The following is an excerpt from Heck Associates July 1, 2012 Newsletter. Werner Heck Associates is long time GHG consultant and auditor we have worked with on GHG V&V Body Accreditation audits.
A federal appeals court on June 26 upheld a finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that heat-trapping gases from industry and vehicles endanger public health, dealing a decisive blow to companies and states that had sued to block agency rules. A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia declared that the agency was “unambiguously correct” that the Clean Air Act requires the federal government to impose limits once it has determined that emissions are causing harm. The judges unanimously dismissed arguments from industry that the science of global warming was not well supported and that the agency had based its judgment on unreliable studies. “This is how science works,” they wrote. “The E.P.A. is not required to reprove the existence of the atom every time it approaches a scientific question.” In addition to upholding the E.P.A.’s so-called endangerment finding, the court let stand related rules setting limits on greenhouse gas emissions from cars and limiting emissions from stationary sources. Opponents had also challenged the agency’s timetable for enforcement and its rules singling out big polluters, but the court said the plaintiffs lacked the standing to do so.
During the week of June 25, record temperatures and wildfires have scorched the western United States. The National Climate Data Center reports that 41 heat records have been broken or tied since June 24, mostly in Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska, which is quite unusual for this time of year. Since June 23, a wildfire near Colorado Springs has burned over 18,000 acres, and 34 other large fires are still burning in the country. Scientists taking part in a conference call on June 21 arranged by the nonprofit science outreach group Climate Communication said that while they could not apportion blame to a specific factor, there was agreement that this week’s events fit into a pattern of extreme weather events and catastrophic fires that climate scientists predict will only worsen in decades to come. “What we’re seeing is a window into what global warming really looks like,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a geoscientist at Princeton University. “It looks like heat. It looks like fires. It looks like this type of environmental disaster.”