In a groundbreaking announcement this week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared that carbon dioxide and five other heat-trapping gasses are pollutants that endanger public health and welfare, stating that the science supporting the findings was “compelling and overwhelming.”

Amongst other threats, the agency identified effects of rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and the other gases that include increased drought, more heavy downpours and flooding, more frequent and intense heat waves and wildfires, a steeper than anticipated rise in sea levels, more intense storms, and harm to water resources, agriculture, wildlife and ecosystems – findings that further highlight the urgent need for adaptation planning to build resilience and adaptive capacity for communities who will be, and are already, feeling the effects of a shifting climate.

EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson said: “This finding confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations. Fortunately, it follows President Obama’s call for a low-carbon economy and strong leadership in Congress on clean energy and climate legislation.”

ACT’s first set of policy findings – on biodiversity – includes recommendations for building resilience against climate change impacts for ecosystems. ACT’s second set of policy findings, on Extreme Weather Events, is due for release late spring 2009.