EPA stands by endangerment finding

EPA today issued its response to the 10 petitions that have been filed asking it to reconsider its December 2009 determination that greenhouse gas emissions cause or contribute to air pollution that may reasonably be expected to endanger public health or welfare. To no one’s surprise, the agency is standing by its earlier finding.

As it should. The petitions relied on the “Climategate” scandal, claiming it undermined the global warming science on which the endangerment finding was based. As Jonathan and Dan have pointed out on this blog, the string of investigations that followed the unauthorized release of e-mails from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia have uniformly found that although some climate scientists revealed their frustration and human foibles, nothing in the leaked materials undermines the robust scientific consensus that the earth is warming as a result of greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, as Ann pointed out here, this spring the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council issued its strongest statement yet on the reality of climate change and its human causes.

EPA has created a  website on the decision, with links to the formal explanation to be published in the Federal Register (weighing in at a mere 217 pages), a fact sheet, a number of scientific assessments, investigative reports on “Climategate,” and the petitions themselves.

This decision clears the way for the DC Circuit to consider the cluster of petitions for judicial review of the endangerment finding. The Warming Law blog of the Constitutional Accountability Center has been tracking those challenges. It counts at least 17, which have been consolidated for review. That process had been put on hold, at EPA’s request, pending the agency ruling on the administrative petitions. Two weeks from now, it can move forward.

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