US environmental watchdog gives COP15 first day boost

President Barak Obama can now regulate US emission limits without congressional approval following a decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The EPA has said tonight (December 7) that greenhouse gases ‘threaten public health and the environment’ and are ‘overwhelmingly’ due to human activity.

The agency said in straightforward terms green house gases are the ‘primary driver of climate change, which can lead to hotter, longer heat waves that threaten the health of the sick, poor or elderly’.

By making this ruling the EPA has given president Obama a huge boost as he will now be able to set curbs on emissions without having to get it passed in the country’s senate.

EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, said: “These long-overdue findings cement 2009’s place in history as the year when the United States Government began addressing the challenge of greenhouse-gas pollution and seizing the opportunity of clean-energy reform.”

“Business leaders, security experts, government officials, concerned citizens and the United States Supreme Court have called for enduring, pragmatic solutions to reduce the greenhouse gas pollution that is causing climate change.

“This continues our work towards clean energy reform that will cut gases and reduce the dependence on foreign oil that threatens our national security and our economy.”

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.

Luke Walsh

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