U.S. States & Regions
States and regions across the country are adopting climate policies, including the development of regional greenhouse gas reduction markets, the creation of state and local climate action and adaptation plans, and increasing renewable energy generation. Read More
On September 24, 2004, the California Air Resources Board voted to issue regulations implementing legislation passed in 2002. The legislation directs the ARB to adopt regulations that would achieve the "maximum feasible and cost-effective reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles." The standard will require that tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles be reduced by 22 percent by the 2012 model year and 30 percent by the 2016 model year. Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont currently follow California’s vehicle emission standards, and may opt to either adopt the new regulations, or fall back to federal standards. New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut have already indicated that they will follow California’s standard. The cost-effective reduction measures identified by the staff include discrete variable valve lift, dual cam phasing, turbocharging with engine downsizing, automated manual transmissions, and camless valve actuation. The ARB expects that the regulations will add around $1000 to the cost of a new car in 2014 but that the increased up-front cost will be more than offset by decreased operating costs over the life of the vehicle. The regulation will apply only to model years 2009 and later. The Board considered the final staff proposal at a public hearing in September 2004, and the ARB is required by law to adopt standards by January 1, 2005. The standards will not enter into effect until January 1, 2006, to give the legislature time to review the regulations and modify them, if necessary.
September 15, 2004
Contact: Katie Mandes
IS GLOBAL WARMING CAUSING THE HURRICANES?
Straight answers from a reliable source—The Pew Center on Global Climate Change
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Is there a connection between the recent severe weather events and global warming? Some are suggesting the 2004 hurricane season is unprecedented; but is it really?
Scientists know that higher ocean temperatures are more suitable for hurricane formation (especially major hurricanes), while lower temperatures are associated with less active hurricane seasons, so the speculation is that hurricanes will increase in frequency or intensity in a warmer world.
“While there is much we can say about global warming with a high degree of confidence, the incidence of severe weather and its link to global warming is an area that requires further research,” says Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, “The ability of scientists to predict the potential response of hurricanes to global warming is very limited at the moment, so there is little that can be said with confidence.”
Claussen, who is widely regarded as one of the most credible resources on the topic of climate change, is a former Secretary of State for the Oceans and Environment and currently works with business leaders, policy-makers, scientists, and other experts to bring a new approach to a complex and often controversial issue. Her approach is based on sound science, straight talk, and a belief that we can work together to protect the climate while sustaining strong economic growth.
The Pew Center on Global Climate Change has compiled a list of the frequently asked questions concerning a possible link between global warming and hurricanes.
- Is this year’s hurricane season unusually active?
- Will global warming create more hurricanes in the future?
- Will global warming create other types of severe weather?
- Will damage from severe weather become worse in the future?
- What can we do to reduce the consequences of severe weather?
The Pew Center has become a catalyst for collaboration in the business community, a key advisor to Congressional and international policymakers, and most importantly, an honest broker on the issue of climate change.
On September 3, 2004, the California legislature passed a bill allowing drivers of hybrid electric vehicles to use high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, even if the driver is the only occupant. In order to go into effect, the bill would have to be signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, after which the state would have to obtain federal approval because California’s 1,200 miles of HOV lanes were built using federal funds. The bill, AB 2628, requires the state to distribute decals to owners of hybrid vehicles that average at least 45 miles per gallon, up to a maximum of 75,000 vehicles. Virginia already has a program in place allowing hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles to use HOV lanes, even with only one occupant. Similar legislation is included in the federal transportation bill now under consideration in the U.S. Congress, and has also been introduced in the state legislatures of Georgia, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Washington. The goal of the legislation is to encourage the purchase of hybrid vehicles, in order to achieve energy security benefits and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
On July 21, 2004, officials from eight states and New York City filed a lawsuit that seeks to force five utilities to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. The states are basing their action on federal common law of public nuisance, arguing that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that endangers the health of their citizens. The lawsuit would require that the utilities reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by increasing efficiency, investing in cleaner technologies, and increasing the use of their existing cleaner and more efficient electricity generation facilities. The plaintiff states are California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin. The utilities – American Electric Power Co., Southern Co., Xcel Energy Inc., Cinergy Corp., and the federally run Tennessee Valley Authority – emit 646 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, or about 25 percent of power sector emissions and 10 percent of the nation’s total emissions. This is the first time any state has filed a lawsuit against a company for emitting carbon dioxide. The plaintiffs are not requesting financial compensation.
On June 29, 2004, Rhode Island Governor Donald L. Carcieri signed the Clean Energy Act, which requires state electricity retailers to derive at least 3 percent of the electricity they sell in state from renewable energy by December 31, 2006. The percentage of renewable energy required will then rise 1 percent per year through 2020, though the Rhode Island Public Utility Commission (PUC) is authorized to revise the schedule after 2013. Existing renewable resources may only contribute 2 percent of the required amount of renewables in any year; the rest must be from new renewable energy production. All energy for compliance must be generated in or delivered into the New England Power Pool electric grid, and compliance will be tracked using New England Generation Information System certificates, an accounting system for generation attributes. The law includes a number of flexibility mechanisms designed to lower the cost of compliance, including credit for adding renewables ahead of schedule and limited carry-over of credits from year to year. The PUC is directed to adopt regulations to implement the standard by December 31, 2005. The PUC is to design the regulations to achieve substantial greenhouse gas emission reductions, among other goals.
On June 22, 2004, the Western Governors' Association (WGA) unanimously resolved to examine the feasibility and actions required to reach a goal of 30,000 megawatts of clean energy by 2015 and a 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency by 2020. The Governors will also examine what is needed to meet the West's generation and transmission needs over the next 25 years. The resolution cites the need to protect against energy shortages and price spikes, accommodate the population's growing energy needs, position the Western energy system to respond to environmental challenges, and take advantage of new technologies that will lower the cost of renewable energy and of controlling emissions from the fossil fuel resource base. According to the resolution, the project will stress "incentive-based, non-mandatory approaches," and it will also consider federal programs that could assist in reaching the goal. The WGA will form a diverse working group to develop policy proposals for achieving these goals. By November 2004, the Western Governors’ Association will develop a charter and budget for the working group, and secure funding for its operation.
Hawaii has enacted a law that requires the state's public utilities to provide 8 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by December 31, 2005. The percentage of renewables required rises to 10 percent in 2010 and by 1 percent every year thereafter, reaching 20 percent in 2020. The bill, signed by Governor Linda Lingle on June 2, 2004, cites the legislature's concern with Hawaii's growing dependence on oil imports. It allows the Public Utilities Commission to excuse a utility from meeting the standard if the Commission determines that the standard could not be met in a cost-effective manner or as a result of circumstances beyond the utility's control. The bill also directs the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism to undertake certain projects to support the private sector's development of renewable energy projects.
Maryland has adopted a renewable portfolio standard that requires the state’s electricity suppliers to generate increasing percentages of their electricity from renewable sources beginning in 2006. The legislation, which passed by a veto-proof margin in April by the House and the Senate, was signed by Governor Robert Ehrlich on May 26, 2004. The law requires that electricity suppliers produce 1 percent of their electricity from “Tier 1” renewable resources in 2006; the portion of renewables required rises by 1 percent every two years, reaching 7 percent in 2017. Tier 1 renewable resources include solar, wind, ocean, qualifying biomass, geothermal, landfill or wastewater methane, renewably-fueled fuel cells, and small hydroelectric plants. The law also requires that 2.5% of the portfolio each year be produced through either Tier 1 or “Tier 2” resources, until 2017, when all renewable generation must be from Tier 1. Tier 2 includes hydroelectric power, incineration of poultry litter, and waste-to-energy.
On May 6, 2004, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney released the state's new Climate Protection Plan, saying "we have chosen to put our emphasis on actions, not discourse." The plan identifies several near-term actions the state will take under existing authority to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. It adopts the goal agreed upon by the New England Governors/Eastern Canadian Premiers of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2010, to 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and over the long term to 75 to 80 percent below currently levels. The state will lay the foundation for this work by improving its assessment of emissions and trends, by developing a statewide greenhouse gas inventory and tracking system and by requiring large emitters to report their emissions. Among the action items contained in the plan are reducing the climate impact of state agency operations, adopting energy efficiency standards for appliances, involving cities and towns as Climate Protection partners, providing incentives for hybrid vehicles, supporting clean energy, improving public transit and encouraging its use, creating an emissions banking and trading program, and adopting California's greenhouse gas standard for vehicles. In addition, the Climate Protection plan will make Massachusetts the first state in the nation to require that expected CO2 emissions be taken into account in planning new transportation projects.
Read the Plan
Connecticut Legislature Requires Climate Plan and Greenhouse Gas Reporting
The Connecticut legislature passed a bill on May 5, 2004, establishing a state goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2010, to 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and eventually to a level 75 to 80 percent below current levels over the long term. The goals are consistent with Connecticut's commitment to the Climate Change Action Plan adopted in 2001 by the Conference of the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers. The legislation requires the Governor's Steering Committee on Climate Change to develop a climate action plan by January 1, 2005 to achieve these first two reduction goals and to develop a plan by January 1, 2008, to achieve the long-term goal. Governor Rowland, who has indicated that he will sign the bill, has already accepted 38 recommendations of the Steering Committee, which presented an initial report in January 2004. The bill also requires the Department of Environmental Protection to establish a greenhouse gas registry, to which all entities and facilities that must report other air emissions at either the state or federal level will be required to report direct greenhouse gas emissions, beginning July 1, 2006. Starting July 1, 2008, all entities and facilities with combined direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions exceeding 10,000 tons CO2-e will be required to report both direct and indirect emissions. Entities and facilities not required by law to report emissions may choose to report voluntarily.