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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Why Wait for the Feds to do Something about Global Warming?

Another example of local governments stepping in to cover the feds' inaction. In a press release titled, Northeast States Take Landmark Step in Fighting Global Warming, the Union of Concerned Scientists tells us:

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) today hailed the significant step seven Northeast states have taken to slow global warming by issuing draft regulations to cap carbon dioxide emissions. The proposed rule by the states is the latest measure in the effort to implement mandatory emissions limits.

"Global warming puts at great risk the health of our children and grandchildren," said Dr. Peter Frumhoff, director of the Global Environment Program at UCS. "With these proposed regulations, leaders in the Northeast are starting us down a path to cost-effectively addressing this important problem."

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a collaboration of seven Northeast states to reduce emissions in a region that accounts for six percent of the world's global warming emissions. RGGI aims to reduce electric power plants' emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal heat-trapping gas that causes global warming. The long-awaited "model rule" provides the specific language outlining the policy measures included in the program. Each state must implement the program separately, through new legislation or a regulatory proceeding. Power plants will be able to trade emissions allowances, so that the necessary reductions are achieved at the lowest possible cost. Since 1990, a cap-and-trade system in the Northeast has been successfully reducing acid rain.

Earlier this year, California Gov. Schwarzenegger and Tony Blair reached an agreement to reduce carbon emissions. Writer Paul Loeb wrote about an agreement between US Mayors that would make one hell of a dent, "238 cities have signed the US Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement, from New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago to Omaha, Charlottesville, and Laredo. Together they represent 44 million people and greenhouse gas emissions exceeding those of the combined population of Great Britain, the Netherlands and Scandinavia."

The bottom line -- and a point I've made before -- is that we don't have to wait for the federal government to act. In fact, if we did, we'd probably wind up frying in our own fat. It's extremely important that the feds get on board with climate change, but the foot dragging by the Bush administration shows that we shouldn't wait for them either. It happening now and it's happening every day.


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