EPA Moves Toward Limits on Greenhouse Gases

In what could be one of the most significant regulatory changes since its founding, the EPA has moved toward imposing limits on greenhouse gases with a finding that such gases now present a “serious problem . . . for future generations.” The move could have widespread environmental benefits apart from climate change in forcing more fuel efficient cars and greater limitations on power plants and industrial sources.

The EPA finding of endangerment prepares allows for the EPA to act if Congress fails to do so. The finding will unite powerful industry lobby groups for utilities, car manufacturers and others in seeking to delay or stop the change. More worrisome is the fact that such regulations take a ridiculously long time — even without such concerting opposition. That would mean that the new Administration could easily stop the process. The Bush Administration previously opposed moved to use the Clean Air At to address climate change, but the Supreme Court found that such regulations is allowed — requiring, however, the “endangerment finding” issued by the EPA.

Here is the release from the EPA:

WASHINGTON – On January 1, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will, for the first time, require large emitters of heat-trapping emissions to begin collecting greenhouse gas (GHG) data under a new reporting system. This new program will cover approximately 85 percent of the nation’s GHG emissions and apply to roughly 10,000 facilities.

“This is a major step forward in our effort to address the greenhouse gases polluting our skies,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “For the first time, we begin collecting data from the largest facilities in this country, ones that account for approximately 85 percent of the total U.S. emissions. The American public, and industry itself, will finally gain critically important knowledge and with this information we can determine how best to reduce those emissions.”

EPA’s new reporting system will provide a better understanding of where GHGs are coming from and will guide development of the best possible policies and programs to reduce emissions. The data will also allow businesses to track their own emissions, compare them to similar facilities, and provide assistance in identifying cost effective ways to reduce emissions in the future. This comprehensive, nationwide emissions data will help in the fight against climate change.

Greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, are produced by burning fossil fuels and through industrial and biological processes. Fossil fuel and industrial GHG suppliers, motor vehicle and engine manufacturers, and facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more of CO2 equivalent per year will be required to report GHG emissions data to EPA annually. This threshold is equivalent to about the annual GHG emissions from 4,600 passenger vehicles.

The first annual reports for the largest emitting facilities, covering calendar year 2010, will be submitted to EPA in 2011. Vehicle and engine manufacturers outside of the light-duty sector will begin phasing in GHG reporting with model year 2011. Some source categories included in the proposed rule are still under review.

More information on the new reporting system and reporting requirements: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ghgrulemaking.html

It is a great holiday gift for environmentalists and public health advocates. It is a particularly wonderful gift for our children who will bear the costs of these pollutants to a greater degree than ourselves.


171 thoughts on “EPA Moves Toward Limits on Greenhouse Gases”

  1. You couldn’t have asked for a better snapshot of the chasm that divides today’s so-called expert classes from the mass of humanity than the snow crisis of Christmas 2010. They warn us endlessly about the warming of our planet; we struggle through knee-deep snow to visit loved ones. They host million-dollar conferences on how we’ll cope with our Mediterranean future; we sleep for days in airport lounges waiting for runways to be de-iced. They pester the authorities for more funding for global-warming research; we keep an eye on our elderly neighbours who don’t have enough cash to heat their homes. –Brendan O’Neill,


  2. CORVALLIS, Ore. – There is a lot of plastic trash floating in the Pacific Ocean, but claims that the “Great Garbage Patch” between California and Japan is twice the size of Texas are grossly exaggerated, according to an analysis by an Oregon State University scientist.
    Oceanic “garbage patch” not nearly as big as portrayed in media

    Further claims that the oceans are filled with more plastic than plankton, and that the patch has been growing tenfold each decade since the 1950s are equally misleading, pointed out Angelicque “Angel” White, an assistant professor of oceanography at Oregon State.

    “There is no doubt that the amount of plastic in the world’s oceans is troubling, but this kind of exaggeration undermines the credibility of scientists,” White said. “We have data that allow us to make reasonable estimates; we don’t need the hyperbole. Given the observed concentration of plastic in the North Pacific, it is simply inaccurate to state that plastic outweighs plankton, or that we have observed an exponential increase in plastic.”


  3. Now I’m going to show you, recently released, the actual ocean temperature. Of course when the oceans get warmer, that causes stronger storms. Al Gore, an Inconvenient Truth

    Well, no not really, the real world data says otherwise. Dr. Ryan Maue, WUWT contributor and the keeper of the Florida State University dataset on Accumlated Cyclone Energy, has this to say:

    2010 is in the books: Global Tropical Cyclone Accumulated Cyclone Energy [ACE] remains lowest in at least three decades, and expected to decrease even further… For the calendar year 2010, a total of 46 tropical cyclones of tropical storm force developed in the Northern Hemisphere, the fewest since 1977.

    For the calendar-year 2010, there were 66-tropical cyclones globally, the fewest in the reliable record (since 1970)!


  4. NOAA-led Research Team Takes Measure of the Variability of the Atmosphere’s Self-Cleaning Capacity

    January 6, 2011

    An international, NOAA-led research team took a significant step forward in understanding the atmosphere’s ability to cleanse itself of air pollutants and some other gases, except carbon dioxide. The issue has been controversial for many years, with some studies suggesting the self-cleaning power of the atmosphere is fragile and sensitive to environmental changes, while others suggest greater stability. And what researchers are finding is that the atmosphere’s self-cleaning capacity is rather stable

  5. This is the classic circular argument.

    Dr James Overland of the NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, on why global warming means colder and snowier winters in Europe and North America:

    “While the emerging impact of greenhouse gases is an important factor in the changing Arctic, what was not fully recognised until now is that a combination of an unusual warm period due to natural variability, loss of sea ice reflectivity, ocean heat storage and changing wind patterns working together has disrupted the memory and stability of the Arctic climate system, resulting in greater ice loss than earlier climate models predicted,” says Dr Overland.

    “The exceptional cold and snowy winter of 2009-2010 in Europe, eastern Asia and eastern North America is connected to unique physical processes in the Arctic,” he says.


    Changes in the atmospheric circulation above the Arctic lead to colder and snowier winters, thanks to global warming.

    1999, a study from NASA GISS’s Gavin Schmidt, Drew Schindell and Ron Miller told a very different story. Back then, when winters were mild and largely snow-free, climate science was coming to the opposite conclusion:

    Why are winters warming up so much faster over Northern Hemisphere continents than over the rest of the globe? A new study by NASA researchers in the June 3 issue of the journal Nature is the first to link the well-documented large degree of North America and Eurasia winter warming and the associated wind changes to rising greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.


    According to this climate study, warmer winters were caused by . . . changes in atmospheric circulation over the Arctic!

    Shindell found a probable reason for warming Northern Hemisphere winters by studying the polar vortex in his climate model. Over the North Pole, there is a polar vortex created in the stratosphere, the part of the atmosphere that starts more than six miles above the Earth’s surface. The vortex arises because the North Pole is completely dark and extremely cold in the winter, creating a large temperature difference between the polar region and the mid-latitudes.

    Shindell’s model predicts that if greenhouse gases continue to increase, winter in the Northern Hemisphere will continue to warm. “In our model, we’re seeing a very large signal of global warming and it’s not a naturally occurring thing. It’s most likely linked to greenhouse gases,” he said.

  6. A federal appeals court temporarily blocked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from taking control of Texas’s carbon-emission rules while it considers the state’s bid to fend off federal intervention.

    Texas filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington yesterday, saying the EPA didn’t give adequate notice or allow for comments on a proposed federal takeover of the state’s air permitting program on Jan. 2. Last night, the court ordered the agency to hold off on its plan while the court considers whether to delay the move until the case is resolved.

    The appeals court ordered the EPA to respond to Texas’s motion by Jan. 6. Challenges to federal rules are brought directly to appeals courts.

    “The EPA is both unlawfully commandeering Texas’ environmental enforcement program and violating federal laws that give the state and its residents the opportunity to fully participate in the regulatory process,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said in a Dec. 30 statement.


  7. In a recent survey, Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change, found that the number of people in the United States who believe in global warming fell from 71 percent to 56 percent between 2008 and 2010. Just 34 percent of the public thinks there’s scientific agreement on climate change, down from 47 percent two years ago.

    Enter the next phase of the climate education campaign.

    Advocates recognize their chances for passing cap-and-trade legislation are dead for at least two years, maybe longer. But they want to make sure the public and policymakers don’t forget about the problem, especially with President Barack Obama insisting that he remains committed to lower-hanging fruit within the energy portfolio to try to get the job done.


  8. With the above article from dotearth now is a good time to reintroduce the Cloud Mystery. It has six parts and switches to English after about two minutes.

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