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Climate Change

Additional scientific data bolster US EPA endangerment finding on greenhouse gas emissions, study says

by Cheryl Hogue
December 13, 2018 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 96, Issue 49


Evidence continues to pile up supporting a pivotal 2009 scientific determination that forms the legal basis for the US Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, researchers say (Science, 2018, DOI: 10.1126/science.aat5982). In that decision, dubbed the endangerment finding, the EPA concluded that the buildup of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride poses a danger to public health and welfare of current and future generations via climate change. A team of 16 researchers from 15 institutions, led by physicist Philip B. Duffy of the Woods Hole Research Center, finds that scientific support for that determination has strengthened in the past nine years. The study says evidence has expanded to include climate change–related impacts that the EPA did not consider in 2009: ocean acidification, violence and social instability, national security, and economic well-being. Some conservatives in the US are calling for the Trump administration to overturn the endangerment finding, though EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler has said the decision is settled law. Duffy says, “There’s no scientific basis for questioning the endangerment finding.”


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