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Scientists Slam Lawmakers Attempt to Block EPA Regulation of Emissions

In an effort to dissuade congressional leaders to halt their anti-science campaign opposing the Environmental Protection Agency’s endangerment finding signed by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson late last year specifying carbon emissions as a risk to human health and welfare, more than 500 scientists have signed a letter urging Congress to oppose resolutions seeking to reverse that finding.

Organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the letter says in part

Because the EPA’s finding is based on solid science, this amendment also represents a rejection of that science. The EPA’s endangerment finding is based on an exhaustive review of the massive body of scientific research showing a clear threat from climate change.”

The letter further urges Congress to…

…oppose an imminent attack on the Clean Air Act (CAA) that would undermine public health and prevent action on global warming.” Adding that “Because EPA’s finding is based on solid science this amendment also represents a rejection of that science.”

At least 10 international science academies and 18 scientific organizations within the US, including the National Academy of Sciences, support the underlying science upon which the EPA’s finding is based, scientists say in the letter.

Michelle Robinson, director of the Clean Vehicles Program for the UCS said:

These resolutions not only threaten public health, they would force Americans to spend more on gasoline by rolling back new vehicle standards that will save consumers billions of dollars at the gas pump” said Michelle Robinson, director of the Clean Vehicles Program at UCS. “Congress should be protecting public health and listening to the best science, not sending more money overseas for oil.”

Americans spend $13 million dollars every minute on foreign oil.

Following is the full text of the letter: (or see the pdf version with the complete list of signatories)

Protect the Clean Air Act:

A letter signed by 569 U.S. Scientists

Dear Congress,

We the undersigned urge you to oppose an imminent attack on the Clean Air Act (CAA) that would undermine public health and prevent action on global warming. This attack comes in the form of House and Senate resolutions that would reverse the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) finding that global warming endangers public health and welfare. Because the EPA’s finding is based on solid science, this amendment also represents a rejection of that science.

The EPA’s “endangerment finding” is based on an exhaustive review of the massive body of scientific research showing a clear threat from climate change. The 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that global warming will cause water shortages, loss of species, hazards to coasts from sea level rise, and an increase in the severity of extreme weather events.1

The most recent science includes findings that sea level rise may be more pronounced than the IPCC report predicted2 and that oceans will absorb less of our future emissions3.

Recently, 18 American scientific societies sent a letter to the U.S. Senate confirming the consensus view on climate science and calling for action to reduce greenhouse gases “if we are to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change.” The U.S. National Academy of Sciences and ten international scientific academies have also released such statements.4 Unfortunately, these resolutions would force the EPA to ignore these scientific findings and statements.

The CAA is a law with a nearly 40-year track record of protecting public health and the environment and spurring innovation by cutting dangerous pollution. This effective policy can help address the threat of climate change – but only if the EPA retains its ability to respond to scientific findings. Instead of standing in the way of climate action, the Senate should move quickly to enact climate and energy legislation that will curb global warming, save consumers money, and create jobs. In the meantime, I urge you to respect the scientific integrity of the EPA’s endangerment finding by opposing Senate and House attacks on the Clean Air Act.
Sincerely,

—————-
1 IPCC (2007) Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (AR4). S. Solomon et al. eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and NY, USA. More than 450 lead authors, 800 contributing authors, and an additional 2,500 reviewing experts from more than 130 countries contributed to AR4.
2 Stroeve, J. Marika M. Holland, Walt Meier, Ted Scambos, and Mark Serreze (2007) Arctic sea ice decline: Faster than forecast Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 34, L09501, Doi: 10.1029/2007gl029703
3 Canadell, J.G., C. Le Quéré, M. R. Raupach, C. B. Field, E. T. Buitenhuis, P. Ciais, T. J. Conway, N. P. Gillett, R. A. Houghton, and G. Marland. 2007. Contributions to accelerating atmospheric CO2 growth from economic activity, carbon intensity, and efficiency of natural sinks, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
4 A list of these scientific societies and academies and links to their statements is available at http://www.ucsusa.org/ssi/climate-change/scientific-consensus-on.html

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