Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Yesterdayâ€™s announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that greenhouse gases threaten the public health and welfare of the American people has drawn a wide range of responses in the media. In its comments, the EPA also said it found that greenhouse gas emissions from on-road vehicles contribute to that threat. The findings respond to the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that greenhouse gases fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants. While the findings do not in and of themselves impose any emission reduction requirements, itâ€™s seems likely that the decision may lead to new emissions rules and regulations. The EPA announcement also comes as the UN climate change summit opens in Copenhagen. An item on the Wall Street Journalâ€™s Washington Wire blog makes the interesting point that of the 380,000 public comments received by the EPA in response to its proposed finding, more than 70 percent were supportive of the agencyâ€™s move, and less than 30 percent were opposed. While itâ€™s not clear how many of the comments submitted may be duplicates, this appears to indicate a substantial level of support. However, as the Washington Wire notes, recent public opinion polling (here, and here) suggests that the public sees global warming as a less urgent problem than it did a year ago. Check out I.I.I. information on climate change and insurance.