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Climate Policy Watch

Despite Automakers, Panel Asks EPA To Study Climate Change Air Impacts

Over the objections of the auto industry, an EPA advisory panel has agreed to ask the agency to assess the impacts of climate change on air quality, including studying how global warming could worsen pollution problems such as ozone.

One source familiar with the discussions says, "The auto industry aggressively tried to derail any mention of climate at all" but was overruled by other members of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee's (CAAAC) air quality management subcommittee.

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DESPITE AUTOMAKERS, PANEL ASKS EPA TO STUDY CLIMATE CHANGE AIR IMPACTS

Over the objections of the auto industry, an EPA advisory panel has agreed to ask the agency to assess the impacts of climate change on air quality, including studying how global warming could worsen pollution problems such as ozone.

One source familiar with the discussions says, "The auto industry aggressively tried to derail any mention of climate at all" but was overruled by other members of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee's (CAAAC) air quality management subcommittee.

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ARB OFFICIALS SEE E-85 PROGRAM EXTENDING TO OTHER STATE AGENCIES

Air board officials working on a pilot project to test 85% ethanol fuel blends (E-85) in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) operated by the transportation department see the program expanding to other state agencies, based on expectations of success. The program, which is expected to lead to new state E-85 specifications, is a key part of the board's effort to comply with legislation and executive branch orders to increase use of alternative fuels, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and help cut petroleum consumption.

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Groups Press RGGI States To Allow More Projects To Qualify As Offsets

Some industry officials and think tanks are calling for Northeast states to allow additional types of special greenhouse gas reduction projects, known as offsets, to qualify for credits under the regional greenhouse gas initiative (RGGI), allowing electric utilities to fund these projects instead of reducing emissions at the smokestack.

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JEFFORDS EYES NEW CLIMATE BILL TO SHIFT GLOBAL WARMING DEBATE

Sen. James Jeffords (I-VT), the ranking minority member on the Environment & Public Works Committee, is developing a new climate change bill that may go beyond pending Senate bills by requiring strict emissions reductions necessary to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations, according to sources tracking the effort.

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HIGH COURT TAX RULING MAY COMPLICATE PLAINTIFFS' ARGUMENTS IN CO2 CASE

A recent unanimous Supreme Court ruling rejecting Ohio taxpayers' legal standing to sue over state incentives to attract businesses could complicate efforts by states and environmentalists to force EPA to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) in a case they have asked the high court to hear, legal experts say.

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INDUSTRY GROUP REFRAINS FROM OIL PROJECT DEBATE UNDER RGGI

A group with oil and gas industry ties has declined to recommend that enhanced oil recovery projects (EOR) be eligible for crediting as emissions "offsets" under the regional greenhouse gas initiative (RGGI) by Northeast states, citing skepticism the states would embrace the plan before uncertainties surrounding crediting of the projects on the international level are resolved.

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GROUPS ASK RGGI STATES TO ALLOW MORE PROJECTS TO QUALIFY AS OFFSETS

Some industry officials and think tanks are calling for Northeast states to allow additional types of special greenhouse gas reduction projects, known as offsets, to qualify for credits under the regional greenhouse gas initiative (RGGI), allowing electric utilities to fund these projects instead of reducing emissions at the smokestack.

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VOLUNTARY CLIMATE EXCHANGE MAY OFFER EMISSIONS CREDIT FOR ETHANOL

The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), a voluntary emissions trading market, may develop a novel program to award credit for ethanol use or production to offset greenhouse gas emissions from industry, in a move that is likely to prompt questions over how to calculate the climate impacts of ethanol use.

Richard Sandor, CCX chairman and CEO, said in a May 18 discussion with reporters that the exchange is looking at methodologies for awarding greenhouse gas credit to biofuel projects, including ethanol production or ethanol use in vehicles.

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MANDATORY CO2 CUTS REMAIN UPHILL FIGHT DESPITE SUPPORTERS' PROGRESS

Supporters of a mandatory climate change program are making significant gains in boosting the profile of the issue but creating a mandatory emissions control program still remains an uphill political fight because the debate has not yet reached a tipping point, the supporters say.

"Overall, you are starting to see movement. But comprehensive legislation is a tough row to hoe. My guess is you will see more bills but little consensus," says a source with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

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