions all nations are making. I suspect China and India will increase their carbon emissions instead of decreasing them. I can't see suffering the economic consequences of a carbon tax without result, only for the sake of being able to say we did not do nothing.

George Works
6/8/2009 8:25:48 AM
We should, of course, cap and then reduce our CO2 emissions. But Americans are not likely to voluntarily agree to reduce their per-capita emissions to a level that would be sustainable on a worldwide basis. This would require a much, much simpler lifestyle. Nor are the emerging nations likely to agree to remain perpetually poor to restrict their per-capita CO2 emissions when Americans emit vastly more. I fear that the world will just talk about this issue and make relatively small changes until we have exhausted the usable fossil fuel resources, in a century or two, and then let nature clean up the awful mess.








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