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Climate change regulations

Even without climate change legislation, states and federal agencies are moving ahead on rules to limit greenhouse gas emissions, using a variety of approaches.

  • Two EPA regulations became effective at the start of 2011:  2012 model vehicles must follow tighter CAFE standards; and power plants, refineries, and large factories will need to obtain a permit for their emissions when they expand or build new facilities.  The EPA is currently negotiating CAFE standards which are expected to promote even greater fuel efficiency.  They would go into place after the current standards expire. Additionally, EPA will propose "performance standards" for power plants in July 2011 and for refineries in December 2011, and will finalize standards for those sectors in May 2012 and November 2012, respectively. However, just a few weeks ago,  the EPA tried to postpone by 15 month issuing new rules that would have limited emissions from boilers.  The courts ruled against the 15 month extension and instead granted the EPA 30 days
  • On December 16, California's Air Resources Board voted to approve regulations that will establish a cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  The program is scheduled to launch in 2012 as part of California's efforts to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, as required by the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act. 
  • Massachusetts released a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 25% below 1990 levels.  The plan will primarily utilize already-existing mechanisms, like renewable energy mandates and energy efficiency standards.

Newly-elected New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez tried to stop the state's register from publishing a regulation to curtail the state's greenhouse gas emissions by 3 percent annually.  Without being published in the state's register, the rules will not go into effect. 

In your opinion, how will climate change regulations proceed?

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