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Climate Policy Watch

Senate Hands Consolation Prize To Proponents Of Mandatory Climate Program

Opponents of greenhouse gas controls failed June 22 to block Senate approval of a non-binding resolution calling for Congress to adopt a mandatory climate change program, handing proponents of binding rules a consolation prize after the 38-60 defeat of a proposal by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) for a cap-and-trade emissions program.

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EXPERTS PREDICT CLIMATE CHANGE WILL LOWER KEY HYDROPOWER OUTPUT

Energy experts are predicting that climate change in California and the West will decrease hydroelectricity generation in key summer months and force officials to seek more expensive, higher-polluting replacement energy. The experts also say that none of the hydropower operators are directly factoring this anticipated impact into future planning. But a representative with a major utility said experts are closely tracking potential climate change impacts, but believe they can manage future impacts with operational changes that are not uncommon today.

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NORTHEAST CLIMATE PLAN FACES CHALLENGES IN SITING GAS, WIND PROJECTS

NEW YORK -- A pending Northeast initiative to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will face significant challenges in its implementation, due in part to expected local opposition to siting low-emitting natural gas or renewable energy sources, officials familiar with the initiative say.

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SENATE SUPPORT GROWS FOR MODEST CLIMATE CHANGE LEGISLATIVE PLAN

Proponents and opponents of mandatory greenhouse gas programs say there is growing Senate support for creating a modest climate change program as part of upcoming Senate energy legislation.

Some observers say there may even be enough support for creating a modest permit program for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions along the lines of an amendment likely to be offered by ranking energy committee Democrat Jeff Bingaman (NM), although they caution the issue is still fluid.

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PAVLEY DRAFTS TIGHTER GHG EMISSION TARGETS, ENFORCEABLE CUTS

Assemblywoman Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) is drafting legislation that may make the state's new greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets more stringent and may set enforceable deadlines and recommend mandatory policies for air officials to use when promulgating rules to achieve the targets, according to Pavley and sources close to the issue. Amendments to an existing Pavley bill with these provisions are expected to be made within the next two weeks, according to a legislative source.

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WESTERN AIR GROUP QUIETLY CONSIDERS ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE

The Western Regional Air Partnership (WRAP), which was formed to tackle regional haze in Western states, may take on the politically charged issue of climate change after agreeing to hold a second board meeting on the topic this summer.

The issue is sensitive because some member states, including Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, are unlikely to support mandatory action to reduce greenhouse gases. The group is administered by the Western Governor's Association.

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Western States Take Steps To Consider Regional Effects Of Climate Change

The Western Regional Air Partnership (WRAP), which was formed to tackle regional haze in Western states, may take on the politically charged issue of climate change after agreeing to hold a second board meeting on the topic this summer.

The issue is sensitive because some member states, including Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, are unlikely to support mandatory action to reduce greenhouse gases. The partnership is administered by the Western Governors' Association, which is currently headed by Colorado Gov. Bill Owens (R).

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CALIFORNIA DRAFTS CAP-AND-TRADE OPTIONS IN CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY

The California EPA (Cal/EPA) has completed options to pursue a statewide greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade program, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is expected to soon announce emission reduction targets for the state, sources say.

The effort has national implications because of California's size and the potential that other states may follow suit, sources say.

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WESTERN AIR GROUP QUIETLY CONSIDERS ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE

The Western Regional Air Partnership (WRAP) is considering delving into the politically sensitive issue of addressing climate change. The group, which was formed to tackle regional haze in Western states, has agreed to hold a second board meeting on the topic this summer to discuss what -- if anything -- it wants to do on the issue.

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AUTOMAKERS AIM TO KEEP ARB GHG CHALLENGE IN COURT THAT RULED IN ZEV CASE

Auto industry attorneys are arguing that their lawsuit challenging the air board's greenhouse gas (GHG) emission regulation should stay in the federal district court in Fresno County, which favored them in a 2002 suit over the board's zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) regulation. Air board attorneys are seeking a transfer in venue to Sacramento based on technical federal venue rules, but several sources said the likely principal reason is to avoid the judge that ruled against them in the ZEV case.

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