Environment

On November 2nd, Californians will vote “yes” or “no” on Proposition 23.  Prop 23 seeks to suspend AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 through, among other things, increased use of renewable energy and pollution controls until state unemployment (currently at 12.4%) is sustained at 5.5% for 4 consecutive quarters.  That has only happened 3 times in the last 34 years.

No sooner was the Renewable Electricity Promotion Act of 2010, sponsored by Sens. Bingaman (D- NM) and Brownback (R- KS), introduced in the Senate last week than it was dismissed as being unlikely to proceed by one of its key sponsors.

China is now the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) which contribute to climate change.  But, China has refused to enter into international agreements capping its GHGs - basically because it doesn’t want to be bound by any agreement that potentially limits the expansion of its economy.  However, the nation is taking steps to limit those emissions by shutting down polluting plants and installing cleaner equipment.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will regulate greenhouse gas emissions for the first time.  Power plants and other large-scale facilities must use the latest technologies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to meet the EPA’s air quality standards.  States are required to modify their permitting rules or the EPA will step in and issue permits under the new rule.  Meanwhile, Congress prefers legislative action rather than command-and-control regulation.

The federal government’s moratorium on deepwater offshore drilling—which was expected to continue through November 30th in order for the government to devise new safety regulations and environmental response measures—has faced a stumbling block in court today as the federal judge overseeing the case permitted the challenge to proceed.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will begin regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions solely for the first time on July 1, 2011 under authority of the Clean Air Act.

Today, Sean Slone and I release our latest report, Green Transportation.  The report highlights several initiatives states are taking to green-up their transportation system, including developing alternative fuels and electric vehicle infrastructure, as well as adopting policies that seek to reduce the overall number of vehicles on the road.

Green transportation - transportation that produces less greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline—is needed to mitigate climate change and reduce dependence on foreign oil. State and local governments are updating vehicle fleets to greener forms of transportation.

As I previously predicted, climate change legislation is dead in 2010.   Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that there will be no bill this session that would cap emissions of greenhouse gases.

China officially passes the United States as the world’s largest energy consumer, according to the International Energy Agency, although the US is still the world’s leader in energy consumed per capita by a considerable margin.  However, that per capita gap is expected to decrease as the Chinese economy becomes wealthier and consumers purchase more energy intensive products.

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