US scientists argue that greenhouse gases should be legally eliminated. Greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions must be legally controlled in the United States and phased out under Toxic Substances Control Actaccording to a group of scientists and former government officials, in a new approach to the climate crisis.

“Using the TSCA would be one small step [the US president] Joe BidenJames Hansen, a former NASA scientist, is a member of the group along with Don Viviani, a 35-year-old retired veteran of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Their legal submission, filed with the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, states that greenhouse gas emissions pose a risk to the climate and must be regulated as such under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), a law passed in 1976 as part of a suite of environmental measures. regulations in the United States.

The TSCA Act, amended in 2016, allows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to place surveillance requirements on companies and impose strict controls on certain substances. It has been used to limit chemicals including asbestos and lead in paint and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

The law covers substances that pose an “unreasonable risk of harm to health or the environment.” The petitioners believe that it can be interpreted to allow the phasing out of greenhouse gas emissions.

Viviani said: “TSCA are like sapphire slippers [in The Wizard of Oz] – He can do just about anything. It can allow you to tax carbon, and it can deal with the legacy of carbon emissions. It has an almost global scope, as the US is the largest market in the world and can apply these measures to imports as well.”

He and other petitioners have offered “mountain value” for scientific studies showing the effect of greenhouse gases on weather, leading to wildfires, heat waves, extreme droughts, rising sea levels and increasingly acidifying oceans.

The United States has a recent history of attempts to regulate carbon dioxide under current environmental legislation, with Congress often proving reluctant to consider passing laws to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

The former president, Barack Obama, who was unable to get his climate legislation through the Republican-controlled Congress, Try to use the Clean Air Act – Another of the environmental achievements of the seventies – to regulating carbon dioxide emissions of power plants, but under Donald Trump the attempt was undone.

The US Supreme Court, which has a strong Republican bias, is reconsidering Whether the Environmental Protection Agency should have carbon regulatory powers.

Viviani also has I tried a similar method before, filed a legal petition in 2015 to control carbon dioxide under the TSCA to address ocean acidification. That failed, but he believes that amending the legislation in 2016 provides a new basis for making the argument again.

The new attempt was likely to succeed, Hansen said, adding, “TSCA is different. It’s better than the Clean Air Act (CAA). The CAA It was a potential vehicle for higher carbon fees, because the Massachusetts Supreme Court v. EPA ruled that carbon dioxide was a pollutant. However, there is a very strong suspicion that if the Civil Aviation Act were used in this way, the current conservative Supreme Court would reverse this ruling. They can’t do that easily with the TSCA, which has been passed by Congress and reaffirmed [in 2016] Bipartisan support.

Along with Viviani and Hansen, other petitioners include: Lise van Susteren, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at George Washington University. John Birx, Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Chemistry at the University of Colorado Boulder; Richard Head of the Institute for Climate Accountability; Climate Protection and Restoration Initiative.

Some climate advocates have criticized Biden for not taking action on the climate crisis, despite the fact that he made it a priority in the early days of his presidency. The war in Ukraine and rising energy prices prompted the White House to emphasize new gas extraction as an alternative to Russian supplies.

“President Biden is a compassionate man,” Viviani said. “We hope he is also a brave man. We hope he uses both his compassion and his courage to pick up this tool that he has at TSCA, and use it to give hope for a solution to millions of young people, and indeed all of us.”

Under the TSCA, the EPA has 90 days to consider and act upon the legal petition. The Guardian has contacted the Environmental Protection Agency for comment.