Friday, January 30, 2009

Don’t Get Outflanked on Greenhouse Gas Regulation

In the first Gulf War, 18,000 U.S. Marines stood poised to make an assault into Kuwait in what would have been one of largest amphibious invasions in modern history. They drilled daily on how they would approach the Kuwaiti coast. The Iraqi army deployed their forces to make this as difficult as possible. The conflict would be a true clash of arms.

So when the main coalition force slammed into the Iraqi flank from the west, the Iraqis were completely unprepared for that fight.

When I talk to business leaders across the country, they ask me what kind of climate change legislation I think will come out of this Administration and Congress. What I tell them is that we may not have that long, and our forces may be arrayed against the least immediate threat.

Despite all the talk about cap-and-trade legislation, regulation of greenhouse gases ultimately may happen through the Clean Air Act. Earlier this week, the president instructed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review its decision to deny California’s request to establish its own automobile emission standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (known as California Clean Cars Standard). It is widely expected that EPA will reverse its decision.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce responded by announcing that this puts “the EPA one step closer to making carbon dioxide ‘subject to regulation’ under the [Clean Air] Act.” Regulation of greenhouse gases in this manner would definitely impact traditional point sources like power plants and industrial facilities. But the EPA's proposed rulemaking from last year tells us that future regulation could reach much further, touching every household in America.

Ever since the Supreme Court ruling in Massachusetts vs. EPA, efforts to drive greenhouse gas regulation have been happening in courtrooms and regulatory agencies around the country. There are 47 cases in litigation in 19 states over the issue of regulating CO2 emissions from proposed coal-fired power plants. Whether the debate is in the courtroom, regulatory agency or legislature, businesses need to engage to make sure that policymakers are weighing the true costs and benefits. Don't be caught flat-footed.

For more: “Carbon regulation? Obama clears a path”

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome your comments about today’s important energy issues.

Please keep in mind that comments will be reviewed before posting. Any comments that include offensive language, personal attacks, or statements that could be interpreted as hatred or harassment will not be posted.

Thank you for helping us keep an informative, thought-provoking site.