It is pretty cool that you don’t have to be official press event on Dec 7, 2009 to see news events like EPA’s GHG announcement. I could watch a live feed through MSNBC.
The official press announcement makes warnings to health and environment, but in the report is impact to water and power infrastructure both of which you need for data centers.
I was able to get to the official climate change page http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment.html
Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under the Clean Air Act
You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, available as a free download, to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more about PDF, and for a link to the free Acrobat Reader.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson press briefing – Live Streaming available through www.epa.gov.
On December 7, 2009, the Administrator signed two distinct findings regarding greenhouse gases under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act:
- Endangerment Finding: The Administrator finds that the current and projected concentrations of the six key well-mixed greenhouse gases--carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)--in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.
- Cause or Contribute Finding: The Administrator finds that the combined emissions of these well-mixed greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engines contribute to the greenhouse gas pollution which threatens public health and welfare.
These findings do not themselves impose any requirements on industry or other entities. However, this action is a prerequisite to finalizing the EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas emission standards for light-duty vehicles, which were jointly proposed by EPA and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Safety Administration on September 15, 2009.
Going through the findings document what I found very interesting is the water section. So, even though everybody thinks this is about GHG. The potential effect on the water supply is huge. Section 11 of the report covers water. Section 11(d)
11(d) Implications for Water Uses
There are many competing water uses in the United States that will be adversely impacted by climate change impacts to water supply and quality. Furthermore, the past century is no longer a reasonable guide to the future for water management (Karl et al., 2009). The IPCC reviewed a number of studies describing the impacts of climate change on water uses in the United States that showed:
Decreased water supply and lower water levels are likely to exacerbate challenges relating to navigation in the United States (Field et al., 2007). Some studies have found that low-flow conditions may restrict ship loading in shallow ports and harbors (Kundzewicz et al., 2007). However, navigational benefits from climate change exist as well. For example, the navigation season for the North Sea Route is projected to increase from the current 20 to 30 days per year to 90 to 100 days by 2080 (ACIA, 2004 and references therein).
Climate change impacts to water supply and quality will affect agricultural practices, including the increase of irrigation demand in dry regions and the aggravation of non-point source water pollution problems in areas susceptible to intense rainfall events and flooding (Field et al., 2007). For more information on climate change impacts to agriculture, see Section 9.
The U.S. energy sector, which relies heavily on water for generation (hydropower) and cooling capacity, will be adversely impacted by changes to water supply and quality in reservoirs and other water bodies (Wilbanks et al., 2007). For more information on climate change impacts to the energy sector, see Section 13.
Climate-induced environmental changes (e.g., loss of glaciers, reduced river discharge in someregions, reduced snow fall in winter) will affect park tourism, winter sport activities, inland water sports (e.g., fishing, rafting, boating), and other recreational uses dependent upon precipitation (Field et al., 2007). While the North American tourism industry acknowledges the important influence of climate, its impacts have not been analyzed comprehensively.
Ecological uses of water could be adversely impacted by climate change. Temperature increases and changed precipitation patterns alter flow and flow timing. These changes will threaten aquatic ecosystems (Kundzewicz et. al., 2007). For more information, on climate change impacts on ecosystems and wildlife, see Section 14.
By changing the existing patterns of precipitation and runoff, climate change will further stress existing water disputes across the United States. Disputes currently exist in the Klamath River, Sacramento Delta, Colorado River, Great Lakes region, and Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River system (Karl et al., 2009).
Energy is a section of itself in section 13. It is good to see the EPA put water before Energy infrastructure.
13(b) Energy Production
Climate change could affect U.S. energy production and supply a) if extreme weather events become more intense, b) where regions dependent on water supplies for hydropower and/or thermal power plant cooling face reductions or increases in water supplies, c) where changed conditions affect facility siting decisions, and d) where climatic conditions change (positively or negatively) for biomass, wind power, or solar energy production (Wilbanks et al., 2007; CCSP 2007a).
Significant uncertainty exists about the potential impacts of climate change on energy production and distribution, in part because the timing and magnitude of climate impacts are uncertain. Nonetheless, every existing source of energy in the United States has some vulnerability to climate variability. Renewable energy sources tend to be more sensitive to climate variables, but fossil energy production can also be adversely effected by air and water temperatures, and the thermoelectric cooling process that is critical to maintaining high electrical generation efficiencies also applies to nuclear energy. In addition, extreme weather events have adverse effects on energy production, distribution, and fuel transportation
The official press release is here.
EPA: Greenhouse Gases Threaten Public Health and the Environment / Science overwhelmingly shows greenhouse gas concentrations at unprecedented levels due to human activity
Release date: 12/07/2009
Contact Information: Cathy Milbourn, Milbourn.email@example.com, 202-564-7849, 202-564-4355; En español: Lina Younes, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-564-9924, 202-564-4355
EPA: Greenhouse Gases Threaten Public Health and the Environment
Science overwhelmingly shows greenhouse gas concentrations at unprecedented levels due to human activity
WASHINGTON – After a thorough examination of the scientific evidence and careful consideration of public comments, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten the public health and welfare of the American people. EPA also finds that GHG emissions from on-road vehicles contribute to that threat.
The EPA provided sound snippets as well.
Speaker: Lisa P. Jackson
Sound bite 1 (MP3, 0:11 secs, 360 KB)
Transcript: Today, EPA announced that greenhouse gases threaten the health and welfare of the American people. We also found that greenhouse gas emissions from on-road vehicles contribute to that threat.
Sound bite 2 (MP3, 0:15 secs, 500 KB)
Transcript: The accumulation of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can lead to hotter, longer heat waves that threaten the health of the sick, the poor, the elderly - that can increase ground-level ozone pollution linked to asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
Sound bite 3 (MP3, 0:15 secs, 500 KB)
Transcript: Today’s announcement, on its own, does not impose any new requirements on industry. But, today’s announcement is the prerequisite for strong new emissions standards for cars and trucks: the ones the president announced last spring.
Sound bite 4 (MP3, 0:22 secs, 700 KB)
Transcript: Today’s finding is based on decades of research by hundreds of researchers. The vast body of evidence not only remains unassailable, it’s grown stronger, and it points to one conclusion: greenhouse gases from human activity are increasing at unprecedented rates and are adversely affecting our environment and threatening our health.