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Climate Policy Watch

CAL/EPA PANEL DETAILS GHG CAP OPTIONS, BACKS OFF FUEL TAX

In a revised final report to the governor and Legislature, the Cal/EPA-led Climate Action Team (CAT) this week recommended the establishment of a cap on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to be met through a multi-sector, market-based system. The new version of the report backs off a previously recommended fuel tax, saying such a charge should be considered rather than definitely pursued by state officials.

The CAT report is seen as a critical tool for lawmakers and Schwarzenegger Administration officials to decide what path to take to reduce GHG emissions in the state.

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Northeast States Offer First-Time Guide For Measuring Climate 'Offsets'

Unprecedented new guidelines for Northeast states to evaluate special projects, known as "offsets," allowing power plants to obtain credit for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, are likely to prompt heated debate among environmentalists and industry over whether a project should qualify as an offset if it is already receiving government subsidies or other incentives.

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New Research To Explore CO2 Capture From Conventional Coal Plants

The electric power industry is pursuing a first-time research project on how to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from conventional pulverized coal plants, instead of building more costly integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) facilities that are not yet in widespread commercial use.

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ACTIVISTS BLAST DOE REPORT SEEKING AIR ACT WAIVERS FOR CLEAN COAL

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is strongly criticizing a recent report from Energy Department advisers which calls for Clean Air Act exemptions to encourage use of new clean coal technologies, such as plants that gasify coal to produce electricity or liquify it to produce vehicle fuels.

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OIL PRICE ADJUSTMENT FAILS TO FORCE INCREASE IN NEW FUEL ECONOMY RULE

The Bush administration's March 29 rule setting new corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for light trucks and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) maintains standards close to what was outlined in a proposal last year even though the rule takes into account higher oil prices that environmentalists and other observers have cited to argue for stricter standards.

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NEW RESEARCH TO EXPLORE CO2 CAPTURE FROM CONVENTIONAL COAL PLANTS

The electric power industry is pursuing a first-time research project on how to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from conventional pulverized coal plants, instead of building more costly integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) facilities that are not yet in widespread commercial use.

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ACTIVISTS FOCUS ON CONSUMER HABITS AHEAD OF CLIMATE BILL PUSH IN 2007

Proponents of mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions are pushing a consumer awareness campaign to help build grassroots support after the midterm elections for legislation to reduce greenhouse gases.

Although the Senate is now considering a myriad of proposals for addressing greenhouse gas emissions, observers generally agree that no legislation is likely to move forward before November, because of the issue's political sensitivity.

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CAFE RULE SUGGESTS EPA LIKELY TO DENY CALIFORNIA GREENHOUSE WAIVER

EPA is expected to deny a pending request by California for a Clean Air Act waiver to set vehicle emissions standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized a corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) rule last week that included language concluding that states are preempted from setting greenhouse gas standards for automobiles.

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RGGI STATES OFFER FIRST-TIME GUIDE FOR MEASURING CLIMATE "OFFSETS"

Unprecedented new guidelines for Northeast states to evaluate special projects, known as "offsets," allowing power plants to obtain credit for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, are likely to prompt heated debate among environmentalists and industry over whether a project should qualify as an offset if it is already receiving government subsidies or other incentives.

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Automobile Group Takes Low Profile In Climate Change Discussions

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a coalition of U.S. and foreign automobile manufacturers, is declining to participate in a series of public discussions aimed at addressing climate change, begging off the recent Senate energy committee conference on the issue and seeking to block discussion of the issue in an EPA advisory committee's deliberation on how to factor climate change into air quality planning.

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