Reporting from Copenhagen — The Obama administration has finalized a declaration that greenhouse gases endanger public health, a senior administration official said today, opening the door to broad new regulations that could affect the largest segments of the American economy.
Under the so-called "endangerment finding," the Environmental Protection Agency asserts the power to regulate carbon dioxide and other gases that scientists blame for global warming. That authority comes from the Clean Air Act and has been recognized in a Supreme Court decision.
Now that it is final, the finding will allow the EPA to proceed with tough new vehicle emissions standards and a proposal to regulate factory and power-plant emissions.
The move figures to strengthen America's bargaining hand in Copenhagen, where 190 nations kicked off a two-week summit today in hopes of reaching a new international climate accord.