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Climate Policy Watch

INHOFE EYES HEARING TO DEBUNK CLIMATE CHANGE-HURRICANE INTENSITY LINK

Senate environment committee chairman James Inhofe (R-OK), a long-time skeptic of scientific claims that greenhouse gas emissions contribute to climate change, will likely use already planned hearings to debunk recent claims by environmentalists that the effects of climate change increases the intensity of storms, like Hurricane Katrina.

Supporters of Inhofe's effort say such a hearing could be aimed at preempting hearings by Senate proponents of climate controls, such as Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who may seek to bolster such a link.

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CALLS FOR CHANGES MAY COMPLICATE UPCOMING NORTHEAST CLIMATE PLAN

Northeast states are facing competing pressures from industry and consumer and environmental groups to make changes to what would be the nation's first mandatory plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as states work to finalize the program by the end of this month.

Observers say the outside criticism may not necessarily delay the plan, but it could foreshadow complications when individual states develop implementing rules and legislation.

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WARMING RULING COULD HAVE BROAD IMPACT ON ENVIRONMENTAL TORT SUITS

A federal judge's decision last week to dismiss a landmark climate change lawsuit because it represented a "political question" could undermine a host of toxic tort claims that courts consider to be political issues, including pending cases dealing with contamination of the fuel additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), environmentalists and some legal experts say.

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Inhofe Hearing Will Challenge Global Warming-Hurricane Link

Senate environment committee chairman James Inhofe (R-OK), a long-time skeptic of scientific claims that greenhouse gas emissions contribute to climate change, will likely use already planned hearings to debunk recent claims by environmentalists that the effects of climate change increases the intensity of storms, like Hurricane Katrina.

Supporters of Inhofe's effort say such a hearing could be aimed at preempting hearings by Senate proponents of climate controls, such as Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who may seek to bolster such a link.

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Industry Attack May Spell Trouble For California's Greenhouse Gas Controls

California's closely watched effort to potentially develop the nation's first carbon cap-and-trade program is facing stiff opposition from a major auto manufacturing plant, complicating the state's task and possibly foreshadowing obstacles other states and regions may face as they consider adopting similar plans.

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AUTO PLANT OBJECTION TO GHG CAP-AND-TRADE REFLECTS CAL/EPA CHALLENGE

A California plant that assembles select Toyota and General Motors automobiles is the first major industrial facility to outright object to Cal/EPA-floated options for a carbon cap-and-trade program to achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions sought by the governor. The company's objections, along with indications of further industry opposition in the coming months, are making the agency's task increasingly challenging, sources said.

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Report Cites Katrina In Urging Insurers To Reduce Climate Change Risks

A coalition of investment funds and environmentalists is citing the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in a report to insurers on the economic costs of climate change, in an attempt to pressure companies to reduce greenhouse gases. The group argues that it makes good business sense for insurers to assess the financial risks of climate change, and that current climate trends are driving up insurance policy premiums and will eventually limit the availability of coverage.

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GLOBAL WARMING SUIT HIGHLIGHTS APPEALS COURTS' SPLITS ON STANDING

A federal judge's recent decision allowing environmentalists and cities to sue U.S. export agencies over their failure to consider the global warming impacts of their decisions is highlighting a split in the appellate circuits over when plaintiffs have standing to sue in cases where defendants failed to follow procedural rules, according to legal experts. The experts say these differences between appellate courts could be the basis for parties to seek Supreme Court review on the issue.

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GROUPS PREFER MULTI-SECTOR, GEOGRAPHICALLY BROAD GHG TRADING SCHEME

Industry representatives and environmentalists participating in Cal/EPA's initiative to create the governor's greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction program generally agree that a potential carbon cap-and-trade scheme must include multiple industry sectors and should likely extend beyond California. Properly crafting the California proposal is crucial to the future acceptance of such trading programs elsewhere as well as the ability of state participants to eventually dovetail with potential national programs, sources say.

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ENVIRONMENTALISTS CITE GREENHOUSE GASES IN OPPOSING LNG IMPORTS

A California coalition of environmentalists opposed to liquefied natural gas (LNG) is citing greenhouse gas concerns in a lawsuit challenging the state utility commission's long-term plan to boost natural gas supplies through increased imports of LNG.

The argument raises an unusual claim in a case that has attracted national attention as the Bush administration, as well as California, promotes an expansion of LNG processing capabilities as a way to address rising demand for natural gas.

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