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Climate Policy Watch

EPA Advisers Issue Surprise Call To Study CO2 Emissions Cuts

An EPA advisory committee's new air quality report includes a surprise recommendation for the agency to help states evaluate reductions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases that may be achieved under rules primarily intended to curb pollutants such as ozone and particulate matter.

The committee added the recommendation to a comprehensive report that calls for major changes in the way EPA regulates air quality. Members of the committee note the report has ambitious goals, but acknowledge that implementing them will require substantial funding.

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CALPERS MAY LOOK FOR AUTOMAKER CONFLICTS OF INTEREST IN GHG DISPUTE

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) is threatening to probe major auto company directors for potential conflicts of interest if the companies do not sufficiently respond to their questions about the industry's lawsuit against the state air board's greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation. The pension fund board may also seek the inclusion of other major investor groups against the auto companies, pursue "proxy battles," and file an amicus brief defending the state in the lawsuit.

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OREGON'S CARBON TRADING PLAN NEEDED SOONER, ENVIRONMENTALISTS SAY

Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D) has signed off on the state's first-time plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but environmentalists are calling for the effort to begin at least two years earlier than scheduled.

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EPA ADVISORS ISSUE CALL TO STUDY CO2 'CO-BENEFITS' OF EMISSIONS CUTS

An EPA advisory committee's new air quality report includes a surprise recommendation for the agency to help states evaluate reductions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases that may be achieved under rules primarily intended to curb pollutants such as ozone and particulate matter.

The committee added the recommendation to a comprehensive report that calls for major changes in the way EPA regulates air quality. Members of the committee note the report has ambitious goals, but acknowledge that implementing them will require substantial funding.

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CALIFORNIA POWER REGULATORS APPROVE GROUNDBREAKING CO2 MANDATE

California utility regulators are requiring power companies to take the costs of greenhouse gas emissions into account when making long-term energy purchases, in a move that environmentalists say may discourage the use of coal generation in favor of cleaner forms of energy.

The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) adopted the new mandate Dec. 16 as part of its approval of long-term energy procurement plans for three major utilities in the state. Two of the utilities are supporting the new greenhouse gas mandate, while a third is opposing it.

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Business Opportunities May Complicate U.S. Opposition To CO2 Rules

Some U.S. industry groups see increasing business opportunities over the next several years in efforts to slow global warming, though it is not clear that those opportunities will be enough to tip the domestic political balance toward mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions in 2005, according to industry sources, consultants, and environmentalists.

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CALIFORNIA BILL SEEKS MORE SUPPORT FOR GREENHOUSE GAS REGISTRY

A bill introduced by California assemblywoman Fran Pavley (D) aims to entice more companies to participate in the state's voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) emission registry.

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DOE, UTILITY CLIMATE PACT OMITS ENDORSEMENT OF REGULATORY CREDITS

The Department of Energy and the electricity utility sector have signed an agreement on voluntary greenhouse gas cuts that omits language from an earlier proposal which would have committed the department to awarding emission-reduction credits for any future regulations as part of a climate change registry being revamped by the agency.

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REPORT FINDS POWER COMPANIES UNPREPARED FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION

As pressure builds for the Bush administration to return to its 2000 campaign promise supporting mandatory action to combat climate change, a new report by environmentalists finds that both U.S. power companies and their European counterparts are ill-prepared to reduce greenhouse gases. However, the report finds that European companies fare better than those in this country.

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MINERS BACK CALL FOR GREENHOUSE GAS LIMITS IN BIPARTISAN ENERGY REPORT

The United Mine Workers of America is endorsing recommendations by a bipartisan energy policy commission that call for mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions in conjunction with a new federal program to promote specific clean-coal technology.

Sources say the endorsement may indicate growing momentum for global warming regulations, but backs policy initiatives less stringent than a climate change bill by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT).

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