Articles Posted in Climate Change

CongressLast month, we reported on the tentative ruling issued by a San Francisco Superior Court judge calling into question the fate of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (better known as AB32). (Click here for the previous blog post.)

Well, last week, Judge Ernest Goldsmith affirmed that ruling. His final order halts implementation of AB32 because the California Air Resources Board violated CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act) by failing to adequately consider certain alternatives to the cap-and-trade system CARB was set to implement. But, all you AB32 fans out there, don’t you worry your pretty little heads!! The ruling does not completely dispose of the law – it simply requires that CARB follow CEQA’s (mainly procedural) rules before they can progress to implementation of the law. CARB has said it will appeal the decision.
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CongressAs I am sure you already guessed, the answer to my silly question in the title to this post is “no”… but it sure seems like that could be the case recently! Tuesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a bill, known as the “Energy Tax Prevention Act” proposed by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gases (GHGs) by defining GHGs out of the jurisdiction of the Clean Air Act.

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Shannon GroveCalifornia Assemblywoman Shannon Grove recently introduced Assembly Bill 333, which seeks to delay California’s AB 32, commonly known as the Global Warming Solutions Act. Adopted in 2006, the Global Warming Solutions Act aims to reduce California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The act tasked the California Air Resources Board (CARB) with implementing this goal. CARB’s efforts to date include the recent adoption of cap and trade regulations.

According to Assemblywoman Grove’s press release, AB 333 “will relieve California business from the costly and burdensome regulations associated with AB32 until the unemployment rate in the county where the business resides falls below 7% for six consecutive months.”
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CourtroomIn a somewhat ironic twist, a San Francisco Superior Court judge has tentatively ruled that the CARB (the California Air Resources Board) violated CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act) (I know, I know, the acronyms never end!) by adopting certain plans for the implementation of California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (better known as AB32), including its adoption of cap-and-trade regulations last year. I know what you’re thinking – “Wait, the implementation of one environmental law has been put on hold by a ruling based on another environmental statute??” Yes, folks. I told you it was ironic.

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In a final report released last week, a review panel consisting of experts from industry, trade groups, academia and an environmental organization concluded that there was a public benefit to utilizing carbon capture and storage (CCS) for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in California. CCS refers to the capture, or removal, of CO2 emissions from power plants and other industrial sources, and the compression, transportation, and injection of it into the subsurface. Among other things, the report also emphasized the need for clear and efficient regulatory requirements and authority for implementing and monitoring CCS.Power Plant

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Recently, the Polluting StacksCalifornia Air Resources Board or ARB adopted its long-anticipated regulations for controlling greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) through a market-based cap and trade system. California’s regulations represent a significant development in the regulation GHGs. California could well set the model for similar controls in other states and will certainly stoke the nationwide debate over GHG regulations.

The ARB will set caps based on 2012 emissions for the state’s largest GHG emitters, including power plants, refineries, and other large industrial facilities. The cap will decline each year. Other sources will be phased in over time. The cap to be set, and the distribution of allowances, will be subject to considerable debate. The allowances will be distributed without cost early in the process, but will transition to an auction based system administered by the ARB.
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On December 1st, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule requiring several states to revise their state implementation plans (SIP) such that New Source Review (NSR) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permits will cover greenhouse gases (GHG). Identified in the “SIP call” are 13 states including: Arizona, Arkansas, our own California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Wyoming. Although our title implies finger-wagging on the part of EPA, the agency indicates it has “worked closely” with the states to “ensure a smooth transition to GHG permitting.”Industrial Facility

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In October of 2009, EPA launched the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program with its issuance of 40 CFR Part 98, requiring reporting of Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from large sources and suppliers in the United States with the goal of gaining more insight into where GHGs are originating and, therefore, ultimately developing policies and procedures for reduction of these emissions. As part of EPA’s ongoing development of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, on November 8, 2010, EPA issued a final rule setting forth the reporting requirements for the petroleum and natural gas industry.Petroleum Facility

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On September 23, 2010, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted targets throughout the State for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles (including automobiles and light trucks). The targets vary by region. In the Greater Los Angeles area, comprising approximately 18 million people, CARB set reduction targets of 8% by 2020 and 13% by 2035. This despite the September 2 vote of the regional council of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) urging CARB to require more modest targets of 6% by 2020 and 8% by 2035.
Cars and Trucks in trafic.
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On August 9, 2010, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) issued its long-awaited draft report implementing SB 375. Passed in 2008 (and recently favorably reviewed by the Urban Land Institute), SB 375 requires targeted reductions of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and 2035 throughout the State. The targets link climate change concerns to reductions in single-occupancy vehicle usage to new housing development and funding of transportation projects through coordinated regional and local planning, an ambitious effort without precedent here or elsewhere.Cars on Street

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