The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kevin Bundy, (415) 436-9682 x 313,

EPA's Endangerment Finding Marks First Step Toward Global Warming Solutions Under the Clean Air Act

Pollution Reductions From Vehicles and Smokestacks, Plus Science-based Carbon Pollution Cap, Must Follow


The Center for Biological Diversity
issued the following statement today from Executive Director Kieran Suckling as
the Environmental Protection Agency released its finding that greenhouse gas
pollution constitutes a threat to public
health and welfare under the Clean Air Act:

announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency demonstrates the power of
the Clean Air Act to curb global warming. We applaud the EPA for moving forward
to implement one of our nation's most successful environmental laws to avert
catastrophic runaway global warming.

"Now the Clean
Air Act must be put to full use to address the crisis of climate change. As
President Obama heads to Copenhagen, his hands are not tied by the
tragically weak cap-and-trade bills being debated in Congress. President Obama
needs to lead, not follow. Today's decision clearly shows that his
administration already has the legal tools to achieve deep and rapid greenhouse
emissions reductions from major polluters, consistent with what science demands,
through the Clean Air Act. The next step is for EPA to issue pollution-reduction rules for vehicles,
smokestacks, and other polluters, and to set a science-based national pollution
cap for greenhouse gases."

Last week, the Center for Biological
Diversity and petitioned the EPA to set national limits for carbon
dioxide and other greenhouse gas pollution under the Clean Air Act. The petition
seeks to enforce a central provision of the Act that requires EPA to designate
"criteria" air pollutants, set national pollution limits for these pollutants to
protect the public health and welfare, and assist the states in carrying out
plans to reduce emissions from major pollution sources to attain or maintain the
national standards.

The petition seeks to have seven
greenhouse gases designated as "criteria" air pollutants and atmospheric
CO2 capped at 350 parts per million (ppm), the level leading
scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst impacts of global

Emissions-reduction targets
announced by Obama in the lead-up to Copenhagen, which mirror the targets in the
climate bill passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year, have
virtually no chance of avoiding dangerous climate change. Combined with other
countries' proposals on the table in Copenhagen, CO2 concentrations would increase to more than 650 parts per
million.[1] In contrast, the Clean Air Act, fully
implemented, could put us on track to reducing CO2 to below
350 ppm.

Click here
to read the petition for a national pollution cap under the Clean Air Act.

[1]Copenhagen deal headed for 3.5degC
| 3 Dec 2009

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

(520) 623-5252