An investigation into the use of science by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in relation to climate change
Climate change is now the greatest environmental problem confronting the earth ecosystem and human beings. It is largely caused by unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions all over the world from industry and many human activities. It can be prevented from becoming worse if some decisive measures and actions are in place (Total Environment Centre, 2012). As one of the world environmental advocacy bodies, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dedicates to protect human health and the environment. The advocay body is established for the purpose of reducing environmental risks to Americans, making efforts to incorporate U.S. policies in environment into actions on the basis of the most reliable scientific information (EPA, 2012). To systematically address the impact of climate change, the adaptation needs through managing climate threat, and the exact decision-making actions, science plays an important role (Laguna, 2012). For the advocacy organisations, science can also support their values and interests. In this case, an investigation into the use of science by the EPA concerning climate change is to be done in this report.
2. EPA’s advocacy positions
2.1 EPA’s contribution to debate on climate change
About debate on climate change, EPA released news to support the government policies and at the same time advocate its positions. For instance, a carbon footprint reduction program named “Carbon yeti” successfully increased people’s awareness of climate change. This received EPA’s supports and achieved an EPA Clean Air Excellence Award (Kaufman, 2011). In addition, EPA released a report called EPA Endangerment Finding which was made after a review of bountiful public comments and research results on climate change. The findings indicated that greenhouse gas from human activity is the main cause of climate change. Simultaneously, greenhouse gas pollution can also become a risk to public health and public welfare (Environmental Defense Fund, 2012). The EPA Endangerment Finding was later commented by the Office of Inspector General (OIG), but the OIG report was considered to have mischaracterised EPA’s findings. EPA then sent a response to Inspector General’s report to claim the validity of its scientific findings (EPA, 2011). EPA’s attempt to state its advocacy position emphasized its use of science is significant to climate change studies. What’s more, in EPA’s FY 2013 budget proposal, EPA has shown its ongoing efforts in supporting the national fuel economy and constructing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Standards Program. The budget for this program includes a $10 millon increase in the EPA’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory for certification and compliance testing programs and in evaluating new biofuels technologies. All EPA 2013 budget endorses American president Obama’s vision of an American that develops sustainably (Milbourn, 2012). EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson made a statement when she left Cabinet after State of Union that the need to address climate change was quite urgent. She supported Obama’s positive attitude towards human health and environment protection (Johnson, 2012).
2.2 EPA values and interests
As aforementioned, the mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment. To be more specific, the values and interests of EPA are different in nature but consistent in EPA’s claim to manage climate change. Interests represent EPA’s desire or goals to achieve something especially in a conflict situation (Maiese, 2012). It is notable that there exist conflict between human health and energy use: on one hand, people want to live healthily; on the other hand, human activities at present inevitably contribute to the production of greenhouse gas so as to prompt climate change. Under such circumstance, EPA positions...
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