Climate Policy State And Regional Levels

The most significant advances in U.S. climate policy to date have actually occurred at the state level. It is in these laboratories of democracy where federalism has allowed a number of enlightened governors and their respective legislatures to forge ahead where the federal government has floundered. Where the United States is flexing its muscle most is in California under Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. As the eighth-largest industrial engine on the planet, California's 2006 law targeting a 25 percent cut in carbon dioxide by 2020 is more than mere lip service to climate change.

Furthermore, as the first U.S. law imposing mandatory caps on carbon dioxide, it turned heads all the way up to the Potomac and beyond. This was not California's first foray into the climate change debate. Four years prior, in 2002, the state passed legislation creating vehicle emissions standards that required reductions of 22 percent in tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles by the 2012 model year and 30 percent by the 2016 model year. Governor Schwarzenegger and California are responding to the increasing loss of Sierra mountains snowpack, their primary source of drinking water, and believe they must compensate for a federal government that has dragged its heels on the issue of climate change for far too long. They also believe their economy is large enough to force others to sit up and take notice.

That logic appears to be on target. In February 2007, governors of Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington joined California in signing an agreement establishing the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative, a joint effort to tackle climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions with a market-based system. This set-up mimics that of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which became the first mandatory U.S. cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide in December 2005. Negotiated by the governors of seven northeastern and mid-Atlantic states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont) with Maryland joining in April 2007, RGGI sets a cap on emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants at current levels in 2009, and then reducing emissions 10 percent by 2019.

Renewable Energy Eco Friendly

Renewable Energy Eco Friendly

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment