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One of the measures that Delaware's 2000 Climate Action Plan called for was a renewable portfolio standard and a strategy to switch to low-carbon fuels. Without this change, the committee felt that the state was unlikely to reach its goal of greenhouse emissions reduction, a goal that required the state to reduce emissions by 15 to 25 percent over what was then a 12-year period in order to meet the 7 percent reduction target based on 1990 figures. In 2003, Delaware, along with Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont, became one of the original seven states to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the first cap-and-trade program to control CO2 emissions in the United States. A primary goal of the collaborative effort is to reduce CO2 pollution through a mandatory emissions cap on the electric generating companies, the heaviest contributors to pollution.

In summer 2007, Delaware took the state's most decisive steps toward addressing the problems of global warming and climate change. In late June, Governor Ruth Ann Minner signed Senate Bill 18 and created a Sustainable Energy Utility, a state-supervised nonprofit organization. The bill was based on a concept developed, in part, by John Byrne, distinguished professor of public policy, director of the University of Delaware's Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The plan proposes to cut CO2 emissions to 2003 levels through conservation and innovative use of renewable energy sources, and save the average Delaware household $1,000 a year in the process.

A month later, Governor Minner signed a bill that increased the state's existing renewable portfolio standard by requiring that 2 percent of the state's electricity supply come from solar photovoltaics by 2019, in addition to 18 percent from other renewable sources by the same date. The other sources may include wind, ocean tidal, ocean thermal, fuel cells powered by renewable fuels, hydroelectric facilities with a maximum capacity of 30 megawatts, sustainable biomass, anaerobic digestion, and landfill gas.

SEE ALSO: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); Kyoto Protocol; Sea Level, Rising; University of Delaware.

This windmill in Denmark is part of the country's ongoing effort to cut its CO2 emissions, which fell 7 percent 1990-2005.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. Environmental Protection Agency, www .epa.gov (cited October 2007); Pew Center on Global Climate Change, www.pewclimate.org (cited October 2007); University of Deleware, www.udel.edu (cited October 2007).

Wylene Rholetter Auburn University

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