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Climate Policy Watch

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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CAL/EPA FEE HIKES EXPECTED, WHILE AB 32 FUNDING REMAINS UNCERTAIN

Cal/EPA may increase fees on industry and others to pay for various environmental protection programs in the face of a widening state budget shortfall, heightened requirements for federal funding and anticipated political clashes over a number of hot-button environmental issues. But the most controversial budget decision will be whether the Schwarzenegger Administration or the air board will seek fees to pay for the state's ambitious new climate change control requirements, according to sources who say it remains unclear how the state plans to pay for AB 32 implementation.

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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 & Exchange Commission (SEC) to call for federal guidance on corporate disclosure of climate change risks, a move that could represent a first major step by the U.S. government on urging specific actions by companies to address global warming.

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POWER COMPANIES QUESTION DUAL STATE EFFORTS FOR GHG CUTS

Energy companies and electric utilities across the country are urging state officials to simplify and coordinate seemingly competing proposals for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These companies, and other interested parties, are also pressing state officials to ensure the program retains flexibility for future GHG credit trading within and outside the state, while noting that California will serve as a model for national consideration.

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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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New Science Panel Chair Plans Key Focus On Climate, Energy Research

Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), who is slated to chair the House Science Committee next year, is planning a major focus on climate and energy research in the 110th Congress, including a push for the creation of a new research agency within the Department of Energy (DOE) to foster development of clean energy technologies, Democratic and GOP sources say.

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WHITE HOUSE EYES NEW BODY TO COLLECT AGENCIES' ENVIRONMENTAL DATA

The Bush administration is considering creating a new economic institute to track statistics from EPA and other agencies that some see as too scattered to provide an accurate accounting of environmental trends.

Supporters say such a move could help the government better understand whether regulations are effective and target new environmental problems. But some economists are arguing against the idea of a White House-controlled organization and are instead supporting the creation of an independent agency.

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DEMOCRATS, ACTIVISTS CLASH IN EARLY ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY BATTLES

Despite strong election support for Democrats, environmentalists are now clashing with key Democratic leaders over a host of agenda items and other issues, and appear likely to continue to skirmish over upcoming personnel and policy issues.

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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 says the group plans to vastly expand the effort in the 2008 congressional races, which the group believes have largely been ignored by climate change advocates.

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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Warner Bid To Head Environment Minority May Prompt Shift In Climate Debate

Sen. John Warner's (R-VA) bid to be the ranking member on the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) in the 110th Congress sets up a battle with current environment panel chair Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) that could dramatically alter the congressional debate on climate change if Warner wins, sources say.

Warner on Nov. 17 announced his bid to seek election as ranking member on the environment panel next year, using his seniority to trump challengers under Senate Republican rules and procedures.

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