EPA: Global Warming Is Endangering Americans


by Patriot Daily
Published on Reuters

EPA administrator Stephen Johnson informed the Bush Administration last December that there is "compelling and robust" evidence that our recent temperature increases are caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions which endanger the American people:

WASHINGTON — - The head of the Environmental Protection Agency told the Bush administration in December that high levels of man-made heat-trapping gases are causing global warming and endanger the American people, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said Thursday after she reviewed the EPA finding, which has not been made public.

The White House declined to open the email with the warning contained in a 38-page document because:

The document is important because the Supreme Court ruled last year that if the EPA administrator finds greenhouse gases endanger the public, then the government must regulate them — a move the administration opposes.
Last week, the EPA issued a 283-page report which details how global warming endangers Americans. The EPA Inspector General issued another report that the Bush Administration's voluntary programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions "have limited potential."

The EPA report on global warming impacts explains how climate change endangers us all:

1. Temperature: Heat waves will increase while cold days and nights will become less frequent. The EPA reports a predicted increase in temperature-related morbidity and mortality, which will affect everyone. During 1979-2002, 4,780 people died from heatwaves, although the report acknowledges that the figures are underestimated because the death certificate may not always list heat as the cause of death. Moreover, heat waves may cause death by exacerbating chronic health conditions, such as cardiovascular, renal, respiratory diseases, diabetes, and nervous system disorders.

While everyone will be affected by temperature extremes, certain subpopulations face an added risk: Children, older adults, impoverished populations, people with chronic medical conditions or compromised immune systems, people with mobility and cognitive constraints, outdoor workers, city dwellers, the less educated, people without access to air conditioning and recent migrants and immigrants.

One factor in heat-related mortality is age. The number of Americans over age 65 is projected to reach 13% by 2010 and 20% by 2030 or over 50 million people. The EPA reports that older Americans are more "vulnerable" to higher temperatures, which means that "heat-related mortality could increase."

City dwellers will be impacted by the urban heat island effect which will increase city temperatures by 2-10 degrees more than suburban and rural areas due to "absorption of heat by dark paved surfaces and buildings, lack of vegetation and trees, heat emitted from buildings, vehicles, and air conditioners, and reduced air flow around buildings."

The plan to reduce heat-mortalities includes "heatwave early warning systems, urban design to reduce heat loads, and enhanced services during heatwaves."

2. Extreme Climate Events: Our weather will include extreme climate events, including hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, blizzards, windstorms, droughts, wildfires, heat waves, and heavy downpours. Climate change may increase hurricane wind speeds, rainfall intensity and storm surge levels while sea levels will rise, causing coastal and riverine floods.

The gravity of this report is illustrated by the EPA's acknowledgment of the role of climate change in increased frequency and intensity of hurricanes, indicating that, while further studies can be productive, it is time to stop debating causation and move toward taking action.

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