Last Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially declared carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases a danger to public health and welfare. The announcement gives the EPA the authority to mandate policy that would regulate carbon emissions, regardless of whether or not Congress passes the long awaited cap-and-trade bill.
The "endangerment" finding will allow the agency to regulate carbon emissions from all sources including factories, utility plants as well as pedestrian and commercial vehicles.
"These long-overdue findings cement 2009’s place in history as the year when the U.S. government began addressing the challenge of greenhouse gas pollution and seizing the opportunity of clean-energy reform," said EPA administrator Lisa Jackson.
Meanwhile, critics believe that the agency has granted itself unrestrictive power, and that the already troubled economy will become a casualty of an imminent climate war.
"It’s going to have consequences that are very significant for our economic recovery," said Republican Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire. "A lot of economic expansion is going to be put on hold pending what happens with these regulations. And we really can’t afford that right now," he added, quoted by NewsMax.com.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue said that the new regulations would stall economic growth and that the EPA, whose top administrator is chosen by the White House, was basing its findings on "shaky, cherry-picked data," quoted by Bloomberg.com.