Media Advisory: EPA Claims Carbon Dioxide Threatens Human Health

Published December 7, 2009

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today formally determined that human emissions of carbon dioxide pose a threat to human health and the environment.

That finding runs counter to scientific evidence and inappropriately defers to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has been discredited by the “Climategate” scandal and numerous scientific critiques.

Heartland Institute scholars can be quoted on the EPA’s finding as follows or contacted directly for additional information.


“Atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperatures are still quite low in comparison to historical levels. The moderate global warming of the twentieth century was accompanied by declining global drought, an increase in global soil moisture, expanding forests, retreating deserts, record crop output, and a steady increase in human life spans. There is no reason to believe any of this will change in the foreseeable future.

“An ongoing modest increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperatures will continue to increase global crop production and reduce cold-related deaths. Scientists have comprehensively documented that cold-related deaths, from direct and indirect causes, far exceed heat-related deaths. EPA’s determination that human carbon dioxide emissions pose a threat to human health inexplicably fails to consider these facts.

“The determination of whether to impose carbon dioxide emission restrictions on the American people is best made by our elected representatives, not unaccountable bureaucrats who stand to gain money and power through the regulatory process.”
James M. Taylor, J.D.
Senior Fellow for Environment Policy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]


“Today’s endangerment finding by President Barack Obama’s EPA is flagrantly illegal. This finding, that emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases endanger human health or welfare, is based entirely on UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change data, which we know to be fraudulent, exaggerated, skewed, or spun. This was known even before Climategate, as The Heartland Institute and many others pointed out in public comments when the endangerment finding was proposed.

“Climategate confirms what many scientists already knew. EPA is undeterred, however. Rulemakings like this one are supposed to be based on unbiased science, the best available. Accuracy is mandatory.

“Legal challenges against this finding are likely–and they are likely to succeed.”
Maureen Martin, J.D.
Senior Fellow for Legal Affairs
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]


“EPA’s finding was quite predictable, as it allows the agency to assume power over all life that emits carbon dioxide, which includes every person and every mammal on Earth. Power is what government seeks at all cost.

“We are able to inhabit the Earth only because of the abundance of carbon dioxide, which is to plant matter what oxygen is to humans. Atmospheric carbon dioxide, which is now 380 parts per million, is at relatively low historical levels and has been up to 20 times greater in the past. At those higher levels, the Earth had far more lush vegetation than it does today. Thus the extra 100 parts per million of carbon dioxide that man has added to the atmosphere in the past 60 years has actually helped the Earth’s vegetation to grow more prolific, including the biomass in the rain forests along the equator.

“Carbon dioxide does play a role in our wondrous greenhouse effect, which keeps the planet warm enough to be habitable, but that role is very small. Water vapor contributes 95 percent of the Earth’s total greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and other trace gases contribute the remaining 5 percent. Of this 5 percent, 4.72 percentage points is contributed by ocean biological activity, volcanoes, decaying plants, and animal activity. Only .28 percent of the total comes from human additions such as automobiles, power plants, and factories.

“For this minuscule contribution we are being told to pay hundreds of billions–and possibly trillions–of dollars for our government to regulate our lives even more aggressively.”
Jay Lehr, Ph.D.
Science Director
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]


For further information from The Heartland Institute, call 312/377-4000 and ask for Tammy Nash (ext. 121), media specialist, or Dan Miller (ext. 130), publisher.