August 26, 2006

California Senators Back Bills to Address Global Warming

Both Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Barbara Boxer told Californians this week that they are sponsoring bills to address global warming, but they disagree on the particulars.

Diane Feinstein gave a speech last Thursday to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco about the seriousness of Global Warming. She told the audience about her plans to introduce three bills in January to address the issue:

So in January, on the first day of the new Congress, I plan to bring to introduce these three bills:

* A sound mandatory cap and trade program, which could reduce emissions by 10 percent or more by 2025;

* A mandatory requirement that all passenger vehicles cars, SUVs and light trucks have increased mileage of 10 percent within the next 10 years. That means mileage would go from 25 miles per gallon today to 35 miles per gallon by model year 2017.

* A national energy efficiency program -- modeled after what California has achieved, including strict appliance and building standards and requiring utilities to use energy efficiency measures to meet a portion of their demand.

Barbara Boxer has also been working on legislation in conjunction with , to address global warming, but she believes that Feinstein's bill won't be able to do the job because it could create loopholes that would defeat the purpose.

One noticeable difference between the two environmental plans that address global warming is that Feinstein's proposal calls for a market system for greenhouse gas emissions. The system would make it possible for people who plant trees or convert crops into biofuels to earn emission credits that could be purchased by companies that exceed emission limits.

The Jeffords bill would allow government regulators to implement a market system for greenhouse gas emissions but would not mandate such a system.

"What we say in the bill is if the Environmental Protection Agency chooses to do 'cap and trade,' we set the standards," Boxer said. "Ours is a moderate approach."

... Critics of the cap-and-trade approach say it increases the chance of polluters locating their operations in poor neighborhoods and makes it harder to verify that emission targets being met because it is harder to track and monitor.

In California, the Democratic legislators are having the same argument with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger about whether a mandated cap-and-trade system will actually work in the long run.

One concern I had listening to Feinstein's approach is the belief that biofuels will be a big part of the picture because I'm not sure how that is going to happen when water resources dry up from increased desertification, drying soils and less predictable water supply as the mountains lose their snowcaps and the ability to meter out the water during the growing season. Are we really going to waste our water to grow fuel crops when there is a real shortage of water looming for supplying our ordinary needs?

Transcript for Feinstein's speech can be found here.

Posted by Mary at August 26, 2006 12:32 PM | Environment | Technorati links |
Comments

Senator Feinstein needs to go back and take a remedial math course

"A mandatory requirement that all passenger vehicles cars, SUVs and light trucks have increased mileage of 10 percent within the next 10 years. That means mileage would go from 25 miles per gallon today to 35 miles per gallon by model year 2017."

A 10% increase from 25mpg is not 35mpg, it is 27.5mpg.

Posted by: AnalogKid at August 28, 2006 01:20 AM