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Climate Policy Watch

Upcoming Statement By Evangelical Christians May 'Tip Scale' For CO2 Legislation

Evangelical Christian groups are planning to release a statement this spring calling for government action to curb climate change emissions, a pronouncement that at least one leader of the conservative movement said will "tip the scale" in favor of carbon control legislation.

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Former Clinton CEQ Chief Says High Fuel Prices May Help Alternative Fuels

Katie McGinty, the former Clinton White House environment chief, is urging federal government officials to resist tampering with rising gasoline and energy prices, arguing that high fuel prices will encourage investments in alternative energy supplies which is good for the environment.

McGinty's sentiment was echoed by an oil industry official who said increased profits will ensure investments in the nation's long-term energy needs.

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McCain Eyes Changes To Climate Bill To Bolster Senate Support

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is considering changes to three key areas of his legislation that would impose first-time economy-wide mandates to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, in an attempt to garner new support for the bill and reclaim votes he lost after adding a provision to offer incentives for nuclear power, a Republican source says.

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FORMER EPA CHIEF REILLY URGES PREPARATION OF GLOBAL WARMING POLICIES

Former EPA Administrator William Reilly is urging agency staff to lay the analytical groundwork for policies to curb global warming, saying such action could help the agency be "constructive" at a time when political will on the issue is lacking.

Reilly's comments came at a Jan. 18 EPA-sponsored event to mark the 35th anniversary of the agency's creation, where former agency administrators generally criticized policymakers, including the Bush administration, for not doing enough on global warming and other emerging environmental problems.

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GROUP URGES DOE TO EXPAND CLIMATE RESEARCH ON NEW TECHNOLOGY

The Climate Policy Center (CPC), a Washington, D.C. think tank, is urging the Department of Energy (DOE) to retool its climate research program to broadly combat climate change using experimental, high-risk technologies, rather than the current focus on technology that may be available sooner but is less promising.

"Someone ought to be looking at a home run," a CPC source says, explaining why the group is pushing for an "exploratory research" program not tethered to technologies such as fossil fuels, nuclear and renewable energy.

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WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL URGES NEW INDUSTRY FOCUS ON CLEAR SKIES

TUCSON -- White House Council on Environmental Quality Chairman James Connaughton urged utility officials gathered here Jan. 23 to redouble their push for Clear Skies legislation in Congress, suggesting the legislation that allows for increased coal use is part of the solution to both air quality problems and high natural gas prices.

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CARPER CONSIDERS CHANGES TO CLEAN AIR BILL, PROMPTING ACTIVIST FEARS

Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE) is considering whether to alter his long-stalled clean air legislation that would reduce emissions of four key air pollutants, changes environmentalists fear could be concessions to the utility industry in an effort to win Republican support and the bill's passage.

Carper told Inside EPA in a Jan. 18 interview that his staff is meeting with the utility industry, environmental groups and other senators' offices "to see what changes if any we should make" to a 2003 version of his clean air bill.

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Group Urges DOE To Expand Climate Research Beyond Technology Focus

The Climate Policy Center (CPC), a Washington, D.C., think tank, is urging the Department of Energy (DOE) to retool its climate research program to broadly combat climate change, rather than focusing on individual technologies that can provide incremental steps in limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

"Someone ought to be looking at a home run," a CPC source says, explaining why the group is pushing for an "exploratory research" program not tethered to technologies such as fossil fuels, nuclear and renewable energy.

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STUDY ON FORESTS' RISKS MAY HOBBLE POLICIES ON 'SINKS' FOR CO2 EMISSIONS

A recently published study detailing potential water and soil damage caused by planting trees to capture and store carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions -- which are known as carbon "sinks" -- could complicate EPA and other groups' policies to encourage the practice as a way to slow global warming, according to one of the study's authors.

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STATES BACK NEW ENERGY, SUSTAINABILITY FOCUS IN EPA STRATEGIC PLAN

States are asking EPA to include new priorities in its next strategic plan that focus on integrating sustainability and promoting renewable fuels and energy efficiency to better address what they say are emerging issues not adequately addressed in previous years.

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