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Climate Policy Watch

Climate Assessment Suit Highlights Key Issues In Looming Policy Debate

New litigation by environmental groups challenging delays in the Bush administration's evaluation of global warming risks highlights a likely avenue for further congressional scrutiny of the Bush administration in the wake of promises of increased climate change-related oversight by newly empowered Democrats on Capitol Hill, according to Hill sources and other observers.

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Cheney Probe Could Bolster Democrats' Energy, Climate Oversight

Democrats' planned oversight investigation next year into Vice President Cheney's energy task force could strengthen Congress' oversight powers, while handing Democrats ammunition to revisit the 2005 energy law; strengthen Democrats' positions in an upcoming debate on climate change and other air quality issues; and tighten the law governing public access to EPA and other government information, according to investigation proponents.

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INVESTOR COALITION SEEKS SEC GUIDANCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE RISKS

A coalition of major institutional investors, organized by the pro-environmental investment group Ceres, recently met with a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to call for federal guidance on corporate disclosure of climate change risk, a move that could represent a first major step by the government on urging specific actions by companies to address global warming.

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GREENPEACE LAUDS GAINS IN PUSHING CLIMATE CHANGE AS ELECTION ISSUE

Greenpeace is claiming victory in a pilot project launched this year to make global warming an issue in House election races, and the group plans to vastly expand the effort in the 2008 congressional races.

The group launched Project Hot Seat in six congressional districts this year, helping to secure victory for at least four environmentally progressive candidates, according to a Greenpeace source.

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MANDATORY CO2 CREDIT PURCHASES EYED AS REMEDY IN CLIMATE SUITS

PHILADELPHIA -- Some legal experts are suggesting that courts could require industry defendants to purchase carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions credits as a remedy in several pending climate change cases, which could help plaintiffs overcome industry arguments that courts are unable to address the issue because the scope of the problem is beyond their jurisdiction.

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CEQ CHIEF STEADFAST ON BUSH CLIMATE POLICY DESPITE ELECTION RESULTS

White House Council on Environmental Quality chief Jim Connaughton is standing firm in his defense of the Bush administration's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions without a mandatory program, despite the recent midterm elections that gave new clout to Democratic proponents of more aggressive GHG controls.

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CLIMATE ASSESSMENT SUIT HIGHLIGHTS KEY ISSUES IN LOOMING POLICY DEBATE

New litigation by environmental groups challenging delays in the Bush administration's evaluation of global warming risks highlights a likely avenue for further congressional scrutiny of the Bush administration in the wake of promises of increased climate change-related oversight by newly empowered Democrats on Capitol Hill, according to Hill sources and other observers.

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SENATE CLIMATE PANELS COULD HEDGE AGAINST POSSIBLE CO2 LAWSUIT LOSS

Incoming Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer's (D-CA) decision to create two separate global warming subcommittees along with a Clean Air Act subcommittee could be a strategy to hedge against a possible Supreme Court ruling that EPA lacks authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2), industry sources and environmentalists say.

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Key Justice Appears To Back States' Standing To Sue In EPA Climate Case

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is considered a key swing vote in environmental cases, appears to be backing states' arguments that they have standing to sue EPA over its failure to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions -- a key procedural hurdle the plaintiffs must cross to have the court address this and other climate change litigation.

During oral arguments Nov. 29, Kennedy asked a series of questions that states, environmentalists and legal observers interpreted as a sign he will back the petitioners' standing to sue.

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Senate Climate Panels Could Hedge Against Possible CO2 Lawsuit Loss

Incoming Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer's (D-CA) decision to create two separate global warming subcommittees along with a Clean Air Act subcommittee could be a strategy to hedge against a possible Supreme Court ruling that EPA lacks authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2), industry sources and environmentalists say.

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