California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger presented the U.S. EPA with a six-month Intent to Sue letter, calling "unreasonable" the EPA's delay in moving on his state's request for a waiver to the Federal Clean Air Act. The requested waiver would let California set tougher car and light truck emission standards and continue its leadership role in fighting global warming greenhouse gases (GHG).
The EPA has long tried to claim that it has no authority over greenhouse gas emissions and has been supported by the Bush administration, as well as by the coal, oil, gas and auto industries. The Supreme Court this month decided, in Massachusetts v. E.P.A., that was just wrong and directed the EPA to either regulate GHG emissions or base their refusal to do so on something in the Clean Air Act, rather than the Bush administration's preferences.
"We will move expeditiously, but we are going to be moving responsibly," EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee during a heated grilling in April.
"It looks like the EPA is trying to drown the waiver process," said Karen Douglas, who directs climate change issues in California for Environmental Defense, according to CNN.
According to the GAO's recent report, the legislative branch of the U.S. government generated over 300 thousand metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in FY 2006. That's the equivalent of over 57 thousand cars, and is an increase over the average of the prior four years. Most of that comes from fossil fuel power plants generating steam or electricity for legislative branch buildings.
Energy audits, more efficiency and switching to renewable energy sources would help, as would switching to fuel-efficient vehicles, says the GAO (with great supporting detail, data, charts and graphs) in its April 25, 2007 report GAO 07-516
Now, here is something the current Congress can do now, without any science-fiction-based climate change deniers vetoing them or slow-rolling them. Let's see them clean up their own house. And senate.
See also: The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol), which calls itself "the most widely used international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions. The GHG Protocol Initiative, a decade-long partnership between the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, is working with businesses, governments, and environmental groups around the world to build a new generation of credible and effective programs for tackling climate change."
"WASHINGTON, D.C. - April 19, 2007 - Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Joe Lieberman, (D-Conn.), and Ranking Member Susan Collins, (R-Me.), Thursday cautioned federal insurance providers to consider the impact of global warming when assessing property risk or face billions of dollars in possible damage claims - at a cost to the American taxpayer and the national debt."
"At a hearing entitled "Dangerous Exposure: The Impact of Global Warming on Private and Federal Insurance," the Senators examined the practices of two taxpayer funded programs, the National Flood Insurance Program, run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), within the Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. According to a report released at the hearing by the Government Accountability Office, both insurance programs have not developed a long-term strategy to deal with the potentially devastating and protracted effects of global climate change, putting them far behind private insurers that have incorporated these risks into their overall assessments."
Increasing costs of federal insurance programs (NFIP and FCIC) driven by climate change threaten long-term fiscal imbalance unless Congress acts, says the GAO.
Quoting from Abstract of GAO-07-760T, April 19, 2007 testimony:
"Weather-related events in the United States have caused tens of billions of dollars in damages annually over the past decade. A major portion of these losses is borne by private insurers and by two federal insurance programs-- the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which insures properties against flooding, and the Department of Agriculture's Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC), which insures crops against drought or other weather disasters. In this testimony, GAO (1) describes how climate change may affect future weather-related losses, (2) provides information on past insured weather-related losses, and (3) determines what major private insurers and federal insurers are doing to prepare for potential increases in such losses. This testimony is based on a report entitled Climate Change: Financial Risks to Federal and Private Insurers in Coming Decades are Potentially Significant (GAO-07-285) being released today."
"Abstract - Climate Change: Financial Risks to Federal and Private Insurers in Coming Decades are Potentially Significant, GAO-07-760T, April 19, 2007"
Scott over at HybridBlog shares a report by Union of Concerned Scientists Washington representative Eli Hopson on the introduction and committee hearings on the Fuel Economy Reform Act, H.R. 1506. Even Michigan's Rep. John Dingell is telling the auto industry they need to start offering solutions instead of obstacles. HybridBlog: Game On: Fuel Economy Bill Hits the House
Meanwhile, my 2007 Prius is averaging 42 mpg around town (55 mpg on roundtrips from Hartford to Boston), and my 22-year old nephew bought his first car for his first real job with proceeds from his first car loan. A 2007 Prius. He's tickled pink, and I'm proud of him doing his part.
According to Reuters, "A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court on [April 2, 2007] overturned a lower court's ruling that would have allowed utility Duke Energy Corp. to modernize aging coal-fired power plants without reducing air pollutants."
Supreme Court overturns Duke clean air law ruling | News | Regulatory News | Reuters