US moves ahead on CO2 health threat

The US Environmental Protection Agency has proposed an “endangerment finding” that could designate greenhouse-gas pollution a threat to human or environmental health, Reuters reported. The finding is essential for the American government to regulate emissions such as carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act, and could pave the way for limits on emissions linked to climate change.


“I think it’s historic news,” said Frank O’Donnell of Clean Air Watch, an environmental group. “It is going to set the stage for the first-ever national limits on global warming pollution.” The substance of the proposal was not immediately made public.

The US Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the EPA has the authority to make such regulations if human health is threatened by global-warming pollution, but no regulations went forward during the administration of George W Bush. An internal agency document made public last year showed that EPA scientists believed greenhouse pollution posed a health threat, but no official finding was ever accepted by the Bush White House.

President Barack Obama favours a market-based cap-and-trade system, limiting carbon emissions but allowing companies that emit more than their limit to trade allowances with those that emit less.

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