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Climate Policy Watch

FORMER U.S. OFFICIALS READY CRITIQUE OF VOLUNTARY ENVIRONMENTAL PLANS

Two former government officials are poised to release a new book early next year which analyzes voluntary programs for addressing environmental problems such as climate change and finds most programs have positive but limited results, according to a description of the upcoming book.

The book's release comes amid continuing pressure on the Bush administration to reevaluate its emphasis on voluntary rather than mandatory efforts to curb greenhouse gases, as well as calls to reassess the administration's current voluntary approaches for encouraging greenhouse gas reductions.

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ENVIRONMENTALISTS TOUT POWER PROJECT AS CLIMATE CHANGE TEST CASE

Environmentalists are touting their fight against a proposed Midwestern energy project as a test case of their ability to force greater scrutiny of the environmental and financial viability of new coal fired power plants given growing discussion of possible greenhouse gas emissions limits in the next few years.

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NEW YORK PLAN FOR CO2 AUCTION MAY HOLD LIMITED VALUE AS U.S. MODEL

A groundbreaking New York state proposal to sell, rather than give away, emissions allowances under the Northeast's climate initiative -- considered to be a national model -- is raising questions about whether an auction approach would be politically viable under a federal program, given resistance from major electricity generators that would have to pay for the allowances, according to observers on all sides of the debate.

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EPA-FUNDED MODEL FINDS EARLY ACTION EASES CO2 COSTS, BENEFITS UNCLEAR

BALTIMORE -- A new EPA-funded risk framework examining how global policy options could affect the potential impact of climate change indicates immediate regulatory action could offer significant long-term savings but may also provide uncertain benefits, according to an official at a consulting firm developing the framework.

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FORMER U.S. OFFICIALS READY CRITIQUE OF VOLUNTARY ENVIRONMENTAL PLANS

Two former government officials are poised to release a new book early next year which analyzes voluntary programs for addressing environmental problems such as climate change and finds most programs have positive but limited results, according to a description of the upcoming book.

The book's release comes amid continuing pressure on the Bush administration to reevaluate its emphasis on voluntary rather than mandatory efforts to curb greenhouse gases, as well as calls to reassess the administration's current voluntary approaches for encouraging greenhouse gas reductions.

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NEW MEXICO CLIMATE PLAN WILL HELP SET FLOOR IN UPCOMING FEDERAL DEBATE

An aggressive climate change agreement between stakeholders in New Mexico will pressure the state's two senators -- who are both expected to play key roles in next year's federal climate change debate -- because the state plan sets a floor that the lawmakers will not be able to cross, sources say.

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Warner Decision To End Bid For EPW Ranking Slot May Slow CO2 Bills

Sen. John Warner's (R-VA) decision to end his bid to be ranking member on next year's Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) will likely slow the panel's debate on climate change bills, because his decision means outgoing Chairman Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) -- the Senate's leading climate skeptic -- will now assume the top minority slot.

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House Lawmakers Cite Climate Concerns To Press For Renewable Energy Funds

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is for the first time citing climate change concerns to press President Bush to fully fund renewable energy mandates and programs in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT) during fiscal year 2008. In a Dec. 8 letter to President Bush, 80 House members are urging full funding in FY08 for the renewables programs, which they argue "have the most immediate and longest lasting positive effect on energy availability, stable prices, and greenhouse gas emissions."

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States, Utilities Divided Over Role Of Carbon In Building New Plants

States and utilities are split on whether or not to include a price for carbon into cost projections for proposed coal-fired power plants, amid conflicting studies from the federal government and outside groups projecting future energy prices.

Environmentalists also received a setback when they lost a recent lawsuit in Wisconsin, asking a utility to factor the price of carbon into its cost projection for a new power plant.

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GOP Changes On Senate Environment Panel May Boost CO2 Bill Prospects

Republican plans to make Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) a member of the Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee could significantly boost the chance that legislation mandating carbon dioxide (CO2) cuts could successfully pass the committee with bipartisan support because Alexander is a key co-sponsor of a bill to mandate cuts in utility air pollution, including CO2.

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