EPA Makes Its Case on Climate Change
Source: New York Times, Elisabeth Rosenthal (4/28/10)
"Polls show that tackling climate change is a low priority for the American public."
In the last few days, the Environmental Protection Agency seems to have initiated a public campaign to make clear where it, and the science, stand, stating that the rise in greenhouse gases is a serious problem to be confronted.
On Monday night, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson made the point as a guest on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart." And on Tuesday, the agency released "Climate Change Indicators in the United States" report to help Americans make sense of climate change data.
That report begins: "Over the last several decades, evidence of human influences on climate change has become increasingly clear and compelling. There is indisputable evidence that human activities such as electricity production and transportation are adding to the concentrations of greenhouse gases that are already naturally present in the atmosphere."
The agency lays out 24 possible indicators of climate change—from U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to tropical cyclone activity to bird wintering ranges—while tracing how they've shifted in recent decades. It lays out what is known and what remains uncertain.
Some of the conclusions are already well publicized: "In the U.S., greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activities increased by 14% from 1990 to 2008."
The report is a valuable resource for voters who are trying to make sense of climate change or how they feel about national environment and energy policy.
And just as the climate skeptics pored over a landmark 2007 report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in search of possible errors, I'm sure that they'll be going over the EPA's offering with a very fine-tooth comb.