The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions seeks to inform the design and implementation of federal policies that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Drawing from its extensive peer-reviewed published works, in-house policy analyses, and tracking of current legislative proposals, the Center provides research, analysis, and recommendations to policymakers in Congress and the Executive Branch. Read More
Statement by Eileen Claussen, President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change
January 15, 2009
USCAP has spent the last 2 years and literally thousands of hours crafting the Blueprint for Legislative Action and I believe the stars are aligned as never before for swift action. We must not squander this opportunity. We can create an environmentally effective and economically viable climate policy for this country – in fact, we must.
SPEECH BY EILEEN CLAUSSEN, PRESIDENT, PEW CENTER ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
AMERICAN COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS CLIMATE COMMITMENT SUMMIT
June 12, 2007
Thank you. I am very happy to be here and to welcome many of you to Washington. I don’t know if you saw it, but there was a recent report stating that Washington and other eastern U.S. cities will reach summer temperatures of 110 degrees over the next 50 years. In a related story, Washington is considering a new license plate slogan: Perspiration Without Representation.
And the interesting thing is we’re already seeing evidence of a changing climate in this part of the country. More and more species from the deeper South are making their presence known here in Washington, like crape myrtles and camellias, and a telegenic former Republican Senator from Tennessee. Think it’s a coincidence that our last two presidents are from Arkansas and Texas? They’re moving north, I tell you.
It’s gotten so bad that many people actually welcome a new Cold War with Russia. They think it will keep a lid on global warming. And now a congressman has been caught with money in his freezer. What better way to keep cool during a hot Washington summer than to slip an ice-cold hundred-dollar-bill into your pocket?
All joking aside, it is an honor to be here at your first Leadership Summit. I am delighted to see so many of the nation’s leading colleges and universities make the commitment that your institutions are making—you have set out to be a part of the solution to climate change, not a part of the problem. And I am certain that your leadership on this issue will inspire others to do their part as well.
Today, I want to use my remarks to talk about leadership and climate change. In my view, leaders are those who help us understand, in the words of the English biologist Thomas Huxley, that “the great end of life is not knowledge but action.” They help us see when the time has come to do something based on what we know about a challenge or about an opportunity that lies before us. Yes, aspiring to a fuller understanding of our world is to be admired. It helps to focus our attention, and to pinpoint our actions. But waiting for perfect knowledge is cowardice, not leadership.
Moving from knowledge to action. From what we know to what we must do. This is what I want to talk with you about today. And I want to start with a brief summary of what we know about the scope of the climate crisis and how to solve it.
Let’s start with the science. Most of you are familiar with the facts by now. The most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected that global temperatures will increase between 3.2 and 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. Sea levels will rise by as much as a foot to a foot-and-a-half. Many species will be lost. In addition, there is a 90-percent or greater chance that the world will see more hot extremes, heat waves and heavy precipitation events. And it is likely we will see more droughts as well.The science, in other words, is clear: if left unabated, climate change will have tremendous negative consequences for our country and our world.
The science also tells us there is no longer any doubt about what is causing this problem: greenhouse gas emissions from human sources—and, more specifically, from three key sectors: electricity; transportation, primarily automobiles; and buildings. Consider this: China is building a new coal-fired power plant every week to 10 days. And it’s not just China and other developing countries. Emissions have been growing in the U.S. as well—as of 2006, they were up nearly 18 percent compared to 1990.
This is what we know about the science, and it seems we are learning more every day. And we also know something else. We know there are solutions—real technologies that can deliver real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. We know, for example, that we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions from cars. We know there are clean energy sources. We know there are ways to burn coal more efficiently, and ways to potentially store coal-related carbon emissions underground. And we know we can increase efficiency in the building sector.
But still there’s the same problem: we haven’t yet put all this knowledge we have to good enough use. And that, I believe, is where policy comes in. We need strong policies at the national and international levels, policies that make it absolutely clear that continuing with the status quo will have both an environmental and an economic cost.
In weighing what types of policies we need, I believe it’s important to look back at where we’ve been. Because in the same way that we know from the science that we need to take strong action to protect the climate, we know from history what policies will and won’t work.
The global effort to try and address this problem kicked off in 1992, you will recall, when another President Bush was in the White House, and when the nations of the world gathered in Rio de Janeiro for what was billed as the Earth Summit. This was the event where more than 150 countries signed an agreement called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The UNFCCC, as it is known, sets an ambitious long-term objective: to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would – and I quote – “prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” This is a goal that the United States, and virtually every other nation, has embraced.
As a first step to achieving this goal, industrialized countries agreed to a voluntary emissions target: they aimed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000. But before long, it became clear that the targets would not be met and that voluntary commitments could not deliver what was needed. So the United States and other countries began to negotiate a new agreement, one with binding targets, and they agreed at the outset that these new commitments would extend only to the industrialized countries, which so far have contributed the most to the problem.
Remember: this was more than 10 years ago, and already the world, including the United States, had recognized some very important things about responding to climate change. First, we recognized that voluntary action was not sufficient. Second, we recognized that we needed a global framework with binding commitments. And third, we recognized that, consistent with the Framework Convention, the developed world would have to take the lead.
Well, how quickly some of us forget.
Five years after the Rio summit, there was another international gathering on this topic in Kyoto, Japan. This was where the United States and other countries signed the new agreement known as the Kyoto Protocol. And what the Protocol did was to require developed countries to reduce or limit their emissions of greenhouse gases in relation to 1990 levels, with different countries agreeing to different targets. The agreement also included a number of features advocated by the United States to ensure countries a high degree of flexibility as they worked to achieve their targets. They could make actual emission reductions at home, buy emission credits from others, and use “sinks” such as farms and forests to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
This was another important principle that would serve us well to remember today: the need to combine binding commitments with flexible ways of achieving them.
During the negotiations in Kyoto, Vice President Al Gore flew to the ancient Japanese capital to help hammer out the deal. And the American negotiators ultimately agreed to a binding 7-percent reduction in U.S. emissions below 1990 levels by 2012.
But there was a problem: It was 1997, and U.S. emissions had already risen over 1990 levels by more than 8 percent. In other words, we had pledged to reduce our emissions by nearly 15 percent and we didn’t have any kind of program in place to do this, nor did we have the political will to put such a program into place.
Another problem was that the United States Senate, under the Byrd-Hagel resolution, had already voted unanimously—unanimously—that the United States should not sign any climate treaty that–quote–“would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States.” The resolution also put the Senate on record against requiring the United States and other developed countries to reduce emissions without also mandating—quote—“specific scheduled commitments … for Developing Country Parties within the same compliance period.”
So the fact of the matter is that the Kyoto Protocol had virtually no proponents on Capitol Hill. And the Clinton administration did next to nothing to try to bring about the ratification of this treaty that its people had made such a big deal of signing. We clearly were not prepared to deliver at home what we were promising abroad. Not a sterling example of leadership, I must say.
And then, in 2000, American voters elected another President Bush, and within months of entering office, his administration made a unilateral decision to reject the Kyoto Protocol—not to modify it, not to explain the changed circumstances, not to suggest an alternative, but to reject it out of hand. And in taking this step, the White House raised the ire of other nations that had persevered through years of difficult negotiations and that had acceded to U.S. demands early on that the treaty include emissions trading and other business-friendly mechanisms.
It took the Bush administration fully six years to put forward any kind of alternative to Kyoto, as it did in the run-up to the G8 meeting last week. And, adding insult to injury, the President’s proposal completely disregarded much of what we thought we had learned about how to spur effective global action on this issue—most importantly, the need for binding commitments that will truly change the world’s emissions growth path.
That, my friends, is not leadership. For a glimmer of real leadership, you have to look to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, where Congress is devoting an unprecedented amount of energy to developing legislation that would (finally) put the United States on track to addressing this issue in a serious way.
Already this year, there have been more than 70 hearings on the climate issue on Capitol Hill—serious, substantive hearings convened to help members of Congress draft mandatory climate legislation. In the U.S. Senate alone, there are five bills proposing some form of cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions, and a total of 80 bills that deal in some way with the climate change issue. And the leadership of the House has made it clear that they want to pass legislation as soon as possible.
I have given entire speeches this year on what’s happening on this issue on Capitol Hill, and I don’t want to do that here. But suffice it to say that Congress is taking this issue very seriously, and we may, in fact, see real climate legislation by 2008, and if not by then, almost certainly by 2010.
But, for real action on this issue, real effort to reduce emissions, you need to travel outside of Washington.
You can find leadership in Bentonville, Arkansas, for example, where executives at Wal-Mart have launched a program to reduce their company’s greenhouse gas emissions. And what is extraordinary about Wal-Mart’s entree to the climate arena is the magnitude of the company’s reach. Wal-Mart has pledged to work to reduce its emissions, both internally and externally, and the company’s external reach encompasses more than 40,000 suppliers. The ability of Wal-Mart to transform the debate and reduce energy use and emissions cannot be matched by most countries.
Among the company’s goals: reducing energy use in Wal-Mart stores by 30 percent, with a corporate goal of eventually being fueled 100 percent by renewable energy. Wal-Mart also is working to reduce the carbon footprint of its vehicle fleets. Wal-Mart operates 3,300 trucks. In 2005, these vehicles drove 455 million miles to make 900,000 deliveries to 6,500 stores. Wal-Mart has set a goal of doubling the fuel efficiency of its new heavy-duty trucks from 6.5 to 13 miles per gallon by 2015, thereby keeping some 26 billion pounds of carbon dioxide out of the air between now and 2020.
You can also find leadership on climate change in Fairfield, Connecticut, home to a little company called GE. As part of its Ecomagination initiative, GE has committed to doubling its investment in environmental technologies to $1.5 billion by 2010. This is the equivalent of starting a new Fortune 250 company focused exclusively on clean technology.
And you can find leadership in Sacramento, California. Not content with establishing an ambitious set of greenhouse gas emission targets—such as reaching 1990 levels by 2020—California lawmakers have gone the next step and passed legislation, with real enforcement, to give the targets the force of law.
Of course, California is not the only state to be exercising a leadership role on this issue. For example, 24 states, including large emitters like Texas, have required that electric utilities generate a specified amount of electricity from renewable sources. Twenty-eight states have climate action plans. And many states are working across their borders to reduce emissions in a cooperative way.
California and five other western states, for example, have agreed on a regional target for greenhouse gas emissions. By August 2008, the states will establish a market-based system to enable companies and industries to meet the target as cost-effectively as possible. A similar effort including 10 Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states is aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in the region.
And then there are 522 mayors representing 65 million Americans who are aiming to reach the U.S. Kyoto target of a 7 percent reduction below 1990 levels by 2012.
That is leadership. And we can also find leadership on the campuses of the colleges and universities that all of you represent. There are wonderful stories on the Presidents Climate Commitment website about colleges and universities reducing their emissions in real, tangible ways.
However, despite all the great things you are doing on your campuses, and despite the leadership of the states, cities and businesses I have mentioned, U.S. emissions still are trending up not down. Voluntary action is great, but it is not enough.
We need mandatory policies that will light a fire under what’s happening now to address this issue, policies that will take us to another level of action and commitment. In the view of the Pew Center, what we need more than anything else is an economy-wide cap-and-trade system. This is when you place a cap on emissions and allow companies to achieve their targets either by reducing emissions outright or by purchasing emission credits from others who may be able to do it more cheaply.
Cap-and-trade, in fact, is the focal point of an effort involving the Pew Center and other NGOs, along with a number of leading companies. The group, which now numbers 27, is known as the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP for short), and we have issued a cap-and-trade proposal with specific targets and timetables—a real plan of action to slow, stop and reverse U.S. emissions. In addition to cap and trade, the USCAP group embraced an array of other policies aimed at building a low-carbon energy economy.Another example of leadership.
Another example of people and organizations making the shift from knowledge to action on this issue.
But whether we are talking about USCAP, or about what is happening in the states—or, indeed, about the things you are doing on your college and university campuses—the leadership ranks on this issue remain far too thin. And this is where you come into the picture in your role as educators.
Responding to global climate change will be a decades-long challenge. We know a great deal about how to get started solving this problem right now, as I have said. But we still need to learn more. We need to learn more about how to develop and deploy new, low-carbon technologies around the world. We need to learn more about what types of policies will drive technology development. And yes, we need to learn more about the science of climate change so we can refine our understanding of exactly what’s happening, and what it will take to avert and adapt to this crisis.
Your institutions will be the places where much of this learning takes place. America’s colleges and universities are the incubators for the next generation to lead the climate fight. It is crucial that you lead by example through efforts to limit your own emissions. And it is crucial that you educate your students about what you are doing—if only to show them that progress is possible. But even more crucial is that you make sure this next generation is able to gain the knowledge it needs to act on an issue that will have a profound impact on their lives and on the world they inherit from us.
Climate change is an issue that touches on science, policy, technology, ethics, international relations and other fields of study. That means encouraging a multidisciplinary approach to the study of climate change. It means enabling students and professors to work across the disciplines so they can see how all the pieces fit together. It means creating new majors, new academic programs that enable students and professors alike to give this topic the attention it deserves. It means following the words of the Presidents Climate Commitment that all of you have signed by—I quote—“integrating sustainability into the curriculum.”
And it also means looking at what you can do outside the classroom to educate your students and others—by facilitating and encouraging dialogues on this issue on your campuses.
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire,” said the poet William Butler Yeats. We need to light a fire in this next generation so they can see the urgency of this issue, explore solutions, speak out for action, and act.
Today, I am pleased that the climate debate has moved from focusing on what we know to what we must do. Now, the challenge is to build a common understanding among the young and not-so-young alike …. a common knowledge of what it is going to take to address this enormous problem … and a shared sense of responsibility on the part of today’s—and tomorrow’s—leaders.
Meeting this challenge will take perseverance, and yes, a certain amount of perspiration as well. But I believe we are up to the task. Thank you very much.
President Bush Announces New Climate Proposal
Statement by Eileen Claussen, President of Pew Center on Global Climate Change
May 31, 2007
Six years after rejecting the Kyoto Protocol, President Bush has finally offered an alternative proposal, but it falls well short of what's needed. Agreement among the major emitting countries on a long-term global goal would be helpful. But far more critical is getting binding commitments on near- and mid-term action to reduce emissions. From all appearances, what the president is proposing is a strictly voluntary approach that won't deliver real results. We've tried the voluntary approach, both in the United States and internationally, and it doesn't work. The bottom line is we need binding commitments from all the major economies. The president isn't offering commitments and isn't asking for commitments, and without them we won't get the job done.
Members of the 110th Congress (2007-2008) are introducing legislation related to global climate change at a faster pace than any previous Congress. As of July 2008, lawmakers had introduced more than 235 bills, resolutions, and amendments specifically addressing global climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—compared with the 106 pieces of relevant legislation the previous Congress submitted during its entire two-year (2005-2006) term.
Summaries of significant climate activity related to the 110th Congress are available here.
- Carbon Capture and Storage Early Deployment Act, H.R. 6258
The Center's Letter of Support and Bill Summary
- Resources for the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act
- Economy-Wide Cap & Trade Proposals in the 110th Congress
- Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act Passes Committee
- Summary of the GAO's Report on Climate Change and Insurance Risk
The following list of bills, resolutions, and amendments is updated on a regular basis, and divided into the following categories:
- GHG Emission Limits
- GHG Emission Reporting
- Carbon Tax
- International Negotiations
- National Security & Climate Change
- Climate-Friendly Technology
- Carbon Sequestration
- Tax Incentives
- Transportation Emissions
- Climate Science Research
- Energy Policy
This unprecedented Congressional attention to climate change reflects a profound shift in the long debate over global warming.
Overview of Bills
The year 2007 began with a change in leadership in both chambers of Congress, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and key committee chairs Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) declaring their intent to place climate change at the top of the Congressional agenda.
In March, the House of Representatives voted 269-150 to form a new Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, chaired by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), with Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) as the ranking member.
On December 5th, the Senate Environment and Public Work Committee voted 11-8 to favorably report S.2191, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act. This is the first GHG cap-and-trade bill that has ever been voted out of a Congressional committee, and S.2191 is slated to be taken up on the Senate floor some time in 2008. Click here for a summary of the full committee markup proceedings and vote.
The 110th Congress is prolific not only in the quantity of climate change-related bills introduced, but in the breadth and variety of subjects those bills address. The bills of the 110th Congress include a record number of proposed cap-and-trade systems, resolutions calling for vigorous U.S. participation in international climate change negotiations, and funding for climate science and climate-friendly technologies research such as carbon capture and sequestration. Additionally, mutual benefits can be found in scores of bills that address energy efficiency, energy security, new technology research, agriculture, resource management, national security, and wildlife preservation.
As the scientific evidence of climate change has mounted, so has congressional activity. The number of climate change-related legislative proposals increased from seven introduced in the 105th Congress (1997-1998) to 25 in the 106th Congress (1999-2000), to over 80 in the 107th Congress (2001-2002) to 96 in the 108th Congress (2003-2004). During the 109th Congress (2005-2006), 106 bills, resolutions, and amendments specifically addressing global climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were introduced. In addition, provisions of the enacted Energy Policy Act of 2005, though they do not refer to climate change or GHG emissions specifically, were relevant to climate change.
- GHG Emission Limits
- GHG Emission Reporting
- International Negotiations
- Transportation Emissions
- Climate Science Research
- Climate-Friendly Technology
- Agriculture & Carbon Sequestration
- Nuclear Power
Climate change measures are increasingly being offered by members of both the Democratic and Republican Parties (to which nearly all members of Congress belong). During debate over the Energy Policy Act of 2005, in particular, the Senate voted on four climate change amendments, two of which passed – including a nonbinding resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that human-caused GHGs are causing temperatures to rise, and that Congress should enact a national mandatory, market-based program to slow, stop, and reverse the growth of these emissions – and one of which was enacted into law. The growing interest suggests that a bipartisan consensus is developing around the need to address climate change. Addressing climate change will ultimately require a comprehensive set of approaches, including a mandatory program to reduce GHG emissions (such as a program to cap GHG emissions and allow trading of emission credits), and efficiency standards to promote the use of efficient products and technologies (See The Agenda for Climate Action).
Congressional Testimony of Eileen Claussen: Regarding U.S. Re-Engagement in the Global Effort to Fight Climate Change
HON. EILEEN CLAUSSEN, PRESIDENT
PEW CENTER ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
At the House of Representatives,
Committee on Foreign Affairs
May 15, 2007
Regarding U.S. Re-Engagement in the Global Effort to Fight Climate Change
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify on U.S. Re-Engagement in the Global Effort to Fight Climate Change. My name is Eileen Claussen, and I am the President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.
The Pew Center on Global Climate Change is a non-profit, non-partisan and independent organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. Forty-three major companies in the Pew Center’s Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC), most included in the Fortune 500, work with the Center to educate the public on the risks, challenges and solutions to climate change.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to commend you and the members of this committee for convening this hearing today on U.S. re-engagement in the global effort to fight climate change. As one who has worked for many years to advance efforts on this and other critical environmental challenges, it is very gratifying to me that the U.S. Congress is at long last engaged in a genuine debate on how – not if, but how – the United States should address global climate change. So far, this debate has focused primarily on questions of domestic climate policy. This is a critical first step. But truly meeting the challenge of climate change will require global solutions as well, and these will be possible, I believe, only with strong leadership from the United States. By broadening the scope of debate here in Washington, and by focusing attention on the international dimension of climate change, this hearing will help set the stage for constructive U.S. engagement and for an effective multilateral response to global climate change.
In my testimony today, I would like to outline the following: the key objectives that a post-2012 climate framework must meet; the form that a post-2012 framework should take; the steps the United States must take at home and internationally to ensure that such a framework is established; and how the United States can best address the questions of competitiveness and developing country participation. In the course of my testimony, I will address each of the questions the Committee has posed.
The Pew Center’s perspective on the future international framework reflects not only our own detailed analysis but also the collective views of an impressive group of policymakers and stakeholders from around the world. As part of our effort to help build consensus on these issues, we convened the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico, a group of 25 from government, business, and civil society in 15 key countries, all participating in their personal capacities. The group included senior policymakers from Britain, Germany, China, India, Japan, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and the United States. It also included senior executives from companies in several key sectors, including Alcoa, BP, DuPont, Exelon, Eskom (the largest electric utility in Africa), Rio Tinto, and Toyota. The group’s report was released in late 2005 at an event here in Congress hosted by Senators Biden and Lugar.
Despite a very diverse range of interests and perspectives, the Pocantico group succeeded in reaching consensus on a broad vision of a post-2012 climate framework. This vision begins with a set of key objectives that a post-2012 framework must meet. I would like to emphasize the two most critical objectives, which speak directly to the Committee’s question about the need for and nature of developing country participation.
First, the post-2012 framework must engage all of the world’s major economies. Twenty-five countries account for about 85 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. These same countries also account for about 70 percent of global population and 85 percent of global GDP. The participation of all the major economies is critical, first and foremost, from an environmental perspective, because all must take sustained action if we are to achieve the steep reductions in emissions needed in the coming decades to avert dangerous climate change. But the participation of all major economies is critical from a political perspective as well. For reasons of competitiveness, none of these countries will be willing to undertake a sustained and ambitious effort against climate change without confidence that the others are contributing their fair share. We must agree to proceed together.
At the same time, we must recognize the tremendous diversity among the major economies. This group includes industrialized countries, developing countries, and economies in transition. Their per capita emissions range by a factor of 14 and their per capita incomes by a factor of 18. This leads directly to the second objective identified in our Pocantico dialogue: The post-2012 framework must provide flexibility for different national strategies and circumstances. The kinds of policies that effectively address climate change in ways consistent with other national priorities will vary from country to country. We must allow different pathways for different countries. An economy-wide emissions target may work for some but it will not work for others. If it is to achieve broad participation, the future framework must allow for variation both in the nature of commitments taken by countries and in the timeframes within which these commitments must be fulfilled.
With these key objectives in mind, the Pocantico group thenconsidered one of the other questions the Committee has asked: What could be the key elements of a post-2012 framework? The group recommended several policy approaches.
The first of these is targets and trading. This is the approach employed in the Kyoto Protocol, as well as in the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative being undertaken by ten states in the northeastern United States. There are very sound reasons why U.S. negotiators insisted so strongly on a market-based architecture for the Kyoto Protocol – and why many of the major climate bills now before Congress adopt the same approach. Emission targets provide a reasonable degree of environmental certainty, while emissions trading harnesses market forces to deliver those reductions at the lowest possible cost.
While targets and trading should remain a core element of the international effort, we must recognize that China, India, and other developing countries are highly unlikely to accept binding economy-wide emission limits any time in the foreseeable future. In their view, binding targets, by holding them to specific emission levels regardless of the economic consequences, would amount to a cap on economic growth. Economy-wide targets also may be technically impractical for them: to accept a binding target, a country must be able to reliably quantify its current emissions and project its future emissions, a capacity that at present few if any developing countries have.
A future framework, therefore, must allow for other approaches as well. A second potential element identified in the Pocantico dialogue is policy-based commitments. Under this approach, countries would commit to undertake national policies that will moderate or reduce their emissions without being bound to an economy-wide emissions limit. This is a more bottom-up approach, allowing countries to put forward commitments tailored to their specific circumstances and consistent with their core economic or development objectives. A country like China, for instance, could commit to strengthen its existing energy efficiency targets, renewable energy goals, and auto fuel economy standards. Tropical forest countries could commit to reduce deforestation. For this to work, the commitments would need to be credible and binding, with mechanisms to ensure close monitoring and compliance. Developed countries also may need to provide incentives for developing countries to adopt and implement stronger policies. One option is policy-based emissions crediting, similar to the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, granting countries tradable emission credits for meeting or exceeding their policy commitments.
A third potential element is sectoral agreements, in which governments commit to a set of targets, standards, or other measures to reduce emissions from a given sector, rather than economy-wide. In energy-intensive industries whose goods trade globally, which are the sectors most vulnerable to potential competitiveness impacts from carbon constraints, sectoral agreements can help resolve such concerns by ensuring a more level playing field. Such approaches are being explored by global industry groups in both the aluminum and cement sectors. We believe it is also worth exploring sectoral approaches in other sectors such as power and transportation where competitiveness is less of an issue but where large-scale emission reduction efforts are most urgent.
A fourth potential element is technology cooperation. This could include two types of agreements. The first would provide for joint research and development of “breakthrough” technologies with long investment horizons. Such agreements could build on the Asia Pacific Partnership and other technology initiatives but commit governments to the higher levels of funding needed to accelerate and better coordinate critical research and development. The second type of agreement could help to provide equitable access to both existing and new technologies by addressing finance, international property rights, and other issues that presently impede the flow of low-carbon technologies to developing countries.
The four elements I have outlined thus far fall under the heading of mitigation. A fifth critical element is adaptation. We need stronger adaptation efforts within the international climate framework but extending well beyond it as well. The top priority within the framework should be addressing the urgent needs of those countries most vulnerable to climate change. But the broader goal must be to spur comprehensive efforts to reduce climate vulnerability generally by integrating adaptation across the full range of development activities.
The Pocantico group also considered another question raised by the Committee: whether a new climate framework must establish a specific goal for stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) set a long-term objective for the international climate effort: stabilizing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at levels that would prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. Thus far, there has been no effort under the Convention to define that goal in quantitative terms. The Pocantico group clearly recognized the value of a quantified long-term goal in driving climate action, signaling markets, and establishing a metric to guide and assess near- and medium-term efforts. However, the group cautioned against trying to negotiate a specific quantified long-term target, particularly one intended as a basis for commitments. The scientific issues are so complex, and the inherent political stakes so great, that such a negotiation would likely be futile if not counterproductive. In my view, global consensus on a quantified long-term climate goal will be feasible only if the issue is taken up in an international venue other than that where climate commitments are to be negotiated. The U.S. Climate Action Partnership, of which the Pew Center is a founding partner, recommends stabilizing global greenhouse concentrations at a carbon dioxide equivalent level of 450-550 ppm.
Having outlined the potential elements of a post-2012 climate effort, I now turn to the question of how these approaches can be integrated in a common framework. While different countries should be allowed different pathways, they cannot simply each go their own way. An ad hoc series of parallel initiatives will not produce an aggregate effort nearly adequate to the need. By linking actions, and negotiating them as a package, nations are likely to undertake a higher level of effort than they would acting on their own. Such a negotiation could take the form of sequential bargaining, with countries proposing what they are prepared to do under one or more of the different tracks I’ve described, and then adjusting their proposals until agreement is reached on an overall package. To help ensure a balanced and therefore stronger outcome, it may be necessary to agree at the outset that certain countries will negotiate toward particular types of commitments most appropriate to their circumstances. The objective would be an integrated agreement is flexible enough to accommodate different types of commitments, and reciprocal enough to achieve a strong, sustained level of effort.
The Committee has asked whether the UNFCCC provides a viable foundation for a global climate framework. I believe the answer is yes. The Pocantico group recognized that one precondition for a successful negotiation is broad political consensus among the key players and, accordingly, urged an informal high-level dialogue among the major economies on the broad scope and terms of a post-2012 framework. However, the group agreed that once this informal consensus is reached, it should be carried back to the Framework Convention for the negotiation of formal agreements. The Convention enshrines key principles, such as “common but differentiated responsibilities,” and has been ratified by virtually every nation on earth, including the United States. It is regarded worldwide as the legitimate forum for negotiating and mobilizing the international climate effort. Further, the Convention is flexible enough to accommodate any of the approaches I have described here. The U.N. and Convention processes are often cited as obstacles to agreement on climate change. While these processes are far from perfect, I believe the largest obstacle to date has been a lack of political will, and if that obstacle were to be removed, process issues would not stand in the way of agreement.
The Committee has also asked what steps the United States can take to most effectively reengage in the global climate effort. An effective multilateral response to climate change will be possible only with U.S. engagement and leadership. Lack of action by the United States stands today as the major impediment to stronger efforts by other countries. Of the steps the United States can take to encourage global action, the most critical is to establish unilaterally a mandatory program to limit and reduce U.S. emissions. Demonstrating the will – and establishing the means – to reduce U.S. emissions will greatly alter the international political dynamic and improve prospects for international cooperation.
As it strengthens its domestic response to climate change, the United States should also help lead a renewed multilateral effort both within and outside the Framework Convention process. Within the Convention process, the United States should support the launch of a new round of negotiations, either in parallel with or subsuming those already underway under the Kyoto Protocol, seeking a balanced package of commitments among the major-emitting countries. The Conference of the Parties later this year in Bali presents an opportunity to launch such negotiations. Such negotiations will be fruitful, however, only if other efforts are taken in parallel to build confidence and seek political consensus among the major economies. The Gleneagles Dialogue launched by the G8+5 in 2005 has brought together the 20 largest energy-consuming countries to discuss issues of climate, energy, and development. If given a stronger mandate when it reports back to the G8+5 in 2008, this Dialogue could be a serve as the venue for developing the political consensus needed for the formal negotiations to succeed. If not, an alternative venue for this critical political dialogue will be needed.
Finally, I would like to address directly the questions of competitiveness and developing country participation. These issues are closely related. Ultimately, I believe, both are most effectively addressed through binding multilateral commitments. But it is important to distinguish these two issues because, in advance of a stronger global framework, each will require a different set of interim policy responses.
Competitiveness is a potential concern not for the U.S. economy as a whole, but rather for specific sectors – primarily energy-intensive industries, such as steel and aluminum, whose goods trade globally. In establishing a mandatory domestic climate program, steps can be taken to minimize or mitigate competitiveness impacts. For instance, in the design of a mandatory cap-and-trade program, potentially vulnerable sectors could be allowed special consideration in the emission allowance process. Another option is to provide technology and transition assistance to affected industries and communities, possibly funded by auctioning a portion of allowances. As a longer-term option, legislation also could stipulate that if the major developing countries have not taken stronger action to reduce emissions within a specified timeframe, the United States, in concert with other industrialized countries, will consider tariffs on their energy-intensive exports or other mechanisms to correct the resulting competitive imbalances. I would note that on their own, however, these latter approaches are not likely to induce strong developing country action, and could lead to more confrontation than cooperation.
Engaging developing countries will require a firm but balanced approach. To begin with, we must be absolutely clear in our expectation that the major developing countries assume binding commitments in a post-2012 framework. It is true that the United States, the world’s largest economy, is also by far the largest historic contributor to climate change. In establishing mandatory limits on domestic emissions, the United States will have begun to fulfill the commitment it made with other industrialized countries to lead the climate change effort. And having done so, it will then be reasonable to expect that countries like China fulfill their responsibilities as well. China’s emissions have grown 80 percent since 1990 and could rise another 80 percent by 2020. It is essential that these trends be reversed. Realistically, given the greater capacity and historic responsibility of industrialized countries, China, India and other developing countries will require incentives to undertake strong climate efforts. The United States should provide market-based incentives through a domestic cap-and-trade program by recognizing credits for emission reductions achieved in developing countries. In addition, targeted bilateral and multilateral assistance should be provided for the deployment of critical high-cost technologies such as carbon-capture-and storage. However, in return for these incentives, China and the other major developing countries must assume appropriate commitments that will slow and ultimately reverse the growth of their greenhouse gas emissions.
To summarize, I believe it is incumbent upon the United States to lead both by strong action at home and by actively and constructively reengaging in the international climate effort. Only with strong U.S. participation and leadership can we achieve a fair and effective global response to the critical challenge of climate change. I thank the Committee for the opportunity to present these views and would be happy to answer your questions.
C2ES's Summary of GAO Report, Climate Change: Financial Risks to Federal and Private Insurers in Coming Decades are Potentially Significant.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress’ investigative arm, is warning of billions of dollars in possible damage claims that two federal insurance programs may face as a result of climate change related storms and floods. The report—Climate Change: Financial Risks to Federal and Private Insurers in Coming Decades are Potentially Significant—was developed at the request of Senators Lieberman and Collins, Chairman and Ranking member of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. The Senators released the report at a hearing they held on the same topic on April 19, 2007. GAO was asked by the Senators to (1) describe how climate change may affect future weather-related losses, (2) determine past insured weather related losses, and (3) determine what major private insurers and federal insurers are doing to prepare for potential increases in such losses. The report found that large private insurers are incorporating climate change into their annual risk management practices, and some are addressing it strategically by assessing its potential long-term industry-wide impacts. The two major federal insurance programs, however, have done little to develop comparable information. GAO is recommending that the Secretaries of Agriculture and Homeland Security analyze the potential long-term fiscal implications of climate change for the FCIC and the NFIP, respectively, and report their findings to the Congress.
Senator Lieberman stated that this report “presents another strong argument—this one fiscal—for adopting an economy-wide, cap and trade, anti-global-warming law."
Read the Full Report (pdf).
Fialka, John. “Warming Taxes U.S. Agencies: Flood, Crop Programs Haven’t Limited Risks; Panel is Tougher on CO2.” Wall Street Journal, 19 April 2007
The bills, resolutions, and amendments of the 110th Congress dealing with climate change are divided into the following categories:
- GHG Emission Limits
- GHG Emission Reporting
- International Negotiations
- Transportation Emissions
- Climate Science Research
- Climate-Friendly Technology
- Agriculture & Carbon Sequestration
- Nuclear Power
S. 131: Clear Skies Act, which would require reductions of power plant emissions of SO2, NOX, and mercury, but not CO2, and would exempt new power plants from the current requirement that they disclose their CO2 emissions. Sponsor: Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) (1 cosponsor) – Action: 3/9/05: Marked up by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, but not voted out of committee by a vote of 9 – 9. (A majority vote is needed to report a bill out of committee.)
S. 150: Clean Power Act, which would require reductions of CO2, as well as SO2, NOX, and mercury emissions, from electric power plants. CO2 emissions would be reduced to 1990 levels by 2010. Sponsor: Sen. James Jeffords (I-VT) (17 cosponsors)
S. 342: Climate Stewardship Act, which would cap the GHG emissions of the electricity, manufacturing, commercial and transportation sectors of the economy (representing 85% of U.S. emissions) at the 2000 level by 2010. Emitters would be able to trade GHG emissions credits and get credit for pre-enactment GHG reductions, carbon sequestration, and international GHG reductions, up to a limit. The bill also provides for a program of scientific research on climate change, creates a national GHG database, and establishes the Climate Change Credit Corporation. (See S.1151 and S.Amdt.826 below). Sponsor: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) (15 cosponsors)
S. 730: Mercury Emissions Act, which would require reductions of CO2, as well as SO2, NOX, and mercury emissions, from electric power plants, and require reductions of mercury emissions from a wide variety of sources. CO2 emissions would be reduced to 1990 levels by 2009. Sponsor: Sen. Patrick Leahy (I-VT) (1 cosponsor)
S. 1151: Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act, which is identical to S.342 (see above) except that it also increases the incentives for development of climate-friendly technologies, including integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) advanced coal power generating facilities that use carbon capture technology with geological storage of GHGs; advanced nuclear reactors; large-scale biofuels facilities that maximize cellulosic biomass use, and large scale solar power facilities. Sponsor: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) (1 cosponsor)
S. 2724: Clean Air Planning Act, which would require reductions of CO2, as well as SO2, NOX, and mercury emissions, from electric power plants. CO2 emissions would be reduced to 2001 levels by 2015. The bill would also establish emission allowance trading programs for CO2. Sponsor: Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE) (7 cosponsors)
S. 3698: Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, which would reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 20 percent of 1990 levels by 2050, and authorizes the establishment of emissions markets to meet these targets. The bill would also set GHG emission standards for automobile fleets and electric generation facilities identical to those enacted by the state of California. The bill would also authorize EPA to accelerate the reductions if the National Academy of Sciences reports that global atmospheric concentrations in excess of 450 ppm CO2 equivalent or an increase of global average temperatures above 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees C) have occurred or are more likely than not to occur in the foreseeable future. Additionally, the bill would set energy efficiency improvement standards and renewable energy standards for retail electricity suppliers as well as require all major stationary sources of GHG pollution report their emissions on an annual basis. The bill would also establish a task force to support the development and implementation of low-carbon energy technologies in developing countries, set a goal for the renewable content of gasoline and mandate that corporations inform investors of the potential impacts of global warming on corporate interests.
Sponsor: Sen. James Jeffords (I-VT) (10 cosponsors)
S. 4039: Global Warming Reduction Act, which would reduce GHG emissions to 85% percent of 2010 levels by 2020 and to 35% of 2010 levels by 2050, and authorizes the establishment of emissions markets to meet these targets. The bill would also set GHG emission standards for automobile fleets. Requires the US to derive 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Includes a resolution urging the United States to re-engage in international climate negotiations. Sponsor: Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA) (1 cosponsor)
S. Amdt. 826: Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act, which increases the incentives for development of climate-friendly technologies, including integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) advanced coal power generating facilities that use carbon capture technology with geological storage of GHGs; advanced nuclear reactors; large-scale biofuels facilities that maximize cellulosic biomass use, and large scale solar power facilities. (Identical to S.1151.) Sponsor: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) (1 cosponsor) – Action: 6/22/05: Offered as an amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (H.R.6) during Senate debate. Not agreed to by a vote of 38 – 60.
S. Amdt. 866: Sense of the Senate on Climate Change, a nonbinding resolution that finds there is a growing scientific consensus that human activity is a substantial cause of GHG accumulation in the atmosphere, and expresses the sense of the Senate that Congress should enact a national program of mandatory, market-based limits and incentives on emissions of GHGs that slow, stop, and reverse the growth of such emissions at a rate and in a manner that will not significantly harm the U.S. economy, and will encourage comparable action by other nations that are major trading partners and key contributors to global emissions. Sponsor: Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) (10 cosponsors) – Action: 6/22/05: Offered as an amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (H.R.6) during Senate debate. Agreed to by voice vote after a motion to table the amendment was defeated by a vote of 44 – 53. (A vote against a "motion to table" an amendment is generally considered a vote in favor of the amendment.)
S. Amdt. 868: Climate and Economy Insurance Act, which would establish an annual target for GHG emissions, though regulated entities could exceed the target by paying a "safety valve" price for emission allowances. (The bill is based on the recommendations of the National Commission on Energy Policy of $7 per ton of CO2, released in 2004.) Would also promote the use of clean energy technologies in developing countries through provisions identical to S.745. Sponsor: Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
For more information, see the Center's analysis of S.Amdt.868.
Proposed Amendment to Clear Skies Act (S.131) on Climate Change, under which the Department of Energy (DOE) would establish a nonbinding goal for electricity generating facilities of 4% GHG emissions reduction from the 2000 – 2002 timeframe by 2010. By 2011, DOE would report to Congress on the industry's progress towards the goal and additional actions that could achieve further reduction in the industry's GHG emissions. The amendment would also establish a climate change technology office and a geologic carbon sequestration program at DOE, a forest carbon sequestration program and an agricultural carbon sequestration measurement program at USDA, and a climate change research initiative at the Department of Commerce.
Sponsor: Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-OH) – Action: 3/9/05: Filed, but not offered, as an amendment to the Clear Skies Act (S.131) during markup by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Proposed Second Degree Amendment to Voinovich Climate Change Amendment (see above), which would change the original amendment's goal of 4% GHG emissions reduction to 4% GHG emissions intensity reduction. (A "second degree" amendment amends another amendment, referred to as a "first degree" amendment. In this case, Sen. Voinovich filed his second degree amendment to correct an apparent error – the omission of the word "intensity" – in his own previously-filed first degree amendment). Sponsor: Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-OH) – Action: 3/9/05: Filed, but not offered, during markup by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
H.R. 759: Climate Stewardship Act, which would cap the GHG emissions of the electricity, manufacturing, commercial and transportation sectors of the economy (representing 85% of U.S. emissions) at the 2000 level by 2010. Emitters would be able to trade GHG emissions credits and get credit for pre-enactment GHG reductions, carbon sequestration, and international GHG reductions, up to a limit. The bill also provides for a program of scientific research on climate change and establishes a national GHG database (identical to S. 342). Sponsor: Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) (98 cosponsors)
H. Res. 971: A nonbinding resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Congress should enact legislation to slow, stop, and reverse the growth of the Nation's dependence on imported oil in ways that provide cleaner air, reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, and enhance America's competitiveness. Sponsor: Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) (3 cosponsors)
H.R. 1451: Clean Smokestacks Act, which would require reductions of CO2, as well as SO2, NOX, and mercury emissions, from electric power plants. CO2 emissions would be reduced to 1990 levels by 2010.
Sponsor: Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) (23 cosponsors)
H.R. 1873: Clean Air Planning Act, which would require reductions of CO2, as well as SO2, NOX, and mercury emissions, from electric power plants. CO2 emissions would be reduced to 2006 levels by 2010 and to 2001 levels by 2015. Sponsor: Rep. Charles Bass (R-NH) (3 cosponsors)
H.R. 2828: New Apollo Energy Act, which includes a slightly modified version of H.R. 759 (see above). The bill would also, among other things, establish a national goal of reducing total CO2 emissions in the United States to the 2000 level by 2015; authorize a program of research, development, demonstration, and commercial application of carbon sequestration and carbon recapture methods with the goal of sequestering 20% of US GHG emissions from stationary sources by 2010, 40% by 2015, and 60% by 2020; create tax incentives for emission control systems that removes or reduces at least 90% of CO2 emissions; guarantee up to 80% of the principal of any loan for a coal-burning power plant that sequesters at least 90% of its CO2 emissions; authorize a pilot program for financial assistance for projects in developing countries that result in a GHG reduction per unit of energy produced (compared to the technology that would otherwise be implemented) of at least 20% for a unit in service before 2010; 40% if put in service between 2010 and 2020; or 60% if put in service between 2020 and 2030. (See proposed amendment (Inslee #50) under Energy Policy below.) Sponsor: Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) (21 cosponsors)
H.R. 5049: Keep America Competitive Global Warming Policy Act, which would establish a market-based system to regulate GHG emissions. The bill includes a "safety valve" provision that would enable corporations to purchase an unlimited number of additional emission allowances at the set price of $25 per ton of carbon (equal to about $7 per ton of CO2) should they be unable to satisfy their emissions reduction obligations through permits traded on the market. The bill also provides for the establishment of an Advanced Research Projects Agency within the Department of Energy to engage in advanced energy research, technology development and deployment. Sponsor: Rep. Tom Udall (D-NM) (1 cosponsor)
Amendment to H.R. 5386: The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, which expresses the sense of the Congress that a program of mandatory, market-based limits on GHG emissions should be enacted. Sponsor: Rep. Norman Dicks (D-WA) -- Action: 5/18/06: Agreed to by House Appropriations Committee by voice vote. 5/18/06: Struck by House on a point-of-order. (Language in appropriations bills that do not pertain to spending are subject to being struck on a point-of-order.)
H.R. 5642: Safe Climate Act, which would reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 20 percent of 1990 levels by 2050. The bill would also set GHG emission standards for automobile fleets and electric generation facilities identical to those enacted by the state of California. The bill would also require the National Academy of Sciences to identify needed further reductions if any of the following events has occurred or is likely to occur: atmospheric GHG concentrations in excess of 450 ppm CO2 equivalent; global mean surface temperature above 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees C); substantial slowing of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation; sea level rise of more than 8 inches; ice-free Arctic Ocean in the summer; decrease in the area of permafrost to below 50% of such area in 2000; or loss of over 40% of the world's coverage of coral reefs, due to increased ocean temperature or acidity. The bill would also establish a national renewable energy standard and a national energy efficiency standard.
Sponsor: Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) (85 cosponsors)
S. 388: Climate Change Technology Deployment and Infrastructure Credit Act of 2005, would entitle any entity to enter voluntarily into an agreement with the DOE under which, for certified emission reductions, DOE would provide transferable credits with unique serial numbers that would be applicable toward any future incentive, market-based, or regulatory program enacted by Congress. Would also generally promote deployment of technologies that reduce GHG intensity. (See S.887 and S.Amdt.817 below). Sponsor: Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) (4 cosponsors)
S. Amdt. 815: Energy and Climate Change Act, which would provide for voluntary reporting of GHG emissions and reductions. If after 4 years, 60% of U.S. GHG emissions were not being reported voluntarily, reporting would become mandatory for the largest emitters. The bill would also establish a nation climate vulnerability and adaptation program at the Department of Commerce, a forest carbon sequestration program and an agricultural carbon sequestration measurement program at USDA, and a climate science program at DOE. Sponsor: Sen. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) – Action: 6/21/05: Filed, but not offered as an amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
H.R. 955: National Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Act, which would require large GHG emitters to report and disclose their emissions. Entities could also register their GHG reductions. Sponsor: Rep. John Olver (D-MA) (2 cosponsors)
Proposed House Amendment (Gilchrest #42): Climate Change Strategy and GHG Database, which would establish a National GHG Registry and allow entities to report voluntarily their GHG emissions and emission reductions to the registry. If, five years after enactment, less than 60% of U.S. anthropogenic GHG emissions had been reported voluntarily, reporting would be required of large GHG emitters. The amendment also would encourage future Congresses to consider registered reductions as applicable towards future GHG reduction requirements. The amendment would also establish a National Climate Change Strategy with the goal of stabilization of GHG concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system; an Office of National Climate Change Policy within the White House; and a research and development program toward the goal of stabilization of GHG concentrations. (Identical to the provisions authored by Senators Brownback (R-KS), Corzine (D-NJ), Byrd (D-WV) and Stevens (R-AK), which were passed by the Senate and included in the Senate-passed Energy Policy Acts in 2002 and 2003.)
Sponsor: Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) (4 cosponsors) – Action: 4/19/05: The sponsor requested the opportunity to offer the provision as an amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (H.R.6) during debate by the House, but was denied the opportunity by the House Rules Committee.
H. Con. Res. 104: Expressing the sense of the Congress regarding the need for the United States to participate in international climate change negotiations to protect the country's economic and national security interests, establish mitigation commitments by all countries that are major GHG emitters, establish international mechanisms to minimize the cost of efforts by participating countries and achieve a significant long-term reduction in global GHG emissions.
Sponsor: Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) (1 cosponsor)
H.R. 1186: United States-India Energy Security Cooperation Act of 2007. The Act authorizes the President to establish programs in support of greater energy cooperation between the United States and India, including providing assistance to India for cooperation related to the research, development, and deployment of, among others: clean coal and emission reduction technologies, carbon sequestration projects, and alternative fuel sources such as ethanol, bio-mass, and coal-based fuels. The Act also requires the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Energy to submit a report to Congress on energy security cooperation between the U.S. and India. Sponsor: Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) (2 cosponsors)
S. RES. 30: Expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the need for the United States to participate in international climate change negotiations to protect the country's economic and national security interests, establish mitigation commitments by all countries that are major GHG emitters, establish international mechanisms to minimize the cost of efforts by participating countries and achieve a significant long-term reduction in global GHG emissions.
Sponsor: Sen. Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) (25 cosponsors) – Action: 3/28/07: Passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by voice vote.
S. 193: Energy Diplomacy and Security Act of 2007. Among other provisions, the Act expresses the sense of Congress that "development of renewable energy through sustainable practices will help lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and enhance international development." The bill also directs the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Energy to establish and expand strategic energy partnerships with other countries for a variety of purposes, including carbon sequestration.
Sponsor: Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-IN) (9 cosponsors) – Action: 4/12/07: Passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by voice vote.
S. 1007: United States-Brazil Energy Cooperation Pact of 2007. Among other provisions, the Act directs the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Energy to establish a Western Hemisphere Energy Cooperation Forum, which would include among its goals the facilitation of "the use of carbon sequestration methods in agriculture and forestry and linking greenhouse gas emissions reduction programs to international carbon markets." The Act also directs the Secretary of Agriculture to work with the Government of Brazil to "facilitate joint agricultural extension activities related to biofuels crop production, biofuels production, and environmental and greenhouse gas emissions reduction practices." Additionally, the bill requires the Secretary of State to work with governments in the Western Hemisphere and other countries to organize regional and hemispheric carbon trading mechanisms under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and existing trade and financial agreements to (1) establish special carbon credits for the preservation of tropical rain forests; (2) use greenhouse gas-reducing farming practices; (3) jointly fund greenhouse gas sequestration studies and experiments in various geological formations; and (4) jointly fund climate mitigation studies in vulnerable areas in the Western Hemisphere," and appropriates $5 million for fiscal year 2008 for said purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-IN)
Also see: S. 485:
S. 373: Renewable Hydrogen Passenger Vehicle Act, which, in a bill that promotes the use of passenger vehicles using hydrogen derived from renewable energy sources, finds that for permanent reductions GHG emissions, Congress should establish as a national goal the development of renewable hydrogen as a clean effective energy carrier. Sponsor: Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
S. 665: Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Act, which would require DOE to conduct a R&D program on hydrogen energy and fuel cell technology which, among other things, reduce "carbon footprints" – i.e., the sum of carbon equivalent emissions from all energy conversion processes occurring from raw material through hydrogen production, distribution, and use.
Sponsor: Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) (5 cosponsors)
S. 918: E-85 Fuel Utilization and Infrastructure Development Incentives Act, which would provide a retail sales credit of 35 cents for each gallon of alternative fuel, including any fuel of at least 85% ethanol, sold at retail fueling station. The bill states that high ration blend gasoline has the benefit of reducing GHG emissions. Sponsor: Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) (3 cosponsors)
S. 927: Fuel Cell And Hydrogen Technology Study, which would require DOE to contract with the National Academy of Sciences to provide a budget roadmap for the development of fuel cell technologies and the transition from petroleum to hydrogen in a significant percentage of the vehicles sold by 2020, and which would consider whether other technologies would be less expensive or could be more quickly implemented than fuel cell technologies to achieve significant reductions in CO2 emissions. Sponsor: Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) – Action: 6/22/05: Offered as an amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (H.R.6) and accepted by voice vote. 8/8/05: Enacted into law as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-190). (See H.R.6 above.)
S. 1281: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act, which, among other things, would authorize NASA to establish a zero-emissions aircraft research program to develop a hydrogen fuel cell-powered aircraft that would release no nitrogen oxide emissions into the environment. Sponsor: Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) (4 cosponsors) – Action: 12/30/05: Passed by House and Senate, becoming Public Law 109-155.
S. 2755: Energy Production, Refining, Infrastructure, Conservation and Efficiency (PRICE) Act, which, among other things, would increase the tax incentive for using CO2 for enhanced oil recovery if the CO2 is from an industrial source or is separated from natural gas and natural gas liquids.
Sponsor: Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY)
S. 2984: Future Investment to Lessen Long-term Use of Petroleum (FILL UP) Act, which would require any company that produces, refines, distributes or sells petroleum products to expend at least 1 percent of its total profits from the first quarter of 2006 to install infrastructure to dispense E-85 or other alternative fuels at gasoline service stations, and finds that E-85 fuel produces less GHG emissions than conventional gasoline. Sponsor: Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)
S.2993: Strategic Energy Fund Act, which, among other things, would increase the tax incentive for using CO2 captured from industrial sources for enhanced oil and natural gas recovery, and establish the position at the Department of Energy of Assistant Secretary for Advanced Energy Research, Technology Development, and Deployment, part of whose mission it is to significantly reduce GHG emissions by promoting climate-friendly technologies and practices. Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
S.3543: Ten-in-Ten Fuel Economy Act, which would raise fuel economy standards for passenger automobiles to 31.1 miles per gallon and for light trucks to 23.6 miles per gallon by model year 2009 and annually determine the associated annual reduction in GHG emissions. Additionally, the bill creates a green label program to be used to certify automobiles that adhere to specified fuel economy and GHG emission standards.
Sponsor: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (12 cosponsors)
S.4000: National Fuels Initiative, which, among other things, finds that inefficient and unclean use of oil worsens the threat of global climate change, and requires major oil companies to install E-85 pumps at 50% of their stations by 2017.
Sponsor: Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-IN)
S.4003: Ethanol Infrastructure Expansion Act, which would require the Department of Energy to award funds to study the feasibility of constructing dedicated ethanol pipelines to increase the energy, economic, and environmental security of the United States and finds that ethanol is a clean, renewable fuel that provides public health benefits in the form of reduced emissions, including reduced GHG emissions that cause climate change.
Sponsor: Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) (1 cosponsor)
H.R.242: Surface Transportation Research and Development Act, which, among other things, would direct the Department of Transportation to study the relationship between transportation, energy, and climate change, including strategies to reduce GHG emissions, and evaluate the potential effects of climate change on the nation's transportation systems as part of the National Climate Change Technology Initiative and the Climate Change Research Initiative. (Same language as HR 243)
Sponsor: Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI)
H.R.243: Intelligent Transportation Systems Act, which authorizes the Department of Transportation to study the relationship between transportation, energy, and climate change, including strategies to reduce GHG emissions, and evaluate the potential effects of climate change on the nation's transportation systems as part of the National Climate Change Technology Initiative and the Climate Change Research Initiative. (Provisions nearly identical to that of H.R.242)
Sponsor: Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI)
H.R.722: Securing Transportation Energy Efficiency for Tomorrow Act, which, in a bill promoting climate-friendly transportation technologies, finds that the transportation sector is responsible for 27% of U.S. GHG emissions, with transportation-related emissions of CO2 increasing by 21% between 1992 and 2002.
Sponsor: Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN) (29 cosponsors)
H.R.3059: Alternative Fuel Utilization and Infrastructure Development Incentives Act, which, in a bill that promotes the use of blends of gasoline with a minimum 85 percent domestically derived ethanol content (E-85), find that recent studies confirm the environmental and overall energy security benefits of E-85.
Sponsor: Rep. Julia Carson (D-IN) (7 cosponsors)
H.R.3070: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act, which, among other things, would authorize NASA to establish a zero-emissions aircraft research program to develop a hydrogen fuel cell-powered aircraft that would release no NOx emissions into the environment.
Sponsor: Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) (1 cosponsor) – Action: 12/30/05: House and Senate approved the Senate version of the bill (S.1281), which became Public Law 109-155.
H.R.5372: Bioenergy Innovation, Optional Fuel Utilization, and Energy Legacy (BIOFUEL) Act, which would require that, by 2015, 20% of a ll light duty motor vehicle fuel (other than diesel fuel) sold in the United States be derived from renewable sources, and that all diesel fuel sold must contain at least 15% biodiesel. Additionally, the bill would require that, by 2013, 75 percent of all vehicles sold in the US be dual fueled, and that motor fuel retailers install E-85 fuel pumps once the flexible-fuel vehicle market penetration in a region reaches 15 percent. The bill also expresses the sense of Congress that carbon trading policies should be instituted to compensate farmers for their carbon sequestration activities.
Sponsor: Rep. Stephanie Herseth (D-SD) (61 cosponsors)
H.R.5375: New Options for Petroleum Energy Conservation Act, which would amend the IRS code to include tax credits for electricity produced from climate neutral combustion processes which would include capturing CO2 released during combustion and using that CO2 to recover hydrocarbon fuel from below ground, as well as producing no atmospheric emissions of mercury or GHGs and no emissions that form fine particles, smog, or acid rain. This bill would also extend the energy credit for solar energy property and energy efficient property.
Sponsor: Rep. Daniel Lungren (R-CA) (1 cosponsor)
H.R.5531: A bill which finds that hybrid vehicles produce fewer GHG emissions than conventional vehicles and would require the Federal government to acquire not fewer than 50,000 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
Sponsor: Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY)
H.R.5538: Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Act, which would provide for a research and development program for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, requiring, among other things, that GHG emissions data be collected on the vehicles.
Sponsor: Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) (16 cosponsors)
H.R.5959: To Encourage Alternatively fueled vehicle Manufacturing (TEAM) up for Energy Independence Act, which would impose an excise tax on automobiles sold in the US that are not alternative fuel vehicles, defined as vehicles that use a fuel that with 80% fewer GHG emissions than vehicles using petroleum-derived fuel, calculated over the full fuel cycle.
Sponsor: Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
H.R.6025: Alternative Liquid Transportation Fuel Promotion Act, which would amend the Energy Policy Act by authorizing the Department of Energy to appropriate funds for coal-to-liquid facilities (including the carbon sequestration elements of such facilities).
Sponsor: Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY)
H.R.6249: To authorize the Secretary of Energy to make price floor loans to low-carbon coal-to-liquid fuel projects.
Sponsor: Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) (1 cosponsor)
S.245: Abrupt Climate Change Research Act, which would establish a research program to understand, assess, and predict human-induced and natural processes of abrupt climate change.
Sponsor: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) (5 cosponsors)
S.4005: National Hurricane Research Initiative Act, which would set research objectives based on the findings of the September 29, 2006, National Science Board report entitled "Hurricane Warning: The Critical Need for National Hurricane Initiative." This bill would require research, among other things, into the relationship between hurricanes and climate and natural ecosystems, as well as conducting studies in order to determine the most effective methods to use observational information to examine the short- and long-term impacts on ecosystems.
Sponsor: Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) (3 cosponsors)
S.Amdt.824: Abrupt Climate Change Research Program, which would establish a research program to understand, assess, and predict human-induced and natural processes of abrupt climate change. (Identical to S.245)
Sponsor: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) (4 cosponsors)
S.Amdt.839: Save Climate Scientific Credibility, Integrity, Ethics, Nonpartisanship, Consistency, and Excellence Act (Save Climate SCIENCE Act), which would require that within 48 hours after an executive agency publishes a summary, synthesis, or analysis of a scientific study on climate change that has been modified to reflect comments by the Executive Office of the President that change the meaning of the scientific or technical component of the study, the agency would disclose both the final version and the last draft version before it was modified to reflect those comments. The bill would also extend whistleblower protection for disclosure relating to interference with climate science.
Sponsor: Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) (3 cosponsors) – Action: 6/23/05: Offered as an amendment to H.R.6 (the Energy Policy Act of 2005), but ruled not germane by the chair.
H.R.5235: Environment and Public Health Restoration Act, which would have the National Academy of Sciences evaluate current and proposed clean water, clean air and forest and land management legislation for potentially harmful impacts on global climate, as well as public health, air quality, water quality, plant and animal wildlife, and the environment. The bill would also direct Federal departments and agencies to create plans to reverse those impacts that are determined to be harmful by the NAS.
Sponsor: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
H.Amdt.937: Amendment to H.R.5441, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2007, which would provide $500,000 to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to conduct a comprehensive study of the increase in demand for FEMA's emergency response and disaster relief services as a result of weather-related disasters associated with global warming.
Sponsor: Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) -- Action: 5/25/06: Not agreed to by a vote of 170 – 251.
H.Amdt.1120: Amendment to H.R.5672, the Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2007, which would provide $1 million for the Secretary of Commerce to contract with the National Academy of Sciences to study which U.S. coastal population centers are most at risk from the impacts of sea level rise due to global warming.
Sponsor: Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) -- Action: 6/28/06: Agreed to by House by voice vote.
Report language for H.R.5386: The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, which would provide the EPA with $1 million to conduct a study of the potential health impacts of global climate change on the U.S. population.
Author: Rep. John Olver (D-MA) -- Action: 5/15/06: Agreed to by House Appropriations Committee by voice vote and included in the bill as it passed the House.
H.Res.515: Resolution requesting that the President provide the House of Representatives with certain documents in his possession relating to the anticipated effects of climate change on the coastal regions of the United States.
Sponsor: Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) (150 cosponsors) – Action: 11/9/05: No amendments offered and the resolution failed on a vote of 11-16; 11/15/05: Reported adversely by the House Science Committee, H. Rept. 109-296.
H.Con.Res.199: Supporting the goals and ideals of the International Polar Year, recognizes that Polar Regions are highly sensitive to climate change and encourages the U.S. to support funding and research in these geographic areas.
Sponsor: Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
H.Con.Res.398: Resolution expressing the sense of the Congress that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should incorporate consideration of global warming and sea-level rise into the comprehensive conservation plans for coastal national wildlife refuges.
Sponsor: Rep. Donna Christensen (D-VI)
S.10: The Energy Policy Act, which, among other things, would authorize several programs to promote the development and deployment of technologies that would capture and sequester CO2 emissions (including a program specifically promoting geologic, forest and agricultural sequestration on Indian land); and authorize financial assistance for projects that avoid or reduce GHG emissions.
Sponsor: Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) - Action: 5/26/05: Reported out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by a vote of 21 – 1. Redesignated as H.R.6 and debated and passed by the Senate (see H.R.6 E.A.S. below).
S.386: Climate Change Technology Deployment in Developing Countries Act, which would promote the deployment of technologies that reduce GHG intensity in developing countries. (See S.883 and S.Amdt.817 below.)
Sponsor: Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) (5 cosponsors)
S.387: Climate Change Technology Tax Incentive Act, which would provide tax incentives of up to $815 million over the next five years for investment in GHG intensity reduction projects.
Sponsor: Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) (4 cosponsors)
S.745: International Clean Energy Deployment and Global Energy Markets Investment Act, which would help developing countries integrate the use of clean
energy technologies into their national strategies for economic growth, poverty reduction and sustainable development, and would require larger countries receiving assistance to establish and periodically report on GHG emission goals. Would also establish a pilot program that provides loans or loan guarantees for up to 50% costs of demonstration projects that will result in a GHG emission reduction per unit of energy produced or used of at least 20% for projects put in service from the date of enactment through 2009; 40% for projects put in service from 2010 through 2019; and 60% for projects put in service after. (See S.Amdt. 868 above.)
Sponsor: Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) (3 cosponsors)
S.883: Climate Change Technology Deployment in Developing Countries Act, which would promote the deployment of technologies that reduce GHG intensity in developing countries. (Identical to S.386)
Sponsor: Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) (7 cosponsors) – Action: See S.Amdt.817 below.
S.887: Climate Change Technology Deployment and Infrastructure Credit Act, which would entitle any entity to enter voluntarily into an agreement with the DOE under which, for certified emission reductions, DOE would provide transferable credits with unique serial numbers that would be applicable toward any future incentive, market-based, or regulatory program enacted by Congress. (Identical to S.388 under GHG Emission Reporting, except without the provision giving credit for early GHG reductions.)
Sponsor: Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) (7 cosponsors)
S.1203: Climate Change Technology Tax Incentives Act, which amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax incentives of up to $1.6 billion over the next five years for investment in GHG intensity reduction projects. This bill is similar to S.387, except that it would provide nearly twice as much in tax incentives.
Sponsor: Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) (6 cosponsors)
S.2196: Advanced Research Projects Energy (ARPA-E) Act, which would authorize the Secretary of Energy to establish the position of Assistant Secretary for Advanced Energy Research, Technology Development and Deployment to implement a program to reduce petroleum consumption, improve efficiency of electricity use and reduce GHG emissions.
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) (3 cosponsors)
S.2571: The BOLD Energy Act, contains provisions for vehicle fuel economy, alternative fuel vehicles, domestic production of oil and gas, electricity and renewables, and energy efficiency. In a program awarding grants for coal-to-liquids refineries, it lists "carbon capture capability" as one of the project criteria, and one of many hydrogen-based projects is dedicated to the incorporation of carbon sequestration strategies into hydrogen production. The bill would increase tax credits for enhanced oil recovery projects using CO2 from industrial sources and natural gas separation. It also extends the production tax credit for renewables through 2012; requires that by 2020, 10% of electricity sold nationwide must come from renewables; and requires that by 2017, all vehicles must be "advanced technology" vehicles (dual-fuel, hybrid-electric, electric, fuel cell, etc.)
Sponsor: Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND)
S.2796: H-Prize Act, which would authorize the Secretary of Energy to award monetary prizes for achievements in overcoming scientific and technical barriers associated with hydrogen energy, including transformational changes in technologies for the distribution or production of hydrogen which minimizes carbon emissions. (Similar to H.R.5143)
Sponsor: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (2 cosponsors)
S. 2829: Clean EDGE Act, sets a national goal of reducing projected oil imports in 2020 by 40% and instructs the President to implement measures to achieve this goal. The bill also includes incentives for alternative fuel vehicles and fuels, increased labeling on new vehicles and tires, an extension of alternative motor vehicle credit, and incentives for fuel-efficient private fleets. Electricity provisions include a requirement that by 2020, 10% of electricity sales come from renewables, and long-term extensions of clean energy, energy efficiency and conservation incentives.& #160; A variety of incentives for fossil fuels are eliminated, including suspension of royalty relief and elimination of various tax credits and deductions. The bill calls for a report within 2 years on the effects of its provisions on GHG emissions, other environmental considerations, job creation, and the economy; accompanied by recommendations for amendments to ensure that the Act's effect will be to reduce total domestic GHG emissions below projected levels.
Sponsor: Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
S.Amdt. 817: National Climate Change Technology Deployment and Climate Change Technology Deployment in Developing Countries, which would promote the deployment of technologies that reduce GHG intensity in developing countries.
Sponsor: Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) (8 cosponsors) – Action: Accepted as an amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 by the Senate by a vote of 66 – 29. 8/8/05: Enacted into law as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. (See H.R.6 below.)
S.Amdt.948: Oil Security Act, which, among other things, would make GHG reduction among the criteria in selecting cellulosic biomass fuel technologies to be provided incentives, and would require examination of how best to link hybrid electric vehicle technology to low carbon energy sources.
Sponsor: Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT) (2 cosponsors) – Action: 6/22/05: Filed as an amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (H.R.6), but not offered.
S.Amdt.958: Oil Security Act, which would make GHG reduction among the criteria in selecting cellulosic biomass fuel technologies to be provided incentives, and would require examination of how best to link hybrid electric vehicle technology to low carbon energy sources. (Similar to S.Amdt.948)
Sponsor: Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT) – Action: 6/22/05: Filed as an amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (H.R.6), but not offered.
H.R.6 E.H.: The Energy Policy Act, as passed by the House, which, among other things, would authorize several programs to promote the development and deployment of technologies that would capture and sequester CO2 emissions; a program of fossil research, development, demonstration, and commercial application by 2015 with the capability of reducing CO2 emissions by at least 40% through efficiency improvements and by 100 percent with sequestration; a 10-year program of research and development aimed at developing CO2 capture technologies for pulverized coal combustion units, focusing on developing add-on CO2 capture technologies and increasing the efficiency of the overall combustion system in order to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions released from the system per megawatt generated.
Sponsor: Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) (2 cosponsors) – Action: 4/21/05: Passed in the House by a vote of 249-183.
H.R.6 E.N.R.: The Energy Policy Act, as enacted (also referred to as Public Law 109-190), which, among other things, would promote the deployment of GHG intensity reducing technologies, both domestically and in developing countries; authorize several programs to promote the development and deployment of technologies that would capture and sequester CO2 emissions; direct DOE to commission an NAS study of fuel cell technologies, among other things, considering whether other technologies would be less expensive or more quickly implemented to significantly reduce GHG emissions. In addition to the provisions that directly addressed climate change and GHG emissions, the law includes several measures intended to promote climate-friendly technologies and activities. In particular, the law:
- Establishes a national biofuel standard mostly in the form of ethanol for gasoline. This will increase the biofuels from 4 billion gallons per year in 2006 to 7.5 billion gallons per year in 2012.
- Increases the requirement for the purchase of renewable power by the federal government to 3% in 2007 and 7.5% in 2013.
- Establishes new efficiency standards for 15 new commercial and residential products.
- Extends, through the end of FY 2005, the renewable electricity production credit of 1.9¢ per kWh during their first ten years of operation.
- Creates a new tax credit for residential investments in solar power and fuel cell systems of 30% at an estimated $31 million.
- Increases the credit for commercial solar installations from 10% to 30% for two years at an estimated $222 million.
- Provides for investment tax credits for improving residential energy efficiency at an estimated $556 million.
- Allows for deductions for commercial buildings that cut their energy consumption by 50% for an estimated $243 million.
- Provides credits to manufacturers of energy efficient appliances ($180 million) and for building contractors that meet certain efficiency standards ($28 million).
- Offers tax incentives for the purchase of alternative fuel vehicles beginning in 2006 for an estimated cost of $874 million.
- Provides a 30% credit to alternative refueling installations at both residential and commercial properties.
- Authorizes a $200 million annual clean coal initiative to go primarily towards coal gasification projects.
- Creates three new investment tax credits for clean coal facilities with an expenditure cap of $1.612 billion. (20% for industrial gasification projects, 20% for IGCC, 15% for other electricity producing projects)
- Authorizes a $1.25 billion fund for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant at Idaho National Laboratory to produce both electricity and hydrogen.
- Provides a tax credit of 1.8¢ per kWhfor new nuclear power facilities during their first eight years of operation.
- Provides financial support for to up to six new nuclear power reactors in case of unforeseen construction delays.
Action: 8/8/05: Signed into law as Public Law 109-190.
H.R.610: Energy Research, Development, Demonstration, and Commercial Application Act, which, among other things, would establish at research, development, demonstration, and commercial application programs at DOE, among whose objectives would be: to develop technologies by 2015 with the capability of reducing CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use by at least 40% through efficiency improvements and by 100% with sequestration; to develop CO2 capture technologies for pulverized coal combustion units; and to develop technologies based on the biological functions of genomes, microbes, and plants to convert CO2 to organic carbon; and would make development of technologies that reduce GHG emissions one of the priorities of the Steel and Aluminum Energy Conservation and Technology Competitiveness Act of 1988.
Sponsor: Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) (1 cosponsor) – Action: 2/10/05: Passed by the House Science Committee.
H.R.612: Energy Basic and Applied Sciences Act, which, among other things, would establish research, development, demonstration, and commercial application programs at DOE, among whose objectives would be: to develop technologies by 2015 with the capability of reducing CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use by at least 40% through efficiency improvements and by 100% with sequestration; and to develop technologies based on the biological functions of genomes, microbes, and plants to convert CO2 to organic carbon; and would make development of technologies that reduce GHG emissions one of the priorities of the Steel and Aluminum Energy Conservation and Technology Competitiveness Act of 1988.
Sponsor: Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) (1 cosponsor)
H.R.1158: To reauthorize the Steel and Aluminum Energy Conservation and Technology Competitiveness Act, which, among other things, would make development of technologies that reduce GHG emissions one of the priorities of the Steel and Aluminum Energy Conservation and Technology Competitiveness Act of 1988.
Sponsor: Rep. Melissa Hart (R-PA) (2 cosponsors) – Action: 4/26/05: Passed the House by voice vote.
H.R.1640: The Energy Policy Act, as passed by the House, which, among other things, would authorize programs to promote the development and deployment of technologies that would capture and sequester CO2 emissions.
Sponsor: Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) (14 cosponsors)
H.R.5143: H-Prize Act, which would authorize the Secretary of Energy to award monetary prizes for achievements in overcoming scientific and technical barriers associated with hydrogen energy, including transformational changes in technologies for the distribution or production of hydrogen that minimizes carbon emissions.
Sponsor: Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) (26 cosponsors)
H.R. 5331: the BOLD Energy Act, contains provisions for vehicle fuel economy, alternative fuel vehicles, domestic production of oil and gas, electricity and renewables, and energy efficiency. In a program awarding grants for coal-to-liquids refineries, it lists "carbon capture capability" as one of the project criteria, and one of many hydrogen-based projects is dedicated to the incorporation of carbon sequestration strategies into hydrogen production. The bill would increase tax credits for enhanced oil recovery projects using CO2 from industrial sources and natural gas separation. It also extends the production tax credit for renewables through 2012; requires that by 2020, 10% of electricity sold nationwide must come from renewables; and requires that by 2017, all vehicles must be "advanced technology" vehicles (dual-fuel, hybrid-electric, electric, fuel cell, etc.)
Sponsor: Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND)
H.R.5634: Advanced Energy Initiative Act of 2006, which would require the Department of Energy to carry out a program of research, development, demonstration, and commercial application for low emissions technologies including, among other things, advanced clean coal technologies, which would achieve at least a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions after enactment in 2012. (See Related Bill H.R.5656.)Sponsor: Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) (3 cosponsors)
H.R.5656: Energy Research, Development, Demonstration, and Commercial Application Act, which would appropriate funds to the Department of Energy to carry out programs of research development, demonstration and commercial application for, among other things, advanced clean coal energy that would achieve at least 90% reduction in CO2 emissions.
Sponsor: Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) (16 cosponsors) – Action: 7/28/06: Reported by the House Science Committee.
H.R.5965: Progress Act, which would authorize the National Commission on Energy Security and Transition to New Fuels to make recommendations to Congress and the President for the purposes of safeguarding the national energy security in the event of terrorism or natural disaster; the Commission shall: address fuel supply and infrastructure needs to support the development of wide-scale use of alternative fueled vehicles, including flexible-fuel vehicles, electric hybrid vehicles, advanced diesel engines, and hydrogen fueled vehicles, for passenger cars, commercial fleets, and industrial vehicles; specifically, the Secretary shall award grants to those motor fuel dealers which maximize the availability ofalternative fuels by increasing the number of vehicles that can utilize E-85 fuel. Additionally, the bill would target vulnerabilities in energy infrastructure, such as overreliance on refining capacity concentrated in areas susceptible to hurricane damage. The Commission would also propose legislation to promote efficiency and biomass use and pursue alternatives to reduce transportation fuel demand.
Sponsor: Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (MD) (126 cosponsors)
H.R.6248: To authorize the Secretary of Energy to make certain loan guarantees for advanced conservation and fuel efficiency motor vehicle technology projects. The Department is authorized to guarantee loans to motor vehicle manufacturers and suppliers for advanced conservation and fuel efficiency motor vehicle technology projects which would produce new vehicles, not to exceed 10,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight, including gasoline and diesel vehicles, flexible fuel vehicles, and hybrid electric vehicles, that reduce dependence on oil and the emissions of GHGs.
Sponsor: Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) (4 cosponsors)
H.R.6266: 21st Century Energy Independence Act, which would authorize the Secretary of Energy to make loan guarantees for cellulosic ethanol production technology development in order to ensure the availability of 200% of the volume of renewable fuels required to be available in the United States by 2013 under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Additionally, this bill would reduce CO2 emissions from the production and use of renewable fuels by 25%.
Sponsor: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) (25 cosponsors)
Proposed House Amendment (Inslee #50) New Apollo Energy Amendment, which establishes a national goal of reducing total CO2 emissions in the United States to the 2000 level by 2015. (Similar to H.R. 2828 but does not include the H.R. 759 GHG cap-and-trade provision.)
Sponsor: Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) – Action: 4/19/05: The sponsor requested the opportunity to offer the provision as an amendment in the nature of a substitute to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (H.R.6) during debate by the House, but was denied the opportunity by the House Rules Committee (an instrument of the House majority party).
H.R.6356: America's Domestic Fuels Act, which, among other things, would direct the Department of Energy to provide grants to states for research into the applicability of carbon dioxide capture and sequestration technologies, including adsorption and absorption techniques and chemical processes, to coal gasification as an energy source in ethanol production.
Sponsor: Rep. Jerry Costello (D-IL) (4 cosponsors)
H.R.6417: Climate Change Investment Act of 2006, which, among other things, would establish a greenhouse gas intensity reduction investment tax credit for projects that reduce GHG emissions, improve efficiency and in the case of projects located outside the United States, provide technology transfer. The amount of the credit would be dependent on the percentage reduction in GHG intensity, with a limitation of $600,000,000 for each of calendar years 2008 through 2012, and zero thereafter.
Sponsor: Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA)
S.726: Natural Gas Price Reduction Act, which would, among other things, make federal financial assistance for a gasification plant contingent in part on a determination that the plant would be carbon sequestration ready. Sponsor: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
S.727: Natural Gas Price Reduction Act, which would, among other things, make tax incentives for gasification combined cycle technology contingent in part on the technology being carbon-capture ready.
Sponsor: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) (2 cosponsors)
S.957: Clean Coal Power Initiative Act, which, among other things, would provide financial assistance for coal-based gasification projects with priority given to those that separate or capture CO2, and would authorize funding for R&D for CO2 capture technology. Sponsor: Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) (1 cosponsor)
S.1133: Clean Coal Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment Act, which, among other things, would promote the development and deployment of technologies that would capture and sequester CO2 emissions from powerplants that utilize coal.
Sponsor: Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) (2 cosponsors)
S.1238: Public Lands Corps Healthy Forests Restoration Act, which, among other things, would make enhancement of a forest's carbon sequestration as a "priority project" for eligible service under the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003.
Sponsor: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (2 cosponsors) – Action: 7/20/05: Hearings held in the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
S.Amdt.953: Amendment would establish a program of carbon capture research and development at DOE.
Sponsor: Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM)
S.Amdt.989: Amendment would establish a program of carbon capture research and development at DOE. (Similar to S.Amdt.953)
Sponsor: Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) – Action: 6/22/05: Filed as an amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (H.R.6), and accepted by voice vote. 8/8/05: Enacted into law as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-190). (See H.R.6 above.)
H.R. 1128: The bill would allow a tax credit for CO2 captured from anthropogenic industrial sources and used as an injectant in enhanced oil and natural gas recovery.
Sponsor: Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX)
H.R.2875: Public Lands Corps Healthy Forests Restoration Act, which would make enhancement of a forest's carbon sequestration as a "priority project" for eligible service under the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003. (See S.1238.)
Sponsor: Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) (1 cosponsor) – Action: 7/14/05: Hearings held in House Resource Committee's Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health.
S. 1205: Ratepayers Protection Act, which would require the Congressional Budget Office to report to Congress on the effect on certain disadvantaged individuals (e.g., low-income, disabled, and minority groups) of actions taken or considered by regulated electric utilities to reduce their CO2 emissions. The bill would also prohibit regulated electric utilities from recovering additional costs from ratepayers for reducing CO2 emissions, and prohibit state utility commissions from compelling ratepayers to pay any amount incurred by a regulated public utility for reducing CO2 emissions.
Sponsor: Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
S.Amdt.900: Ratepayer Protection, which would require the Congressional Budget Office to report to Congress on the effect on certain disadvantaged individuals (e.g., low-income, disabled, and minority groups) of actions taken or considered by regulated electric utilities to reduce their CO2 emissions. (Similar to S.1205)
Sponsor: Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) – Action: 6/22/05: Filed as an amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (H.R.6), but not offered.
EME Homer City Generation v. EPA (United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, August 21, 2012).
In this case, the Court was asked to decide whether new EPA regulations defining emissions reduction responsibilities for SOX and NOX for upwind states that are major contributors to air quality problems in downwind states, exceed the scope of the Clean Air Act. The Petitioner challenged the EPA's "Transport Rule" (also referred to as the Cross-State Air Pollution rule and before that as the Clean Air Interstate rule) which defined emission reduction responsibilities for NOx and SOx for states that, because of prevailing weather patterns, are major contributors to air quality problems in downwind states. The rule interprets the "good neighbor" provision of the Clean Air Act, which requires state emissions standards to ensure that in-state sources do not have significant detrimental impacts on air quality in other states. The rule defines the emissions reduction responsibilities of each contributing state under the good neighbor provision and prescribes Federal Implementation Plans to implement those responsibilities at the state level.
Holding: On August 21, 2012, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) vacated the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). The Court's opinion also directed EPA to continue administering the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) until the agency can finalize a replacement. The majority's decision reads the Clean Air Act narrowly and places substantial restrictions on EPA's flexibility in addressing cross-state air pollution issues. In particular, it finds that two elements of the CSAPR exceed EPA's authority under the Clean Air Act: (1) EPA's two-step process for determining each listed upwind state's emission reduction obligations; and (2) EPA's imposition of Federal Implementation Plans (FIPs) simultaneously with its quantification of the states' reduction obligations, without first allowing each state to submit a compliant State Implementation Plan (SIP).
First, the court found that the emissions reduction requirements imposed on upwind states were disproportionate in relation to the states' contributions to downwind air pollution problems. The court also concluded that the EPA exceeded its statutory authority by prematurely issuing Federal Implementation Plans to impose obligations on states. Under the Clean Air Act, standards are set at the federal level but states "bear primary responsibility for attaining, maintaining, and enforcing them" through State Implementation Plans. The court held that the EPA should only step in to impose a federal plan when states fail to submit a workable plan. In this case, states were not given the initial right to submit a workable plan, a right granted to them in the Clean Air Act.
Implications: The court's decision vacates the CSAPR, but also directs EPA to continue administering the CAIR. Therefore CAIR will apply until EPA finalizes a new replacement rule.
Potential future rehearing: On October 5, EPA requested a rehearing of the D.C. Circuit's decision vacating the agency's Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). On January 24, 2013 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied the petition for rehearing, and rehearing en banc. On March 29, 2013, the Department of Justice, on behalf of the EPA, filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the D.C. Circuit's decision to vacate the CSPAR. On April 22, nine states, five cities and the District of Columbia urged the Supreme Court to grant U.S. EPA's request to review D.C. Circuit's decision.
Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality v. EPA (Fifth Circuit, July 20, 2012).
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality filed a lawsuit in June, 2012, alleging that EPA erroneously rejected state-issued Clean Air Act permits that for the first time included GHG limits. The lawsuit contests EPA's March 23, 2012 order disapproving Title V operating permits for a steel plant in St. James Parrish, Louisiana. EPA rejected the permits because it stated that the plant's cumulative emissions impacts were underestimated by dividing the plant's operations into two permits instead of aggregating them. Among other things, the lawsuit alleges that the permits meet the minimum requirements of the Clean Air Act and that EPA's objection was untimely. This case remains pending at this time.
Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA (United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, June 26, 2012).
Background: The Endangerment Finding, the Tailpipe rule, the Tailoring and Timing rules, (the four rules that were challenged and later upheld in this case) originated with the Supreme Court's decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007), arguably the most influential climate change decision to date. In Massachusetts, the Supreme Court held that GHGs are "air pollutants" under the Clean Air Act and ordered EPA to come to a science based conclusion as to whether GHG pollution from new motor vehicles causes or contributes to an endangerment of public health and welfare. In December 2009, EPA responded by issuing an Endangerment Finding. The Endangerment Finding concluded that (1) six classes of GHGs endanger public health and welfare by causing global climate change, and (2) the GHGs emitted from new motor vehicles contribute to GHG pollution, which in turn, endangers public health and welfare. The natural outgrowth of the Endangerment Finding was rules imposing greenhouse gas restrictions on automobiles. These rules, collectively known as the Tailpipe Rule, established GHG emission standards for light duty motor vehicles in model years 2012-2016. They were issued by EPA in May 2010 and took effect on January 2, 2011. Finally, EPA determined that the Clean Air Act required major stationary sources of greenhouse gases to obtain construction and operating permits. To avoid overwhelming regulatory burdens on greenhouse gas producers who needed permits, the agency issued Timing and Tailoring Rules (PSD and Title V permitting) The 'Timing Rule" is EPA's ruling regarding when regulations of GHGs would begin whereas the Tailoring Rule establishes what sources are subject to regulation; (it "tailors" the requirements of these Clean Air Act permitting programs to limit covered facilities to the nation's largest greenhouse gas emitters: power plants, refineries, and cement production facilities).
Suit was brought by various state and industry group petitioners, who challenged all four EPA GHG actions (the Endangerment Finding, the Tailpipe Rule, the Timing and the Tailoring rule), alleging that they are based on improper constructions of the Clean Air Act or are otherwise arbitrary and capricious. The Court (U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit) had to decide whether these GHG regulatory rules were legally permissible under the Clean Air Act.
Holding: The Court found that 1) the Endangerment Finding and the Tailpipe Rule were not arbitrary and capricious, 2) EPA's interpretation of the Clean Air Act as it applies to stationary sources is "unambiguously correct" and 3) the petitioners lacked standing to challenge the Timing and Tailoring Rules.
Endangerment Finding: Among other things, petitioners alleged that the Clean Air Act required EPA to consider policy in making its Endangerment Finding. They also challenged the adequacy of the scientific record supporting the Endangerment Finding. The Court rejected these claims, finding that the Clean Air Act precludes EPA from basing the Endangerment Finding on policy considerations and that EPA's ultimate conclusions were based on overwhelming scientific record. Affirming the adequacy of EPA's scientific record, the D.C. Circuit also found that EPA was justified in relying on "major assessments" of climate science produced by the National Academy of Sciences, US GCRP, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other institutions, and emphasized that EPA must be afforded an "extreme degree of deference" on scientific matters within EPA's expertise.
Tailpipe Rule: Petitioners claimed that EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously in failing to consider the cost implications of its motor vehicle regulations on stationary sources (i.e., by triggering new source review). Petitioners also alleged that EPA failed to show that the Tailpipe Rule was justified by the risks identified in the Endangerment Finding or that the rule would mitigate those risks. The Court rejected this argument, instead finding that the Clean Air Act imposes a non-discretionary duty on EPA to regulate emissions from motor vehicles once it makes an endangerment finding. Finally, the Court found that the Clean Air Act does not require motor vehicle regulations to achieve a particular level of mitigation, but, even so, noted that EPA did find that the Tailpipe Rule would result in meaningful reductions of GHG emissions. The D.C. Circuit did not reach the merits of petitioner's argument. Rather, the court found that all of the petitioners lacked standing to bring this claim because they failed to demonstrate that the Tailoring Rule caused them "injury in fact," and in addition, even if the rule was repealed this would not remedy the situation.
Note: EPA's authority to regulate GHGs under the Clean Air Act was unanimously affirmed by the Court in this case. EPA has recently moved forward to finalize more stringent GHG emission standards for motor vehicles for model year 2017-2025.
Building Industry Association of Washington v. Washington State Building Code Council (Ninth Circuit, June 25, 2012).
The Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court decision that found that an energy-efficient building energy code adopted by the Washington Building Code Council in 2009 met the requirements for obtaining an exemption under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA). Specifically, the court held that the 2009 Code met all seven requirements for obtaining a building code exemption under the statute. EPCA sets federal energy efficiency guidelines for residential appliances used in buildings, including heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment. EPCA also requires that states adopt and periodically revise their building energy codes to comply with the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). While EPCA prohibits imposing state regulations that are stricter than those set by the IECC, it does allow for exceptions for state energy codes as long as they meet seven enumerated requirements. In February 2011, the district court held that the Council did not violate EPCA when it enacted the 2009 Code. Specifically, the court held that the 2009 Code met all seven of EPCA's requirements to obtain a building code exception under the statute. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that the Code met all seven requirements to obtain an exception.
Las Brisas Energy Center LLC v. EPA (D.C. Circuit Court, filed June 11, 2012) White Stallion Energy Center, LLC v. EPA, (D.C. Circuit Court, filed June 12, 2012).
The Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS) Rule (standards administered by the EPA that require power plants to limit their emissions of toxic air pollutants) has been challenged by the coal-fired energy sector, whose various players have filed suit. Upon filing, several developers of new coal-fired Electric Generating Units (EGUs) asked the D.C. Circuit to expedite their challenges to EPA's rule, showing the time sensitive nature of this suit. As the new-unit developers explained, on the one hand, EPA's MATS Rule prevented them from constructing their projects because the standards are so low they cannot be measured or guaranteed; while on the other hand, the proposed GHG New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) would require them to commence construction within one year or be subject to EPA's new proposed standards for greenhouse gas emissions. Though the NSPS allow compliance flexibility by allowing plants to average reductions across years, opponents claim that the standards are difficult for coal fired power plants to meet because the commercialization of the technology is still developing. The D.C. Circuit granted the motion to expedite, severed the new-unit developers' claims from the consolidated case, and put their case on a fast track schedule for briefing and oral argument that will have the case decided by the end of the year. EPA filed response in January, 2013. Limited reconsideration by EPA of new unit standards and startup shutdown and malfunction requirements. See Litigation is currently underway.
Chabot-Las Positas Community College District v. EPA (Ninth Circuit, May 4, 2012).
In this case, the Ninth Circuit upheld the first power plant permit that includes a GHG emission limit. In endorsing the permit, the court found that EPA's decision not to require a 24-hour particulate matter standard in an area re-designated as a nonattainment area during the permitting process was supported by precedent.
Center for Biological Diversity v. EPA (United States District Court for the District of Columbia, March 20, 2012).
Several environmental groups filed an action seeking to force EPA to regulate GHG emissions from aircrafts, ships, and non-road engines used in heavy industrial equipment. According to the complaint, these sources produce about a quarter of the GHG emissions from mobile sources in the United States but have not yet been regulated by EPA. In a July 2011 decision, the district court held that EPA is not required to issue endangerment findings under the Clean Air Act for GHG emissions from marine vessels and non-road vehicles and engines but held that it is required to issue such findings for aircraft engines. EPA moved to dismiss several additional causes of action in the complaint concerning GHG emissions and black carbon from non-road vehicles and engines. The district court denied the motion as moot given that EPA agreed to respond to three outstanding petitions by plaintiffs within ninety days.
Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands v. EPA (Ninth Circuit, February 17, 2012).
Several environmental and Alaska Native groups filed an action in the Ninth Circuit seeking to overturn two air quality permits issued by EPA to Shell for offshore Arctic drilling operations. The permits allow a ship owned by Shell and several support vessels to operate in both the Chukchi Sea and the Beaufort Sea. The authorizations are "major source" permits, which allow Shell to emit more than 250 tons of pollutants annually and to adhere to the Clean Air Act's prevention of significant deterioration requirements. Among other things, the plaintiffs contend that greenhouse gases and black carbon from the ships will accelerate the loss of snow and sea ice in the Arctic to the detriment of members of the Alaska Native communities. This case is currently pending.
Texas v. EPA (Fifth Circuit, February 24, 2011).
Texas and two industry groups (the Utility Air Regulatory Group and the SIP/FIP advocacy group) filed lawsuits challenging an EPA rule known as the "greenhouse gas SIP Call," which requires states to change their air quality state implementation plans to allow them to issue new source review permits for GHG emissions from large new and modified stationary sources such as power plants. Though originally filed in the Fifth Circuit, it was transferred to the D.C. Circuit on the ground that the SIP call rule is a nationally applicable regulation that the Clean Air Act specifies can only be reviewed by the D.C. Circuit.
Texas refused to add GHG emissions to the air pollutants covered by state permits for new and modified stationary sources under the prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) program, a Clean Air Act permitting program. The Program applies to all pollutants that do not exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in an area. The Clean Air Act allows EPA to issue federal implementation plans in states that either would not or were unable to change their own laws and regulations and their state implementation plans by January 2, 2011, to allow PSD permitting for GHG emissions. Consequently, EPA has assumed PSD permitting for GHG emissions in Texas, a move that Texas has opposed. For example, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on February 11, 2011, in support of the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, a bill that would bar EPA from regulating GHG emissions under the Clean Air Act. Texas's February 11 petition for review is its fourth challenge to EPA's program of regulations for GHG emissions and its third in the D.C. Circuit. See Texas v. EPA, No. 10-1425 (D.C. Cir. filed Dec. 30, 2010); Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA, No. 09-1322 (D.C. Cir. filed Dec. 23, 2009); Texas v. EPA, no. 10-60961 (5th Cir. filed Dec. 15, 2010). Texas filed separate suits challenging both the Interim and Final FIPs. The cases have been consolidated by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and are currently pending.
Chamber of Commerce v. EPA (United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, January 18, 2011).
Background: Provisions of the Clean Air Act permit the EPA to allow states to adopt their own automobile emissions standards under certain circumstances, exempting them from federal preemption. Under these rules, EPA has historically granted California the authority to set its own automobile emissions standards. In 2004, California sought an EPA waver in order to adopt its own greenhouse gas emissions standards for new cars beginning in model year 2009. In September 2009, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) petitioned the D.C. Circuit for review of the EPA's decision to grant a waiver allowing California to set its own automobile standards. They argued that California lacked justification for promulgating its 2004 standards for fleet-average GHG emissions for new vehicles. They argued that the regulation, which took effect in 2009, would hurt their members in California and other states that have signed onto the California rules because it would increase the manufacturing cost of vehicles and dictate the mix of vehicles with which auto manufacturers would supply them, which could cost them sales if the mix does not match market preferences.
In September 2009, the D.C. Circuit dismissed the case, finding that petitioners lacked standing to seek review and that a subsequent agreement on emissions standards between the EPA and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, harmonizing California and national standards, had mooted the case. The D.C. Circuit never reached the question of whether the California rules are justified because it concluded that the auto dealers had not asserted an imminent or actual injury that was fairly traceable to implementation of the state rules and could be redressed by a favorable court decision.
The court was presented with the following issues: 1) whether the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Automobile Dealers Association had standing to challenge EPA's grant of a waiver to California to implement its own emissions standards under the Clean Air Act; and 2) whether the case was mooted by California's subsequent compliance with national emissions standards.
Holding: In January of 2011, the three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court found that "Because the Chamber has not identified a single member who was or would be injured by EPA's waiver decision, it lacks standing to raise this challenge." The dealers too, it said, had failed to prove economic harm. The Court held that even if EPA's decision to grant California a waiver for its emission standards once posed an imminent threat of injury to the petitioners, the agency's subsequent adoption of federal standards has eliminated any independent threat that may have existed.
Sierra Club v. Jackson (2009-2011).
September 2009: EPA ordered Kentucky officials to set emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants for a coal-fired power plant as part of an agreement settling a former lawsuit. Under the order, the Kentucky Division of Air Quality was required to revise the operating permit issued to the plant to include a MACT standard for mercury and other air toxics. EPA issued the order as part of a consent decree with the Sierra Club. The decree required EPA to take action on a revised operating permit to be issued to the plant. Sierra Club had sued EPA, alleging that it failed to take action on the operating permit for the plant within the time frame required by the Clean Air Act, after EPA had ordered state officials to strengthen the permit's pollution control requirements.
Different lawsuit filed by Sierra Club against Jackson:
July 2010: A Federal Court dismissed a lawsuit seeking to force EPA to stop the construction of three coal-fired power plants in Kentucky, holding that it lacked jurisdiction over the matter. The lawsuit alleged that because Kentucky's State Implementation Plan (SIP) under the Clean Air Act was out of date, EPA was required to stop the construction of new sources of air pollution. EPA claimed that its ability to intervene was discretionary and that federal courts lacked jurisdiction to force it to act in such cases. The district court agreed and dismissed the case.
July 2011: The D.C. Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by the Sierra Club seeking to compel EPA to halt construction of two power plants in Kentucky. The lawsuit alleged that because Kentucky's State Implementation Plan (SIP) was out of date, EPA was required to stop the construction of new sources of air pollution. EPA claimed that its ability to intervene was discretionary and that federal courts lacked jurisdiction to force it to act in such cases. The district court agreed and dismissed the case. The D.C. Circuit affirmed the decision, holding that the Administrative Procedure Act does not provide a cause of action to review the EPA Administrator's failure to act under Sec. 167 of the Clean Air Act.
On April 2, 2007 the Supreme Court released its ruling in the case of the state of Massachusetts vs. the Environmental Protection Agency. Massachusetts and eleven other states, along with several local governments and non-governmental organizations (petitioners), sued the EPA for not regulating the emissions of four greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), from the transportation sector. The petitioners claimed that human-influenced global climate change was causing adverse effects, such as sea-level rise, to the state of Massachusetts. In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled in favor of Massachusetts et al, finding that EPA has the authority to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gases. The decision was written by Justice Stevens and was signed by Justices Kennedy, Souter, Bader Ginsburg, and Breyer. Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Alito, Scalia, and Thomas dissented. The Court's findings are summarized below:
The EPA argued that Massachusetts et al could not prove standing in this case. The Court ruled that Massachusetts et al do in fact have standing in challenging EPA's decision not to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gases from the transportation sector. Standing requires injury, causation, and the existence for a remedy. The Court found that EPA's refusal to regulate CO2 has led to "actual" and "imminent" harm to the state of Massachusetts, mainly in the form of rising sea-levels along the state's coast. The ruling also noted that "the harms associated with climate change are serious and well recognized." The Court also found that "given EPA's failure to dispute the existence of a causal connection between man-made greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, its refusal to regulate such emissions, at a minimum, contributes to Massachusetts' injuries." Finally, while acknowledging that regulating greenhouse gases from motor vehicles alone will not reverse global warming, the Court found that domestic action such as this can play a role in slowing or reducing warming.
EPA Has Authority to Regulate Greenhouse Gases
The EPA argued that it was not given the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate CO2 or other greenhouse gases. The Court challenged the EPA's refusal to regulate CO2 as an air pollutant under the statute. The Court found that CO2 fits within the statute's broad definition of an air pollutant. Further, the Court stated that "EPA identifies nothing suggesting that Congress meant to curtail EPA's power to treat greenhouse gases as air pollutants." In its case, the EPA argued that regulating CO2 would require regulating fuel economy standards, which – according to the EPA – is under the purview of the Department of Transportation. The Court countered the EPA by recognizing that multi-agency efforts can indeed overlap when addressing an issue as important as global climate change: "The fact that DOT's mandate to promote energy efficiency by setting mileage standards may overlap with EPA's environmental responsibilities in no way licenses EPA to shirk its duty to protect the public health and welfare." Protecting public health and welfare is a duty mandated by the Clean Air Act.
EPA Must Protect Public Health and Welfare
Finally, EPA argued that even if it was granted authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, it would be "unwise to do so at this time," stating that it might conflict with the current administration's effort to address climate change, particularly with regard to international climate negotiations. The Court found EPA's argument that regulating emissions from the transportation sector "might hamper the President's ability to persuade key developing nations to reduce emissions" to be insufficient. Rather, according to the Court, "A reduction in domestic emissions would slow the pace of global emissions increases, no matter what happens elsewhere." Further, the Court ruled that "under the Act's clear terms, EPA can avoid promulgating regulations only if it determines that greenhouse gases do not contribute to climate change or if it provides some reasonable explanation as to why it cannot or will not exercise its discretion to determine whether they do." Finally, the Court found unreasonable EPA's argument that regulation of CO2 in the transportation sector would not make significant reductions in emissions, noting that although enforcing regulations may not by itself reverse global warming, it is the duty of EPA to take such a step in order to "slow or reduce" global warming.
This opinion is important for national and local climate change policy. Not only does it open the door to regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, but is also likely to catalyze calls for more comprehensive federal climate change legislation (pdf) – legislation that covers sectors other than transportation as well as non-CO2 greenhouse gases. This ruling could lend support for state efforts such as the California legislation intended to regulate greenhouse gases as a pollutant in the transportation sector. In turn, expanded state activity will likely build even more pressure for a more uniform federal program.
Read more about GHG emissions standards in the transportation sector.
Read the complete Ruling (pdf).
Green Mountain Chrysler Plymouth Dodge Jeep v. Crombie (D. Vt. Sept. 12, 2007).
Green Mountain Chrysler Plymouth Dodge Jeep v. Crombie was a case brought by individual car manufacturers, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, and several car dealerships located in the State of Vermont against state agencies. The plaintiff automotive groups sought to invalidate Vermont's efforts to adopt the standards of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for the "California car." The 240-page ruling was issued following a bench trial and the Supreme Court's decision in Mass. v. EPA. The arguments to invalidate the regulation were based on express and implied preemption of the Vermont standards by the Energy Policy and Conservations Act (EPCA) or, alternatively that the standards were invalid due to a conflict between the EPCA and the Clean Air Act (CAA). Additionally, an argument was made for foreign affairs preemption, which claimed that the regulation would inappropriately interfere with the President's ability to negotiate an international agreement to address greenhouse gases. Plaintiffs originally had additional claims under the dormant commerce clause, the Sherman Antitrust Act, and the Clean Air Act prior to trial, but these claims were dropped. Several citizens' groups, the State of New York, and Denise M. Shaheen, in her capacity as Commissioner of Environmental Conservation of the State of New York also joined the State as intervenor-defendants.
The State and citizens' groups attempted to dismiss the case because of ripeness. The ripeness claim was based on the lack of a section 209 preemption waiver of the CAA granted to California by the EPA. A waiver is required before the California standards can take effect. Without such a waiver, the California standards are preempted under the CAA. Vermont's legislation was not to be effective until the preemption waiver was granted to California. Section 177 of the CAA would then allow other states, such as Vermont, to adopt the California standards. Although California had not received the waiver, the United States District Court of Vermont ruled that the trial could proceed on the preemption issues and the court's ruling would be based on the assumption that the EPA granted the waiver to California. The court reasoned that the plaintiff automakers faced a "realistic danger of sustaining a direct injury" necessary to proceed with a declaratory judgment, because the companies must act now to redesign their automobiles in order to comply with the new standards. The court's decision to proceed with declaratory judgment was also supported by findings that the regulation had been formally enacted and the constitutional challenges were as concrete now as they would be in the future.
The court started its preemption analysis by determining that the CAA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases and more specifically the California's standards allowed under the CAA were not preempted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) obligation to comply with the EPCA. The court found that California's regulations and, consequently, Vermont's would become part of the federal "regulatory backdrop" upon the grant of the CAA preemption waiver. The court then found Congressional intent through case law and legislative history to allow California's regulations to be considered "other motor vehicle standards of the Government" which the NHTSA must consider when formulating fuel economy standards under section 32902 of the EPCA. The court found additional support for agency collaboration in Executive Order 13432 which requires coordination of regulatory action where possible. The court also cited the Supreme Court's ruling in Mass. v. EPA, which determined that there is "overlap" but no conflict between the two statutes. For these reasons, the court concluded that preemption doctrines do not apply to the interplay between section 209 of the CAA and the EPCA, because the alleged conflict is between federal schemes whereas preemption requires a federal scheme to forbid the implementation of a state scheme. Despite this finding, the court conducted a standard preemption analysis because the express language of the EPCA's preemption provision appears to forbid the Vermont regulation, and the plaintiffs alleged that the Vermont regulations result in an actual conflict with the EPCA fuel economy standards.
The court's preemption analysis then turned to whether the EPCA's preemption clause expressly preempts Vermont's regulation, because it is essentially a fuel economy regulation or it is related to fuel economy standards. In order to find express preemption, the court must find that it was the "clear and manifest purpose of Congress" to supersede power of the state. The court found that Congress had not stated such intent because of legislative history indicating that regulation of air pollution from mobile sources was traditionally a state responsibility prior to the CAA, and the regulation of greenhouse gases from mobile sources was an area "regarded as a cooperative state federal legislative effort." The court also found that the Vermont regulation was not a "de facto fuel economy" standard, because there are ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without regulating fuel efficiency such as the use of alternative fuels. The court then found the Vermont standards were not "related to fuel economy standards" as prohibited by the EPCA. The court reached this finding because the EPCA was enacted against a backdrop of other federal laws that affected motor vehicles and could affect fuel economy such as the CAA, noise emissions standards, and safety standards but did not discuss displacing them in the EPCA's legislative history. Furthermore, the court found that the CARB standards could not be preempted, because the NHTSA was required by the EPCA to consider California standards when determining the maximum feasible average economy. Accordingly, the court rejected the express preemption challenge.
The court then rejected the issue of field preemption. Field preemption occurs when state law attempts to regulate in a field that Congress intended for the federal government to occupy exclusively. Congressional intent in field preemption cases must be "clear and manifest" where the area has "been traditionally occupied by the States." The court found this was not the case, because the Supreme Court found in Mass. v. EPA that "the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from motor vehicles is not the exclusive province of the federal Department of Transportation." The court also cited the Supreme Court's determination that the EPA's obligation to protect public health and welfare under the CAA may include carbon dioxide. Furthermore, the district court found that Congress was well aware of the CAA practice of granting California waivers when it passed the EPCA and the scheme does not express sufficient dominance of the field that an EPA-approved state regulation would be precluded. These reasons led the court to conclude that a "clear and manifest intent to render the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from motor vehicles exclusively a federal domain."
The court also rejected the claim of conflict preemption. A state statute is found to be preempted to the extent that it intrudes upon Congressional objectives expressed by a federal statute. The plaintiffs claimed that the conflict occurred in three ways: "first, that it frustrates Congressional intent to maintain a single, nationwide fuel economy standard; second, that it upsets the balance that NHTSA has chosen to strike in setting 'maximum feasible average fuel economy' levels by restricting consumer choice, reducing employment in the domestic automobile industry, and decreasing traffic safety; and third, that EPA's waiver process will not ensure the absence of a conflict with EPCA objectives." The court rejected the first argument by citing Mass. v. EPA's finding that Congress anticipated the overlap and allowed the NHTSA to consider the effects of such other standards when formulating the NHTSA standard. The second and third arguments were also rejected. There the district court stated that the plaintiffs failed to carry the burden of showing that "compliance with the regulation is not feasible; nor have they demonstrated that it will limit consumer choice, create economic hardship for the automobile industry, cause significant job loss, or undermine safety." Here the court went through the trial record and cited testimony demonstrating past successes of technology-forcing legislation, changing consumer trends, and current trends of emissions reductions through alternative fuels, hybrid vehicles, and efficiency technologies as evidence that the plaintiff's burden was not met.
The final claim rejected by the court was foreign policy preemption. A state law may be preempted if, in absence of a federal statute or treaty, the state law "impairs the effective exercise of the Nation's foreign policy." The plaintiffs made two arguments. The first argument was that "Vermont's regulation is preempted in the absence of any conflict with national foreign policy, by virtue of its intrusion into foreign affairs." The court rejected this argument by stating that Vermont's regulation "exemplifies" the "cooperative federal state approach" to climate change described in a State Department letter to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Furthermore, the district court cited the Supreme Court's conclusion in Mass. v. EPA that "while the President has broad authority in foreign affairs, that authority does not extend to the refusal to execute domestic laws." Therefore, the district court rejected the first foreign policy preemption argument.
The plaintiffs' second foreign policy preemption argument was that "the regulation is preempted because there is a 'sufficiently clear conflict' with an 'express foreign policy of the national government.'" The plaintiffs claimed "that there is an express national foreign policy against the adopting unilateral binding limitations on GHG emissions in favor of a comprehensive international response on the issue." The district court was unable to find such a policy and rejected the claim that the United States' disapproval of the Kyoto Protocol was evidence of such a policy. The court also cited the State Department's letter mentioned above as well as the Supreme Court's dismissal of a similar argument in Mass. V. EPA. The district court then concluded that the Vermont regulation was not in conflict with national foreign policy.
Having held that the Vermont regulations were not preempted, the district court ordered judgment for the defendants and upheld the regulation assuming that the CAA waiver was granted to the State of California. California's waiver request was later rejected but is currently being appealed before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
View the case document here
Central Valley Chrysler-Jeep Inc. v. Goldstone (No. CV-F-04-6663 (E.D. Cal. 2006).
Central Valley Chrysler-Jeep, Inc. filed a complaint against James Goldstone, in his capacity as Executive Director of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) claiming that CARB's regulations of greenhouse gasses were preempted by the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), and the foreign policy of the United States. The complaint was joined by plaintiff-intervenor, the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers (AIAM). The case was filed with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California.
On January 16, 2007, CARB was granted a motion for a stay of proceedings pending the outcome Mass. v. EPA before the Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Court's decision in that case was announced on April 2, 2007. After the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Mass. v. EPA, CARB and AIAM moved for summary judgment on the issues of preemption. Additionally, CARB moved for summary judgment on the issue of preemption by the foreign policy of the United States.
California enacted Assembly Bill 1493 (AB 1493) in 2002. The bill required CARB to promulgate "regulations that achieve the maximum feasible and cost-effective reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles" not later than January 1, 2005. The regulations were applicable to new cars in the model year of 2009. CARB was required to consider these time constraints as well as "environmental, economic, social, and technological factors." CARB's regulations were also required to be "[e]conomical to an owner or operator of a vehicle, taking into account the full life-cycle costs of the vehicle." In 2004, the regulations were completed in CARB's Resolution 04-28 (also known as AB 1493 regs).
The district court was first asked to determine whether CARB standards were preempted by the CAA. The court found that California must receive a waiver under section 209 of the CAA in order to enact standards that are more stringent than those offered by the EPA. If California is granted the waiver, other states may then adopt the California standard. The district court conditionally concluded that California and EPA can both promulgate regulations of motor vehicles' greenhouse gas emissions if a waiver is granted. Therefore, CARB's standards were not preempted by the CAA but are subject to the section 209 waiver process. [See discussion in States' news regarding California waiver. –ADD LINK] Additionally, the district court noted that CARB's regulations could also be enacted if new federal legislation enabled California to do so.
The court then addressed the issues of preemption and preclusion under the EPCA. The EPCA requires the Department of Transportation, more specifically the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), to determine the maximum feasible mileage standards for new vehicles on a fleet-wide basis. The NHTSA establishes the standard by considering the following factors: "(1) technological feasibility; (2) economic practicability; (3) the effect of other Federal motor vehicle standards on fuel economy; and (4) the need of the nation to conserve energy." The EPCA also contains an express preemption provision that prohibits states from adopting laws or regulations related to fuel economy standards and, unlike the CAA, has no waiver provision.
In making its determination on the issues of preemption and preclusion the district court noted, "in questions of both preemption of state law and preclusion of federal statutory remedies by other federal statutes, the touchstone is congressional intent." The district court found that the EPCA's provision preempting state laws regulating fuel efficiency does not expressly preempt CARB from reducing greenhouse gasses through AB 1493. The district court reached this decision by citing the Supreme Court's ruling in Mass. v. EPA which indicates Congress intended that there be no conflict between EPA's duty to protect public health and welfare and NHTSA's duty to set fuel efficiency standards through the EPCA. Therefore, the doctrine of conflict preemption does not apply even though there may be overlap between the agencies' obligations. The district court also ruled that "to the extent the enforcement of California's AB 1493 Regulations may be inconsistent with existing CAFE standards," EPCA grants the NHTSA "authority to reformulate CAFE standards to harmonize with the AB 1493 Regulations if, and when, such standards are granted waiver of preemption by EPA."
The district court also stated that no disagreement was found with the United States District Court of Vermont's Green Mountain Chrysler Plymouth Jeep v. Dalmasse in regards to that court's conclusion that a waiver granted under section 209 causes a state's regulations to become federal law not subject to preemption. Instead the court in this case "offered an alternative analysis that avoids the issue of 'federalization' in the hope of adding a measure of clarity to the discussion." In other words, the court here did not rule on the issue of whether CARB's standards were considered federal once a waiver was granted, but instead found that the CARB's standards and the EPCA did not have the necessary conflict required for a finding of preemption if CARB's standards are to be considered state law nor a finding of preclusion if CARB's standard were considered federal by means of the EPA's waiver.
The district court also ruled for CARB on the issue of foreign policy preemption. The district court found that the plaintiffs failed to show that the United States foreign policy is to disallow state-based efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions so that other countries may be leveraged into forming agreements. Furthermore, the court found that the plaintiffs failed to show how AB 1493 will conflict in any way with United States foreign policy. Accordingly, the court found that there was no foreign policy preemption.
The court then rejected the plaintiffs' motions for summary judgment and granted CARB's motions for summary judgment. The court stated that if the EPA granted the section 209 waiver, California and other states adopting California's standard should not be prevented by the doctrines of conflict preemption, express preemption, or foreign policy preemption from enforcing those standards. The district court also rejected the plaintiffs' claims under the dormant commerce clause and the Sherman Antitrust Act.
Central Valley Chrysler-Jeep Inc. v. Goldstone (Ninth Circuit, October 30, 2008)
CLIMATE CHANGE POLITICS: A LANDSCAPE TRANSFORMED
SPEECH BY EILEEN CLAUSSEN, PRESIDENT, PEW CENTER ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
XERISCAPE COUNCIL OF NEW MEXICO, MARCH 9, 2007
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO
It is wonderful to be here in Albuquerque. I am honored to be a part of this conference, and to kick off Session III of these proceedings.
And what a journey you have been on. Your agenda shows that you have moved from the Desert Dryland of Session I through the Middle Ground of Session II . . . and today you have reached Session III: Oasis. I am just glad this Convention Center has ample parking for all of your camels.
Your journey reminds me of an old New Yorker cartoon. It shows a caravan in the desert with the camels piled high. A child in the group asks his mother the age-old question: “Are we there yet?” And the irritated mother replies: “Of course not, we’re nomads!”
So let me begin by paying tribute to the Xeriscape Council of New Mexico for bringing all of us—all of you—together. The Council understands that, when it comes to issues of how we use water and how we interact with the natural environment, we simply cannot continue blindly on our current course. We cannot keep treating the environment as an instrument for meeting our every whim and need. Or, at least, we cannot do this and expect our actions not to have repercussions, some of them quite severe.
I am here this morning, of course, to talk about climate change. And, given the Council’s interest in water issues, I want to talk a little bit about the relationship between climate change and water supplies. But, mostly, I want to talk about politics.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: Oh, great. Someone is here from Washington to talk about politics. As if we don’t get enough politics in the news already.
But what I want to talk about is the politics of climate change—and how the political landscape in this country is changing in favor of stronger action to protect the climate. And it is changing for the same reason that events such as this conference are attracting more and more participants. Because people recognize that we have some very serious environmental problems on our hands—and because people see that there are solutions.
Of course, I am talking about people like you. And I am also talking about people like New Mexico’s governor, Bill Richardson.
Just last week, as I am sure you know, Governor Richardson joined with the chief executives of four other western states in a bold agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change. I’ll talk more about this later, but for now I merely want to alert you to the fact that solutions to climate change are sprouting up right here in your own backyard. New Mexico and its neighbors, in fact, are at the vanguard in showcasing the new politics of climate change that I want to talk about today.
But let me start with a few words about water. Earlier this year, a United Nations panel called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a highly anticipated report on the current science of climate change. This report represents the combined efforts of hundreds of top scientists from around the world. And it received a great deal of attention in the media—chiefly, for confirming once and for all that sea level and global temperatures both increased at an accelerating pace during the 20th century.
Also newsworthy was the fact that the IPCC expressed a much higher level of confidence than in past reports (a greater than 90-percent certainty, in fact) that the changes we are seeing are the result of human actions. The primary culprit, of course, is emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels.
But there was other news in the IPCC report as well—and a lot of it had to do with water. For example, the report confirmed that mountain glaciers and snow cover have declined on average in both the northern and southern hemispheres. It also found that more intense and longer droughts have been observed over wider areas since the 1970s, particularly in the tropics and subtropics.
And that just covers what has happened to date. The IPCC also issued projections for the decades ahead. And, again, the news is not good. Global temperatures, according to the report, will rise by 3.2 to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, and sea levels will rise one-half to two feet. In addition, there is a 90-percent or greater chance that the world will see more hot extremes, heat waves and heavy precipitation events. And it is likely that we will see more droughts as well.
There it is: the dreaded D-word. The likelihood of more droughts is an obvious concern for people across the Southwest. The American Meteorological Society held a briefing on the IPCC report the other week in Washington, and Dr. Richard Seager of Columbia University made some very sobering points.
He said the report essentially confirms that the southwestern United States began a transition to a drier climate at the end of the 20th century, and that a new, drier climate is, in fact, well established as the 21st century gets under way. According to state-of-the-art models, conditions approximating a perpetual 1950s-style drought are likely to become the new climate of the Southwest in the decades to come.
In other words: If you want to keep a garden in New Mexico, and if you’re not into xeriscaping now, there is a 90-percent or greater chance you will be soon. There is no doubt about it: the changing climate will have serious implications for the Southwest. It will affect development, the allocation of water resources, cross-border relations with Mexico, everything.
And that’s just the forecast for the Southwest. Looking more broadly, the most recent IPCC report confirms beyond any reasonable doubt that climate change is a real problem, that it is caused in large part by human activity, and that it will accelerate in the years to come. If there is any silver lining in the contents of this report, it is this: the IPCC has provided the latest in a long line of scientific studies and pronouncements that have helped to change the political landscape on this issue in favor of solutions. And that is what I would like to talk about during the remainder of my remarks.
In his January State of the Union address, President Bush called global climate change a “serious challenge.” And, while his answers to the challenge fall far short of doing what’s needed, it is a remarkable rhetorical (and political) u-turn for this White House to even acknowledge that this is a challenge, let alone a serious one.
The reason for the u-turn can be found in part, as I said, in the increasing scientific certainty about climate change. Every month, it seems, the scientific case for action has become stronger—to the point that no responsible, thinking person can any longer deny that this is a real problem.
But science is not the only force that has compelled this White House and others to see that it is in their political interest to go public with their concern about this challenge. Equally important, I believe, is the fact that this Administration has become politically isolated on this issue, as governors and congressional leaders have stepped up and not only acknowledged the challenge but tried to shape real solutions.
The announcement last week by the five Western governors is a perfect example of this. People are not happy about the lack of leadership on this issue from Washington, and they’re setting out to fill the void.
Under the western governors’ agreement, New Mexico would join with Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington to set a regional target for greenhouse gas emissions. And, by August 2008, the states will establish a market-based system to enable companies and industries to meet the target as cost-effectively as possible. These five states combined emit more carbon dioxide than Canada, while accounting for more than 11 percent of total U.S. emissions. So this is a significant achievement.
New Mexico also is one of 12 U.S. states that have adopted their own statewide targets for capping and, ultimately, reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. And New Mexico’s are among the most ambitious targets out there--emissions will reach 2000 levels by 2012, they will be 10 percent below 2000 levels by 2020, and 75 percent below 2000 levels by 2050.
In December, Governor Richardson signed an executive order to help the state reach its targets. Among the steps he approved were the creation of a greenhouse gas registry, advances in technology to capture and store carbon emissions from power plants, and the promotion of renewable fuels.
New Mexico is the first major coal, oil and gas-producing state to set targets like these. New Mexico also is working with its neighbors in Arizona on a plan called the Southwest Climate Change Initiative. The goal: to pursue collaborative opportunities to reduce emissions.
The residents of this state deserve to be proud of all of the forward-looking things that are happening right here to address climate change. But New Mexico is not alone among the states. Over the past several years, lawmakers from coast to coast have been embracing new programs and policies to reduce their states’ greenhouse gas emissions.
California, like New Mexico, established an ambitious greenhouse gas emissions target—and California has gone the next step and passed legislation, with real enforcement, to give the targets the force of law. California also has taken steps to begin regulating carbon dioxide emissions from cars and trucks (a policy that 10 other states are poised to follow if it survives a legal challenge from the automakers). If the courts uphold it, California’s new standard for vehicles will reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions in the state by 30 million tons by 2020.
Many, many states are taking steps to rein in their emissions. For example, 22 states, including large emitters like Texas and California, have required that electric utilities generate a specified amount of electricity from renewable sources. Twenty-eight states have climate action plans.
And other states are working across their borders in the same spirit as New Mexico and its western neighbors. Seven Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states have signed their own regional initiative. Known as RGGI, it is aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in the region.
Now, you might think that one state’s actions could not possibly affect a global problem like climate change. But if you combine the RGGI states with the five western states that are taking collaborative action, that’s 22 percent of U.S. emissions that could soon be subject to emission targets under a market-based system. If all of these states were a single country, they would be the fourth largest emitting nation in the world. And consider this: California’s emissions exceed those of Brazil. Texas comes out ahead of Canada, the UK and Mexico. And Illinois produces more CO2 than the Netherlands.
States are a significant part of the climate problem, and many of them are showing they can be a significant part of the solution as well.
The states also are showing that it is politically possible to take action on this issue. In November, Governor Richardson was reelected to office with the support of 69 percent of New Mexico voters. It was the largest margin of victory for any governor in the history of the state. Think his support for serious action on climate change hurt him at the polls? Doesn’t look like it.
The same goes for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Polls have confirmed that his strong support for climate action helped him enormously with California voters in the 2006 election. The governor won the election with a strong 56-percent majority of the vote, vs. 39 percent for his Democratic opponent.
So, yes, the politics of climate change are different today. And it is not only because state leaders are stepping up and advancing solutions to the problem. Business leaders, too, have gotten into the act—making the case that it is possible to protect the climate while also protecting—and, in many cases, advancing—our goals for economic growth.
At the Pew Center, we work with a council of leading businesses that are committed to protecting the climate. Our Business Environmental Leadership Council began with 13 companies; it now includes more than 40 companies representing more than 3 million employees and with a combined market value of over $2.4 trillion. Members include a who’s who of U.S. corporate leadership, from Alcoa and GE to IBM and Intel, and many more. What are these companies doing to protect the climate? Here are a couple of examples: Over the last 20 years, Alcoa has reduced the electricity required to produce a ton of aluminum by 7.5 percent. Another Council member, IBM, has instituted energy conservation measures that resulted in a savings of 12.8 billion kilowatt hours of electricity between 1990 and 2002. The resulting reduction in carbon dioxide emissions: 7.8 million tons. And the resulting savings to the company’s bottom line: $729 million in reduced energy costs.
We can’t cut emissions? These companies don’t think so. And they’re showing it’s possible to do so in ways that do not compromise economic growth.
For many if not all of these companies, addressing climate change is about both opportunity and risk. Many business leaders see real risks to their operations from climate change. According to the global insurance giant, Allianz, climate change already is increasing the potential for property damage at a rate of between 2 and 4 percent every year. Tourism, agriculture, insurance, finance … all of these industries (and more) face serious and compelling risks. And consider the risks for electric utilities and other businesses that do nothing to address this issue now—and then are forced to play a costly game of catch-up down the road as governments finally (and inevitably) get serious about reducing emissions.
On the other hand, there are also many obvious opportunities tied to developing and deploying new and emerging low-carbon technologies. GE, for example, has committed to doubling its investment in environmental technologies to $1.5 billion by 2010. That is the equivalent of starting a new Fortune 250 company focused exclusively on clean technology.
Ten years ago, corporate America was a reliable ally for those opposed to any kind of serious action to address climate change. Well, that’s just not the case any more. And, in fact, many of the companies we work with are combining independent, voluntary action to reduce their emissions and develop climate-friendly technologies with high-profile public support for new policies to protect the climate.
Just last month, several of the businesses on our Council joined with the Pew Center and others in a high-profile appeal for U.S. government action to address climate change. The group is known as the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, and this wasn’t just a blanket call for government to do something. Rather, the USCAP group issued a specific proposal with specific targets and timetables—a real plan of action to slow, stop and reverse U.S. emissions.
Among the companies that were part of this unique call-to-action was Albuquerque’s own PNM Resources. PNM, of course, is the energy holding company whose utility and energy subsidiaries provide power to 941,000 homes and business in New Mexico and Texas.
Now, think for a moment about how an announcement like this changes the political landscape on this issue. When Fortune 500 CEOs take a stand for policies that in the past were tagged by private sector leaders as extreme or unwarranted, and worse, it moves the politics to a new place. Like the state leaders who have come out in favor of strong and effective policies, the business leaders we’re working with are sending a clear message to Washington, and the message is this: We must act to address this issue now, and we can do it without putting our economy at risk.
And Washington, finally, is beginning to listen. Beyond the President’s rhetorical bows to climate change, our nation’s elected leaders are laying the groundwork for substantive action on this issue in the months and years ahead. In 2005, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan measure calling for a national, mandatory, market-based program to slow, stop and, ultimately, reverse the growth in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Although the measure was nonbinding, it marked the first time the Senate has gone on record to support mandatory action on this issue.
And now, there is a new Congress in place with leaders who are strong supporters of climate action. The change at the top of the U.S. Senate committee with jurisdiction over climate change is a case in point. Gone as chairman is Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who infamously referred to climate change as a quote-unquote “great hoax.” Replacing him is Senator Barbara Boxer of California, who could not pose more of a contrast as author of one of the most aggressive climate bills yet introduced in Congress.
In addition to Senator Boxer at the head of the Environment and Public Works Committee, we now have a Senate Majority Leader and a Speaker of the House who consistently have supported mandatory climate action. And we have leaders of other key committees on both sides of Capitol Hill who have expressed their support for action.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has signaled her intention to have the House pass a climate bill by July 4. And the biggest political development of the year on this issue may be that Congressman John Dingell of Detroit now agrees that it’s time to act.
As chairman of the powerful House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Congressman Dingell has long been considered an obstacle to serious action on climate change. But now he is saying that his committee will report a bill by early June. And his support for action, I believe, is very likely to bring in other Democrats who have been less than enthusiastic, and more Republicans too.
What all of these developments point to, if all the stars align, is a so-called “cap-and-trade” bill emerging from Congress, potentially before the 2008 elections. In the Senate alone, there are currently five bills proposing some form of cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions
Cap-and-trade, as most of you know, is a policy that requires emissions reductions while allowing companies to trade emission credits. The most important benefit of this approach: it establishes a value for emissions reductions, as well as an economic advantage for technologies that can achieve them.
The cap-and-trade model already has proven successful in this country in reducing emissions of the pollutants that cause acid rain. We know it can work. Cap-and-trade, in fact, is how California intends to achieve its emission targets. It is also the basis for the multi-state plans I mentioned here in the West and back East as well.
So there is, in fact, a great deal of movement on this issue in Washington. And there is additional pressure for solutions due to the upcoming 2008 Presidential contest. (Well, I suppose you can’t call it an “upcoming” contest anymore—sadly for all of us, it is already well under way).
In any case, on the Democratic side you have a number of candidates who have pledged to make climate change an important part of their platforms. And, among the Republicans there is U.S. Senator John McCain, who co-wrote the first cap-and-trade bill in the U.S. Congress way back in 2003. Conveniently, his measure currently is co-sponsored by two colleagues named Obama and Clinton (meaning we could see at least one point of agreement during the 2008 presidential debates).
Given the support for climate action among these high-profile contenders for President, I believe that the words “cap and trade” will become an important part of the political dialogue in this country in the lead-up to the 2008 election. And I also believe that, given the changed politics on this issue, it is plausible that the United States could have this kind of mandatory policy in place by 2008, and it’s likely we will have such a policy by 2010.
But implementing a cap-and-trade policy, while critical, is not all we need to do. We need a wider range of policies. We need to invest in research to develop some of the most critical, long-term, climate-friendly technologies. And we need policies to ensure that technologies that reduce emissions can gain a solid foothold in the marketplace.
And then there are policies aimed at specific sectors of the economy. For example, governments around the world have adopted more stringent policies than the United States to reduce tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions and/or increase the fuel economy of cars and trucks. Even China has higher standards than we do. If all of these countries are doing this and we aren’t, that says to me that it’s possible—that, despite the automobile companies’ resistance, technologies exist to reduce emissions from this sector. And by adopting tougher but reasonable standards, we can hasten the rollout of cost-effective, commercially available technology to reduce vehicle emissions.
It is also going to take international policies. This, too, is not in question. Climate change is a global problem requiring global action. Even if we were to get smarter about reducing the United States’ contribution to climate change, global energy use will continue to surge and climate change will remain a significant threat. We cannot protect the climate without a global framework that enlists all countries to do their part to reduce emissions, and that provides poorer countries with the support they need to do so.
And, in fact, a number of countries around the world already are taking action on this issue, which is another factor that has changed the political landscape here in the United States. The European Union, for example, has adopted its own emissions trading scheme. And countries like the United Kingdom have embraced ambitious goals for reducing their emissions and developing low-carbon energy sources.
While all of these other countries are moving forward, however cautiously, and trying to figure out how to reduce their emissions, the United States until now has remained largely on the sidelines. And we have remained on the sidelines despite the enormous risks that climate change poses for our economy—and the enormous economic opportunities as well.
As both the risks and the opportunities become clearer to U.S. leaders, the political landscape will continue to change. And we will see our country come around, once and for all, and embrace real action to protect the climate—and to ensure that our water supplies and other resources are protected as well.
And, by real action, I am talking about more than a prevention-only approach. Although reducing greenhouse gas emissions is critical to limiting the ultimate damage caused by climate change, it is clear that we must also adapt to what is already here and coming in the near future. The latest IPCC report tells us that, even if we stopped emitting greenhouse gases today, the average temperature of the earth would continue to rise significantly for decades to come, precipitation patterns would continue to change, and sea level would continue to rise for hundreds of years because of the inertia in the climate system. Obviously, we will not stop emitting greenhouse gases today, so the changes to come will be significant. We are going to have to adapt.
By reducing your water demand, you—the xeriscape community—are in the vanguard of the grassroots adaptation movement. But in the same way that voluntary action alone is not enough to prevent the worst effects of climate change, voluntary action alone will not ensure we can adapt. There is an essential role for government and public policy, including lots of planning at the local and state levels for droughts, storms, water shortages, extreme heat and other consequences. Water supplies, storm drainage, peak power capacity, emergency care and relief systems, evacuation planning—all of these and more will have to be enhanced.
There will be large costs associated with adaptation but there will be no choice, as the alternative is simply to suffer. Fortunately, we do have an opportunity, through aggressive mitigation, to minimize both the ultimate costs of adaptation and the amount of human suffering that our children and grandchildren will have to endure in the future. Every dollar spent avoiding climate change will save more dollars spent later on adapting to and repairing the damage.
Looking forward, the challenge of reaching agreement on effective national climate policies is not all that different from the challenges you face as gardeners. We need to prepare the soil by making our opinions known. We need to turn all of these buds and shoots I have talked about into healthy, thriving plants. And we need to pay close attention to issues of design—how we design policies to work together in the most effective ways.
In closing, I will go back to the question posed by the child in the caravan of camels: “Are we there yet?” And the answer is, we are certainly not. But unlike the nomads in the cartoon, we at least have a clear destination. We just need to get going.
Thank you very much.