Groups sue US EPA for climate change

Three US-based environmental groups are suing the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to act to prevent climate change.

The International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA), Sierra Club and Greenpeace have announced that they are suing the EPA for its failure under requirements of the Clean Air Act to limit all air pollution from vehicles that endanger public health or welfare.

According to the ICTA, the EPA ignored a formal petition by the three groups submitted over three years ago, calling for it to abide by the Clean Air Act. A public comment period that ended in May 2001, carried out by the EPA received over 50,000 comments, the vast majority of which strongly agreed that global warming should be addressed under the Act, says the ICTA.

US greenhouse gas emissions increased at a faster rate during 1999-2000 than the average annual rate throughout the whole of the rest of the 1990s, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) revealed in May. The EPA attributed the increase to robust economic growth.

President Bush unveiled his much-criticised climate change strategy on St Valentine’s Day this year, which included a cut in greenhouse gas ‘intensity’ of 18% by 2012 . In June the Administration admitted that people are responsible, at least in part, for climate change.

“It’s time for the Bush Administration to get its head out of the sand,” said Joseph Mandelson, Legal Director of the ICTA, noting that the EPA’s ‘stalling tactics’ are doing real damage in the fight against global warming.

In August, members of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, and the City of Boulder, Colorado, announced that they would sue two government banks for facilitating activities that cause climate change.

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