Friday, April 17, 2009

EPA Takes a Stand

The Environmental Protection Agency took a stand today on greenhouse gases. According to their news release, "the Environmental Protection Agency issued a proposed finding Friday that greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare."

They specifically studied six gases - carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride - and found that they are all at unprecendeted levels as a result of humans.

I personally was happy to see methane on their list since that is the basis of my children's novel Earth Rescue. Set fifty years in the future, it follows a twelve-year-old boy named Jax struggling to find his place in a world where it is no longer safe or legal to go outside. In his world, climate change led to the melting of the Arctic icecap which uncovered ancient plant material that had been buried under the ice for millions of years. These plants released so much methane gas that the air and water became too toxic to breathe or drink.

As with other government regulations (including declarations of endangered species), this finding now goes through a six-month public comment period before any actions will be proposed or taken. At least it's a step!

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