French citizens protest against global emissions on the eve of the climate talks in Copenhagen. Those talks took off today.  (Source: Novinite)

Along with the kickoff of the talks, the EPA announced the results of its "endangerment findings". The agency says that greenhouse gases aren't just a threat to polar bears -- they're a threat to man as well. The agency will aggressively pursue regulation, bypassing similar legislation remains stuck in Congress.  (Source: PBS)
The U.S. government embraces its first round of emissions restrictions amid skepticism

For better or worse the UN-sponsored climate change talks kicked off today in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Over the course of the conference, scientists will present evidence that unchecked man-made climate change is likely to lead to drought, flood, storms and rising seas.  For host-nation Denmark, the issue hits particularly close to home, as the country is low lying (the average height is only 31 meters above sea level) and borders the ocean.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen describes, "For the next two weeks, Copenhagen will be Hopenhagen. By the end, we must be able to deliver back to the world what was granted us here today: hope for a better future."

The conference opened with some of the 110 world leaders set to attend the conference watching a sci-fi themed video depicting children facing a world of tomorrow in which violent storms and bleak deserts had ravaged mankind.  Remarks one of the terrified youngsters at the film's end, "Please help save the world."

The climate summit looks to limit global warming to 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).  The conference's timing isn't exactly perfect -- it comes a mere weeks after the leak of emails from the CRU, Britain's largest climate research center, revealed that many warming studies' results may have been falsified or intentionally altered.

One good piece of news for the conference was U.S. President Obama's decision to change his attendance from December 9 (Wednesday) to December 18, allowing him to attend the critical final day of negotiations.  States the White House, "Based on his conversations with other leaders and the progress that has already been made to give momentum to negotiations, the president believes that continued U.S. leadership can be most productive through his participation at the end of the Copenhagen conference on Dec. 18 rather than on Dec. 9."

Amid the ongoing climate talks, the Environmental Protection Agency moved today to force Congress's hand, pushing through of climate change mandates that have been stalled in Congress, following bipartisan debate. Describes EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, "The decision made today shows that this Administration will not ignore science or the law any longer.  The United States government is in the arena on clean energy and climate solutions."

The EPA announced the results of its "endangerment finding" on carbon emissions this Monday afternoon at around 1:15 P.M.  The results validate a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that global warming is covered under the Clean Air Act.  The EPA will begin cracking down on emitters this month, forcing companies to begin tracking their emissions.  By next year they will have to be publishing this data publically, and by 2011 they will be forced to adopt the "best available technology".  The EPA ruling could also effect fuel economy standards on new cars in the future.

Ms. Jackson dismissed the criticisms surrounding the leaked emails, dubbed "Climategate".  She argued that evidence of manmade warming has been demonstrated conclusively by "decades of sound, peer-reviewed scientific data".

Carl Pope of the Sierra Club cheered the news, stating, "As the major global warming summit begins this week in Copenhagen, this announcement couldn’t come at a more important time. The Obama administration has followed through on its pledge to act and is demonstrating that the U.S. has turned away from eight years of inaction under the Bush administration."

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