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Climate change: Copenhagen, EPA, and 'Climategate' converge

The EPA makes declaration on danger of greenhouse gas emissions, as Climate Conference opens and ‘Climategate’ scandal triggers skepticism.

Copenhagen_conference
Copenhagen_conference
As the Copenhagen Climate Conference 2009 opened today in Denmark, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made good on its promise to declare that greenhouse gases endanger human health

According to an article from The Houston Chronicle, the announcement, “signaled the administration was prepared to push ahead for significant controls in the U.S. if Congress doesn't act first on its own.” The ruling by the EPA, which was widely expected after it issued a preliminary finding earlier this year, will allow the agency to regulate planet-warming gases even without legislation in the U.S. Congress.

As CBS Broadcasting, Inc. reports,  the action by the EPA clearly was timed to add to the momentum toward some sort of agreement on climate change at the Copenhagen conference and try to push Congress to approve climate legislation.

CBS reports Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., lead author of a climate bill before the Senate, as saying, "This is a clear message to Copenhagen of the Obama administration's commitments to address global climate change. The message to Congress is crystal clear: get moving."

A perusal of online articles reveals mixed reactions to the ruling. While environmentalists welcomed the announcement, saying it will provide President Obama with more momentum and credibility going into the Climate Conference, greenhouse gas emitters have a different take. “…business groups said regulating carbon emissions through the EPA under existing clean air law would put new economic burdens on manufacturers, cost jobs, and drive up energy prices,” reported The Houston Chronicle.

The article then quotes Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as saying, "It will choke off growth by adding new mandates to virtually every major construction and renovation project.”

‘Climategate’ continues to brew

Meanwhile, the United Nations has said that it will review claims made that U.K. scientists tweaked climate change reports in order to boost evidence suggesting it is a man-made phenomenon. The claims were made after a series of e-mails were leaked on the Internet – a controversy now being referred to as “Climategate.”

In mid-November, U.S. Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma said that he’d begun an investigation into what he alleges to be the manipulation of global warming research. Inohofe also said he wanted to look into whether the conclusions of an international panel on global warming — and the policies based on it — were distorted, reported The New York Times.

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