Utah delivers vote of no confidence for 'climate alarmists' http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/12/utah-climate-alarmists The US's most Republican state passes bill disputing science of climate change, claiming emissions are 'essentially harmless' …. The measure, which passed by 56-17, has no legal force … But it does offer a view of state politicians' concerns in Utah which is a major oil and coal producing state. The original version of the bill dismissed climate science as a "well organised and ongoing effort to manipulate and incorporate "tricks" related to global temperature data in order to produce a global warming outcome". It accused those seeking action on climate change of riding a "gravy train" and their efforts would "ultimately lock billions of human beings into long-term poverty".original version of the bill The representative Mike Noel said environmentalists were part of a vast conspiracy to destroy the American way of life and control world population through forced sterilisation and abortion. By the time the final version of the bill came to a vote, cooler heats apparently prevailed. The bill dropped the word "conspiracy", and described climate science as "questionable" rather than "flawed".final version of the bill However, it insisted – against all evidence – that the hockey stick graph of changing temperatures was discredited. It also called on the federal government's Environmental Protection Agency to order an immediate halt in its moves to regulate greenhouse gas emissions "until a full and independent investigation of climate data and global warming science can be substantiated". As Noel explained: "Sometimes... we need to have the courage to do nothing."
Putting into Context: Utah Discusses Cutting 12th Grade Utah state Senator Chris Buttars says he believes he has discovered the cure for senioritis: cut 12th grade altogether. Pitched as a cost- cutting measure, his proposal to eliminate the final year of high school—or at the very least make it optional—has surprisingly gained some traction in the state, which is struggling with a $700 million budget shortfall. “The bottom line is saving taxpayer dollars while improving options for students,” said state Sen. Howard A. Stephenson, a Republican and co-chairman of the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee. “The more options we give to students to accelerate, the more beneficial it is to students and taxpayers.”
Climate change in the Congress Status of legislation: House of Representatives final bill: Waxman- Markey On the Table in the Senate: Kerry-Boxer Cantwell Collins (bi-partisan) Graham, Lieberman, Kerry (bi-partisan) Prognosis
Legislation is only the beginning: Rulemakings Required by Waxman-Markey Environmental Protection Agency - 59 Dept. of Energy - 37 Housing & Urban Development - 16 Fed’l Energy Regulatory Commission -7 Dept. Agriculture - 6 HHS 5 Appraisal Subcommittee of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council – 2 Commodity Futures Trading Comm’n -2 Department of Commerce - 2 Department of Interior - 1 Department of Labor -1 State Department - 1 Department of Transportation - 1 Federal Trade Commission - 1 Gov’t Accounting Office - 1 Office of Management & Budget - 1 Federal banking agencies - 1 Financial institutions regulatory agencies -1
Green Stimulus Legislation Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (October 2008) extended existing incentives for wind, solar and other renewables; offered significant financial incentives for carbon capture and storage projects. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (February 2009). At least $112 billion for renewable energy, efficiency, smart grid, “green collar” job training, etc.
What else is going on? “The choice we face is not between saving our environment and saving our economy – it’s a choice between prosperity and decline. The nation that leads the world in creating new sources of clean energy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy.” President Barack Obama
Executive branch tools Executive orders: issued by President; control actions of the federal government; only viable through this administration, unless subsequent administrations agree and continue Acting under current legal authority –[Usually] Rulemakings –More durable than executive orders; –Process (rulemaking process; longevity; can they be revoked or changed)?
Executive Order #13154 Federal agencies must set or achieve emission reduction and energy and environmental benchmarks by 2015, 2020, and 2030. Set GHG emissions reductions targets for 2020 by early January 2010. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) must to set federal government target within 120 days Required reductions in vehicle fleet petroleum use Required increases in water and energy efficiency, recycling and waste diversion rates Why is this important? –Includes Department of Defense, largest single energy user »hundreds of thousands of buildings and structures (offices, installations, military housing, etc); untold number of vehicles of various kinds –Affects federal government buying practices
Government Improvements Can Make a Big Difference Federal govn’t is single largest energy consumer in the US economy Spends more than 24.5 billion on electricity and fuel in 2008 Collective target is projected to achieve $8-11 billion in avoided energy costs
Significance of Executive Order and Department of Defense
Completed rulemakings: EPA Endangerment Finding (effective 1/14/2010) Clean Air Act Section 202(a): six greenhouse gases [CO 2, methane,nitrous oxide & HFCs] from new motor vehicles and motor vehicle engines cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare. Challenged in court & in Congress Greenhouse Gas reporting rule (9/22/2009): Suppliers of fossil fuels or industrial greenhouse gases, manufacturers of vehicles and engines, and facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more per year of GHG (CO 2, methane, nitrous oxide, HFC, PF, SF 6 & other fluorinated gases) must submit annual reports to EPA. first reports due on March 31, 2011.
More Completed Rulemakings California Motor Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Waiver Request The Clean Air Act allows California to enact for stricter motor vehicle air pollution standards than the federal government, if EPA approves a waiver. California’s December 2005 waiver request was denied by EPA on March 6, 2008. California asked for reconsideration January 2009. After public hearing and comment, EPA granted a waiver on June 30, 2009. Renewable Fuel Standard Program The Energy Policy Act of 2005 established a national Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS1). The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 mandated revisions (including new specific yearly volume standards for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel in transportation fuel; and new definitions and criteria for renewable fuels and the feedstocks used to produce them. The regulatory requirements for RFS will apply to domestic and foreign producers and importers of renewable fuel. The revised annual standard is known as RFS2. The comment period for this rule closed on September 25, 2009. The rule was finalized on February 3, 2010.
EPA PROPOSED RULES, COMMENT PERIOD CLOSED Regulation of Large Sources Under Revised PSD Threshold If finalized, large facilities emitting over 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases annually must obtain Clean Air Act permits (New Source Review (NSR) and title V operating permits programs for new or existing facilities) that demonstrate usage of best practices and technologies to minimize emissions. The proposed thresholds would cover approximately 70% of national GHG emissions from stationary sources. Six GHGs: CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, HFC, PFC, and sulfur hexafluoride. Final rule expected soon (comment period closed on December 28, 2009). Ethanol Content of Gasoline EPA is considering a Clean Air Act waiver request to allow gasoline blends of up to 15 percent by volume ethanol. The maximum allowable blend is currently 10 percent ethanol. On November 30, 2009, EPA sent a letter to the applicant notifying it that it was likely that the waiver would be granted, but that more testing of the 15 percent blend was required. EPA estimated that a final decision could be reached in June. EPA sent a letter
More Proposed Rules Underground Injection Control Program for Geologic Sequestration of CO2 In July 2008, EPA published the Federal Requirements Under the Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program for Carbon Dioxide Geologic Sequestration Wells Proposed Rule for public review and comment. The comment period for this rule closed on December 24, 2008. However, EPA published a Notice of Data Availability and Request for Comment on August 31, 2009. The comment period for this Notice closed on October 15, 2009. Sec. 202 GHG Regulation of Cars and Light Duty Trucks Joint EPA (Clean Air Act)/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Energy Policy and Conservation Act) proposal for GHG emission standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for passenger cars, light-duty trucks & medium-duty passenger vehicles, model years 2012 through 2016. Comment period closed on 11/27/2009. Reconsideration of Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permitting Guidance EPA sought public comments on its reconsideration of a 12/18/2008 (Bush Administration) interpretive memorandum concerning when the Clean Air Act's PSD program would apply to a pollutant such as carbon dioxide. The comment period closed 12/7/2009.
Other executive branch activities: Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ): require carbon/greenhouse gases be considered in environmental impact assessments Federal Communications Commission: hearings on smart- grid Energy efficiency rules for consumer products and commercial equipment (microwave ovens, dishwashers, vending machines, washing machines, lighting fixtures). Securities and Exchange Commission: Guidance on corporate disclosure related to climate change Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage to develop within 180 days a proposed plan to overcome the barriers to the widespread, cost-effective deployment of CCS within 10 years, with a goal of bringing 5 to 10 commercial demonstration projects online by 2016
Note: Manitoba is a partner in the WCI & MGGRA. Kansas is a partner in the MGGRA and observer of the WCI. Ontario is a partner in the WCI and observer of the MGGRA. R EGIONAL G REENHOUSE G AS I NITIATIVES