Policy Brief: Should EPA Reverse Its Endangerment Finding on Greenhouse Gases?

Published July 1, 2019

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a naturally occurring gas that constitutes only four molecules of every 10,000 in Earth’s atmosphere. The Obama administration classified CO2 as a pollutant to be regulated under the Clean Air Act. Since then, regulations that harm the U.S. economy have been legally justified by referring to this “Endangerment Finding.”

The Obama administration pushed through the Endangerment Finding without following the agency’s normal procedures, relying on research that did not meet its own data-quality standards and disregarding extensive commentary opposing its decision by distinguished experts as well as its own staff. All administrations prior to Obama’s refused to follow this path, and for good reason.

The Endangerment Finding is vulnerable on purely scientific grounds. Although its supporters claim to have a “mountain” of research in its defense, upon closer scrutiny, their case is nothing more than a molehill of real science and data, on top of which is piled reams of speculation based on invalidated computer models and circumstantial evidence. This is widely known in the scientific community and understood by the Trump administration.

The grounds for reversing the Endangerment Finding are robust, and this action is long overdue.