Environmental Risks of “Geoegineering”

This week, as scientists meet in Monterey to discuss the potential for large-scale climate intervention strategies, we’re posting short discussions on some of the issues surrounding “geoengineering.”

87784767Aside from the political and economic risks associated with geoengineering, which we explored in Monday’s radio segment on The California Report, critics warn that climate intervention strategies involve some serious potential environmental consequences as well.

In one 2008 study, scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab found that one of the leading geoengineering ideas–blocking solar radiation by pumping sulfur aerosol into the stratosphere–may lead to decreased precipitation across the globe.

Climate scientist Phil Duffy, now of the education organization Climate Central and one of the authors of the 2008 study, says that the decrease in precipitation would follow a slowdown of the overall hydrologic cycle, caused by a decrease in evaporation.  Blocking sunlight reduces evaporation, and since what comes down much first go up, less evaporation means less rain and snow.  As this geoengineering scheme is being proposed as an emergency brake to counter effects of climate change like drought, this is problematic news.

Stratospheric sulfur injection could also seriously damage the Earth’s ozone layer above the Arctic, another 2008 study found.  And opponents fear that it could lead to acid rain, which could exacerbate the growing problem of ocean acidification.

Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institute for Science says that computer modeling from his lab indicates that even if the strategy improved living conditions for 90% of the people on the planet, it’s likely that 10% would suffer negative environmental consequences, and, he says, it would be hard to predict where on the planet that 10% would be.

“We’ve come to the conclusion that there are no experiments that will tell you ahead of time what the regional effects will be,” said Caldeira.

Another high-profile strategy involves fertilizing the ocean with iron as a way to  encourage algae blooms for carbon sequestration.  Algae absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, and the theory is that when they die, they’ll sink to the bottom of the ocean and take the CO2 with it.  There is conflicting research about whether this could work as a long-term sequestration strategy, but a recent study suggests that regardless of whether it’s effective at sequestering CO2 or not, fertilizing the oceans with iron could harm marine ecosystems.   The research shows that increases in algae from the genus Pseudonitzschia can promote concentrations of domoic acid, a poison that can kill birds and marine mammals.  Richard Black has more on the new findings at the BBC website.

For more on the potential risks of geoengineering, Alan Robock‘s article “20 Reasons Why Geoengineering May Be a Bad Idea” appears in the May/June issue of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

The Air Quality-Carbon Connection

I-80Here’s a news flash: California has an air pollution problem.  According to the American Lung Association’s 2009 State of the Air Report, 38 of California’s 52 counties get failing grades for either high ozone or particle pollution days.  (You can see your own county’s grades for ozone and air particle pollution at the State of the Air website.)

In fact, last month the federal EPA’s new director for San Francisco-based Region 9 made an astonishing claim on KQED’s Forum program. Jared Blumenfeld said that more Californians die from air pollution than from car wrecks. When a caller asked him to back up the claim, Blumenfeld provided the following statistics:

– Traffic-related fatalities: 3,949 deaths per year from 3,535 fatal collisions (average for 1999-2008)
– Deaths associated with PM2.5 exposure above 5 ug/m3 in California : 18,000 deaths per year

Cars are doing double duty in these statistics, since passenger vehicles are a large source of air pollution. Over the decades the state has addressed this fact with landmark efforts to regulate vehicle emissions, in efforts initially to improve local air quality and more recently, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In a new study released this week by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC),  researchers looked at two state priorities: reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming and improving air quality to benefit public health, and evaluated the effectiveness of four potential transportation strategies to address both.

What they found is something that policymakers have known all along: there are no easy answers.  And everything involves a trade-off.

PPIC research fellow Louise Bedworth compared the cost, public health benefits, and GHG reduction potential for various alternative-fuel vehicles; battery-electrics, fuel cell, ethanol, and for reducing overall vehicle miles.  What she found is that transforming California’s vehicle fleet to battery-electric vehicles provides the greatest public health benefit, but that high costs and technological uncertainty make this option far from ideal.

On the flip side, said Bedsworth, while we have the technology for vehicles to run on corn-based ethanol, research shows that when indirect land-use costs are considered, corn-based biofuels provide no significant public health or climate change benefit.

But while the PPIC looks at local health and global warming effects separately, a new study out of Stanford has found that the two are directly linked. It’s well established that carbon dioxide contributes to global warming and that increased temperatures can exacerbate air pollution, but the new study shows that CO2 “domes” that develop over urban areas are, in fact, causing health problems for city-dwellers.  The study, conducted by civil and environmental engineering professor Mark Jacobsen, looked at models for the contiguous 48 states, for California and for the Los Angeles area. Results showed an increased death rate in all three areas compared to what the rate would be if no local carbon dioxide were being emitted.

Neither current regulations, nor the federal cap-and-trade bill passed by the House address the local effects of CO2 emissions on health.  Jacobsen says that this study provides evidence that they should.  He estimated an increase in premature mortality of 50-to-100 deaths per year from local CO2 emissions in California.

Jacobsen talks about his study in the video, below.

UC Scientist: Don’t Blame the Cows

Cody Sheehy is a rangeland ecologist and independent documentary producer.

87736822By Cody Sheehy

A couple of months ago, nearly lost amid the “Hopenhagen” hype,  the University of California, Davis (UCD) put out a press release with an admonition: “Don’t Blame Cows for Climate Change.” The release was a first look at some work conducted by UCD Associate Professor and Air Quality Specialist Frank Mitloehner. His study examines the greenhouse gases, or GHGs, emitted by the livestock sector.  As California’s air regulators turn more attention toward methane in particular, the report remains timely.

Mitloehner’s paper is entitled: “Clearing the Air: Livestock’s Contributions to Climate Change,” and was published in the peer-reviewed journal Advances in Agronomy. The paper is a synthesis of current science on the cattle-climate connection. Mitloehner has been updating some of that science in recent years.

In 2008, I stopped by his cluster of “bio bubbles;” airtight domes that serve as high-tech stables for cows. Inside, Mitloehner had set up simulated dairy operations, measuring GHGs emitted by the cows’ digestive process and decomposition of the manure. The numbers then in common use had been generated in the 1930s.

Research "bio-bubbles" at UC Davis. Photo: Cody Sheehy

Research "bio-bubbles" at UC Davis. Photo: Cody Sheehy

Mitloehner says cattle gets a bum rap in the media, and points to some examples, including a 2007 story in Time magazine, which included assertions like: “Which is responsible for more global warming: your BMW or your Big Mac? Believe it or not, it’s your Big Mac,” and “A 16-oz T-bone is like a hummer on a plate . . ”

In many cases, Mitloehner says the statements are crafted from an influnencial 2006 United Nations report entitled: “Livestock’s Long Shadow.”  According to the executive summary, “The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2 equivalent. This is a higher share than transport.”

But Mitloehner points to a quote deeper in the report:

“The respiration of livestock makes up only a very small part of the net release of carbon that can be attributed to the livestock sector. Much more is released indirectly by other channels, including: the burning of fossil fuel to produce mineral fertilizers used in feed production, methane release from the breakdown of fertilizers and from animal manure, land-use changes for feed production and for grazing, land degradation, fossil fuel use during feed and animal production and fossil fuel use in production and transport of processed and refrigerated animal products.”

Mitloehner cautions that the transportation number they use only accounts for tailpipe emissions. To be even-handed, he says, the authors should’ve incorporated emissions from the entire oil industry, including refinement of the oil and production of cars. In the UCD release, Mitloehner calls it a “lopsided ‘analysis” and “a classical apples-and-oranges analogy that truly confused the issue.”

Meanwhile, the Bio-bubbles have been generating some interesting numbers. Mitloehner found that the amount of methane the cows respire (belch) and how much is released in the breakdown of animal manure is quite different from what previous research had calculated. In combination, these two sources represent the most direct GHGs from the livestock industry, even if they’re not the largest GHG emitter associated with the industry. They’re also the most out of date.

Emission factors used in “Livestock’s Long Shadow” provide an estimate of methane respiration of about 86 million tonnes (metric tons) of methane (CH4) and 17.5 million tonnes of CH4 annually from manure decomposition. In the annex of the UN report, the authors write: “Obviously, great improvements to the estimates of emission factors could be made if more data on nutrition and production were available.” And so it is that inside his bio-bubbles, Mitloehner has come up with numbers much lower than those that represented the conventional wisdom since 1938.

All in all, we’ve got a discussion about comparing apples and oranges (more appealing than manure, granted) and some updated numbers that lower the emissions of livestock in one category. As with any scientific paper, there will probably be debate on both of these points and new ones, but let’s look at the broader consequences. Will industry look at this study and see an incentive to update and revise carbon emission numbers all across the board?

According to Emilo Laca, an agricultural ecologist at U. C. Davis, some of these questions will be fodder for policy debates that lie outside the realm of science. He says “The real question is, ‘How are we going to split this up?'” Laca used a hypothetical problem to explain: Let’s say that a certain livestock industry consumed 30% of soybean production as a food source. Livestock producers might concede that they should be accountable for 30% of carbon emissions related to soybeans. It makes sense. It’s what the numbers say. Others might counter that without this certain livestock industry, the soybean market would behave differently and some amount–lets guess 70%–wouldn’t need to be planted. Therefore, the livestock industry in this example is responsible for 70% of the emissions, not 30%. Science can support both interpretations. As Laca says, the decision is how to “split” things up. And ultimately, those decisions may fall to policy wonks.

Air Board: GHG Sniffers for Research, Not Enforcement

This tower in Walnut Grove is decked out with equipment to detect and measure atmospheric gases. Photo: Craig Miller

This tower in Walnut Grove is rigged with equipment to detect and measure atmospheric gases, monitored by NOAA. Photo: Craig Miller

A companion radio piece to this post aired on The California Report.

Scientists in California have begun setting up a statewide network of monitors to track California’s greenhouse gas emissions. Similar equipment has been in place for years as part of a continental network established by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). But officials at the California Air Resources Board (CARB) say this new system will be the first of its kind.

“The unique thing about this is that we’re actually looking at the local emissions, rather than the global average, says Jorn Herner, who heads the Greenhouse Gas Technology & Field Testing Section of CARB’s research arm. “Nobody has done that before.”

Scientists have been systematically tracking atmospheric CO2 on a broad scale since 1958. California’s network of GHG sniffers will be capable of tracking CO2, nitrous oxides and other known greenhouse gases, and will initially focus on methane.

But CARB officials say the network is not part of a “Big Brother” strategy for emissions compliance. “This is initially a research project,” said Herner. He says the new network will provide a “second data point” to augment the state’s current method of estimating GHG emissions. Currently California’s current climate law, AB-32, relies on a “bottom-up” system of estimating emissions from individual sources, then adding them up to arrive at total emissions for the state.

“The modeling won’t tell you each individual source but what you’d be able to do is develop a gridded inventory. So you’ll be able to say in this square mile of land over here, it looks like emissions are much higher than in this square mile next to it.”

The greenhouse gas analyzers are about the size of a desktop computer. Photo: Craig Miller

The greenhouse gas analyzers are about the size of a desktop computer. Photo: Craig Miller

The Air Board has purchased seven “next-generation” analyzers from Picarro Instruments in Sunnyvale. Five will go to fixed locations, such as a tower on Mt. Wilson, above the Los Angeles Basin. The two others will be on “mobile platforms;” electric vehicles that can roam the state taking ground-level readings. The units cost about $50,000 apiece but Picarro executives say they are self-adjusting and require far less human intervention than previous models, which will ultimately make them more cost-effective.

Picarro’s CEO, Michael Woelk, says a nationwide network of 500-to-700 detectors could yield a comprehensive GHG map of the US with resolution down to ten kilometers (a little more than six miles).

If California regulators are successful at putting in place a statewide or regional cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases, industrial emitters will have to pay fees for the carbon they pump into the air. Horn agrees that at that point, some kind of check on the current system of self-reporting will “probably” be needed, but, he says, “that’s not the goal of this monitoring network at this time.”

“The science is really young,” he explained. “We’re really just trying to find out the potential of what we can do with this network. How it’s used in the future is still up in the air.”

…so to speak.

This animation below shows the methane levels detected by a Picarro analyzer as it is driven from Livermore, CA, to Sacramento.

California’s Biggest Carbon Emitters

Carbon addiction is the same as any other in at least one respect: the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. For greenhouse gases, reducing emissions requires knowing what you’re putting out to begin with.

The Conoco Phillips refinery in Rodeo, north of Oakland, is a relatively small player at 1.9 million metric tons of CO2 per year. Photo: Craig Miller

The Conoco Phillips refinery in Rodeo is a relatively small player, as refineries go, at 1.9 million metric tons of CO2 per year. Photo: Craig Miller

It was toward this end that this week the California Air Resources Board released the first comprehensive data on large-scale industrial carbon emissions in the state. Not surprisingly, the top emitters tend to fall into two categories: power plants and oil refineries, with cement manufacturers not far behind.

Individually, major oil refineries have the largest carbon footprint. Two of Chevron’s refineries–in Richmond and El Segundo, BP’s Carson refinery and the Shell refinery in Martinez, all clocked in at more than three million metric tons (tonnes), CO2-equivalent, for 2008.

Use the interactive map below, prepared by Climate Watch intern David Ferry, to locate the largest industrial emitters and see how they sort out by industry (We’ve been having difficulty with embedded maps vanishing from the blog, so if you don’t see the map below, just click on the link to it).

(Click here for a larger map and a list of all the largest emitters.)

View KQED: California’s Biggest Industrial CO2 Emitters of 2008 in a larger map

Cumulatively, electric power generation is California’s biggest emitter, despite the virtual absence of coal-powered plants in the state. The ARB report lists nearly 20 utility or industrial cogeneration plants in the million-plus club. Several plants put out more than two million tonnes, including Dynegy’s gas-fired plant at Moss Landing, the LaPaloma McKittrick plant, Southern California Edison’s Mountainview plant in Redlands, and the L.A. Department of Water & Power’s Haynes Generating Plant.

The federal EPA considers anything above 25,000 tonnes to be a large emitter. But with carbon emissions, “large” is a relative concept. California imports power from other states and we can get a clue to “large” from the carbon output numbers on some of the mostly coal-fired plants feeding the California grid from states like Utah and Wyoming. Some fossil fuel plants in those states weigh in at a hefty six, ten–even 15 million metric tons. Los Angeles still depends on out-of-state fossil plants for roughly half of its electric power.

A few large cement plants are also in the million-plus column. To find out why, listen to Amy Standen’s report for Quest.

Of course, all this careful accounting leaves aside the elephant in the room: transportation, which has a bigger footprint in California than all electrical generation combined, including imports from other states–and is about equal to total industrial emissions.

The industrial tally released this week is subject to revision and will be used to set caps and allowances for the carbon trading (cap & trade) system mandated by the state’s 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act, commonly known as AB-32. There’s more on the emissions report and what it means in Paul Rogers’ story for the San Jose Mercury News.

California’s EPA Waiver: Does it Still Matter?

Deja vu all over again. Photo: Craig Miller

Deja vu all over again. Photo: Craig Miller

Today the federal Environmental Protection Agency formally granted the waiver that California has sought since 2002, allowing the state to set its own standards for greenhouse gas emissions from cars.

But wait–didn’t this already happen for practical purposes, last month? That’s when the Obama administration announced its intent to essentially put California’s proposed standards in place nationwide.

Well, yes–and no. Bernadette Del Chiaro, who represents the group Environment California, says that having the waiver is more than a legal technicality. She says it means that the state can get started sooner, cleaning up tailpipe emissions. Del Chiaro explains that: “California’s standards kick in now, through 2016. The federal program that President Obama has extended throughout the entire country, starts in 2013 (also through 2016).”

That gives the states, in effect, a three-year jump-start. In 2013, everybody should be on the same page.

California’s chief air regulator,  Mary Nichols said, in a written statement:
“The waiver affirms California’s authority to set the standards for the cleanest cars in the nation and recognizes the ability of forward-thinking states to continue to adopt them. Now we can begin to work with the manufacturers to make a new generation of cars that deliver all the comfort and power we have come to expect but with improved efficiency and far fewer greenhouse gas emissions. ”

Thirteen other states had also pursued the waiver and can now proceed with their own programs.

While automakers have long argued that the tighter regs will make cars more expensive, Environment California calculates that they’ll “save consumers $36 billion at the pump by 2020.” That projection assumed that gasoline would would average about $2 per gallon over that period. Higher pump prices (which seem a lot more likely) would in turn, increase expected savings, as the underlying premise is that we’ll be driving cars that get better gas mileage.

But of course those cars will cost more than the clunkers we’re wheeling around in now. The state Air Resources Board estimates that the clean car regulations will tack an average of $1,000 onto the price of a new car by 2016. Obviously that would offset some of the pump savings.

Transportation’s Tricky Carbon Footprint

Kristine Wong is our Climate Watch intern for the current term. She’s a student at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

interchange_0145_blogStudy comparing environmental impact of transportation modes yields surprising results

By Kristine Wong

You may not believe that during peak commute hours, Boston’s light rail system generates more greenhouse gases (GHGs) per person than a gas-powered, fully occupied SUV–or a commercial airliner filled to capacity, traveling the same distance.

Yet this is what UC Berkeley researchers found in a study released this week. Mikhail Chester and Arpad Horvath compared the environmental impacts of cars, buses, planes, and rail after adding up all the energy costs and emissions (both GHGs and local air pollutants) over their entire life cycle–not just by what came out of the tailpipe. The authors say no such comprehensive study had been done before.

The researchers developed a method that evaluated each transportation mode based on the energy inputs needed for production and maintenance of the vehicle itself. They also looked at the infrastructure for each mode, such as construction of supporting components like rail station platforms and airport runways, bus and rail station lighting and parking, and the source of  power for each mode (e.g. gasoline, jet fuel, diesel or electric–and the costs of distributing and producing these inputs).

In total, Chester and Horvath compared 79 components across all transportation modes. Within each they also selected a few variations to represent differences, depending on factors such as vehicle make and mileage, passenger occupancy, and size.

The results were both logical and surprising. Most of the energy consumed and GHG emissions from auto, bus and air travel originated from the operational period, not from the materials needed to produce and maintain the vehicles. Rail produced the greatest amount of GHGs compared to all other modes over their life cycle. But Chester and Horvath point out that there is a big difference in GHG emissions from light rail systems in the Bay Area versus, say, Boston due to the portion of fossil fuel-based electricity used. Boston’s fuel mix is 82% fossil, while the Bay Area’s BART system clocks in at just 49% fossil fuel–a major factor in efficiency and GHG emission rates.

Finally, passenger occupancy was a key factor influencing efficiency. Not surprisingly, each mode was most efficient when used to capacity. But the researchers caution that boosting passenger occupancy is not a magic bullet. They say minimizing fossil fuel inputs and adding pollution filters and controls would have a greater effect on efficiency.

Chester and Horvath say that they hope their results will provide a framework for more comprehensive analysis of the environmental impacts of transportation, and to assess the impact of hybrid or electric vehicles and alternative energy sources such as biofuels, solar power, and wind power, none of which were included in the study.

There are more details of the study posted at the websites for Green Car Congress and Sustainable Transportation.

New Tailpipe Regs are an “Alternate Reality”

Amy Standen specializes in science and environmental reporting for Quest. She’s among the guests today on KQED’s Forum program. Listen to the archived program here.

Hazy day in L.A. Photo: Craig Miller

Hazy day in L.A. Photo: Craig Miller

Yesterday afternoon, as I started working on my news spot about the new federal standard for tailpipe emissions, I dug up my notes from over a year ago, the last time I covered this story in any depth.

The contrast in tone between then and now amazed me. Back then, I was describing accusations of outright lying, government actions that California enviros called “completely illegal,” and California officials “sharpening their knives” as they marched into battle with EPA former Administrator Stephen Johnson. It was September, 2007, and Democratic lawmakers, led by Henry Waxman (D-CA), were accusing the White House of strong-arming the EPA into denying California its “waiver,” or permission to regulate auto tailpipe emissions. The mood between California environmentalists, many of the state’s elected officials, and the Bush administration couldn’t have been more hostile.

Today, it’s as if we’ve landed in an alternate reality.  Not only has California been given its more fuel-efficient cars, but those same laws are taking effect nationwide. The new rules actually exceed anything that California–traditionally the most ambitious state in the union, when it comes to greenhouse gas regulation–could have asked for.

Instead of knives being sharpened, California enviros are singing the praises of “an historic blueprint to carry out rigorous greenhouse gas emission standards,” to quote one email I received today. Another group told the New York Times: “This is the single biggest step the American government has ever taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions.” Compared to the fall of ’07–actually make that since ’05, when California first asked for the waiver and the EPA first started stalling–it’s like night and day.

Still, listening in to the White House background press briefing on Monday afternoon, you could hear the seeds of criticism taking root in a few reporters’ questions.

Sure, American automakers will be making more fuel-efficient cars, one reporter asked, but what is the White House doing to encourage consumers to buy them? (in addition to restricting tailpipe emissions, the new rules also substantially increase fuel efficiency standards for manufacturers’ fleets–SUVs and trucks will still be available; they’ll be more fuel efficient than before, but less efficient than smaller cars.) The question takes on new relevance as the federal government finds itself a major stockholder in auto companies.

President Obama says the new regs will have the equivalent impact of taking 177 million cars off the road.

Low-Carbon Fuels in Your Future

After years of study and a day of marathon testimony in Sacramento, state regulators have adopted the world’s first low-carbon standard (LCFS) for transportation fuels. Only one member of the California Air Resources Board, John Telles, voted against adoption.

During nearly six hours of testimony by almost 100 speakers, businesses lined up both for and against the new rules. As Marjorie Sun reported for us this week, some claimed that calculations for the carbon footprints of different fuels–especially ethanol–were not even-handed. Speaker after speaker assailed the LCFS as being the product of “incomplete analysis” or just bad math (public testimony begins about an hour into the webcast).

But Daniel Sperling, a UC Davis professor and member of the Air Board, calls it “government at its best.”

“There’s been a huge amount of effort,” he said, ” in working with the oil companies, working with the electricity companies, working with the environmental community, working with the biofuels companies, to try to get this really done right.”

Though numerous speakers challenged the view that it was done right, both Sperling and Air Board head Mary Nichols seemed to leave the door open to additional tweakage of the regulations. “In the end, it’s a science-based policy,” said Sterling. “There are a lot of pieces of this that we’re not certain exactly the best way to do it but we’ve got the framework of a really outstanding policy and an important policy. And we’ve made the commitment to work with all the different stakeholders in refining it, to make sure that it really works best.”

Small-business and environmental justice groups locked arms to decry the cost of the new rules. Some cited a report from Sacramento-based Sierra Research estimating $3.8 billion in increased fuel costs by 2020, if the LCFS takes effect.

An “expert working group” is due to report back on January 1, with possible suggestions for fine-tuning the plan.

Board member Ron Roberts summed up the proposed regulation by paraphrasing Winston Churchill: “It may not be the end or even the beginning of the end, but it’s the end of the start,” said Roberts (falling somewhat short of Churchillian eloquence but point taken).

The new rules are designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions from transportation 10 percent by 20-20.  Sperling is now headed to Capitol Hill, to testify before Congress on national legislation. California’s process is being closely watched in Washington, where pending federal carbon legislation is widely seen to be modeled after California’s plan.

Green Response to EPA’s CO2 Finding: “Duh.”

Reactions are coming in to The EPA’s long-awaited finding today that carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases pose a threat to “the public health and welfare.” One California environmental group actually used the word “Duh” in its official response.

After two years of study, prodded by a Supreme Court decision, the federal agency finds that CO2, methane, oxides of nitrogen and two other industrial gases should be regulated as pollutants under the Clean Air Act. A sampling of reactions:

Environment California:

“‘Duh’ may not be a scientific term, but it applies here.  Today, common sense prevailed over pressure from Big Oil and other big polluters to deny the obvious in order to maintain the status quo on energy.  EPA has embraced the basic facts on global warming that scientists around the world have acknowledged for years.”

Governor Schwarzenegger:

“While the federal government was asleep at the wheel for years, we in California have known greenhouse gases are a threat to our health and to our environment – that’s why we have taken such aggressive action to reduce harmful emissions and move toward a greener economy. Two years after the Supreme Court declared greenhouse gas emissions a pollutant, it’s promising to see the new administration in Washington showing signs that it will take an aggressive leadership role in fighting climate change that will lead to reduced emissions, thousands of new green jobs and a healthier future for our children and our planet.”

Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma–boldface is his):

“Today’s action by the EPA is the beginning of a regulatory barrage that will destroy jobs, raise energy prices for consumers, and undermine America’s global competitiveness,” Senator Inhofe said. “It now appears EPA’s regulatory reach will find its way into schools, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and just about any activity that meets minimum thresholds in the Clean Air Act.  Rep. John Dingell was right: the endangerment finding will produce a ‘glorious mess.’

The Wilderness Society:

“This finding was expected, but long overdue because the previous administration respected neither the science nor the law. The consequence of this finding is that EPA will now begin the task of reducing these emissions through the permitting process provided by the Clean Air Act. One way or the other, the clear and present danger of endlessly dumping pollutants into the atmosphere must be confronted.  We will either find a way to build a future for our children based on clean energy and sustainable jobs, or we will face a very unsentimental foe unarmed – a climate that makes life unsustainable. The choice is clear, and the new Administration is following the wisest path forward.”

California moved to regulate carbon emissions three years ago, when state lawmakers passed the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, also known as AB 32. But many specific regulations required by that law have yet to take effect.