Tuesday, June 03, 2014
The border of Southeast Ohio and West Virginia has long been considered coal country. In the wake of President Obama's announcement that he plans to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent, Bob Vincenzo, the mayor of St. Clairsville, Ohio, is worried about the future of his town—and the region.
Friday, May 30, 2014
Lawmakers and environmentalists in the real world are waiting anxiously ahead of President Obama's Monday announcement on how the administration will plan to reduce carbon emissions. Joining The Takeaway is Justin Gillis, who covers environmental science and policy for The New York Times.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
By Julie Caine
(KALW - San Francisco) The future of California’s landmark greenhouse gas emissions law is being called into question.
Implementation of the law was delayed earlier this year by a U.S. District Court judge in Fresno, who ruled that the regulations violate the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. A three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments from both sides of the debate last week.
At issue is the “Low Carbon Standard”—regulations that require fuel producers to meet California’s emissions standards, or pay a penalty in the state’s cap and trade system. Fuel, farm and trucking industry lawyers argue that the law violates the federal commerce clause because the law reaches across state borders, effectively favoring California-based producers over out-of-state competitors, whose fuel may not meet the state’s strict emission requirements.
The California Air Resources Board, the agency responsible for implementing the regulations, says the law is intended to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990s levels by the year 2020. Lawyers representing the state and environmental groups argue that the California law is the only way to reach these goals.
Sean Donahue, an Environmental Defense Fund attorney who presented oral arguments to the appeals court, said that at its core, the law is about regulating greenhouse gas emissions by focusing on the entire life cycle of the fuel. “It’s not based on where the fuel is from, but is based on the effect on the climate,” Donahue said.
Peter Keisler, a fuel industry attorney, told the court, “Even if there is no discrimination, you still have a regulatory scheme whose purpose is to penalize imports, to penalize out-of-state conduct in an effort to control in-state emissions.”
The three-judge panel asked tough questions during the appeal, including a focus on language in the law that seemed to point to favoring California employment and tax revenues.
"Isn’t this unambiguous evidence that the board was motivated by protectionism?” asked 9th Circuit Court Judge Mary Murguia.
The panel now moves on to consider the oral and written arguments in the case before issuing a written opinion, a process that could take many months.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
By Kate Hinds
A federal appeals court Tuesday said the Environmental Protection Agency was "unambiguously correct" in using existing federal law to limit greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.
Several industry groups -- as well as the state of Texas -- had argued that the science behind climate change was uncertain, and that the EPA lacked the legal authority to use the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from factories, power plants, and automobile tailpipes.
But the court unanimously rejected that view. "This is how science works," the judges wrote in the 82-page decision (pdf). "EPA is not required to re-prove the existence of the atom every time it approaches a scientific question."
The opinion cites not only a previous Supreme Court ruling but also Schoolhouse Rock. (“As a generation of schoolchildren knows, 'by that time, it’s very unlikely that [a bill will] become a law. It’s not easy to become a law.'")
Read the decision here.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
The U.N.’s climate talks in Cancún moved into their second week on Monday. The agenda is dominated by future cuts in carbon emissions and keeping countries honest about their actions to control global warming. Expectations, however, remain low following last year’s talks in Copenhagen, which resulted in no binding agreement to manage the world's carbon emissions.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
(Washington, DC - Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation) -- The much-anticipated Senate debate over energy and climate change legislation is getting an early start.
Lawmakers are set to vote today on a GOP-backed resolution stripping the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to regulate carbon and other ‘greenhouse gasses’. The vote is shaping up as an early test of where lawmakers stand on curbing carbon emissions in advance of a full-blown energy policy debate set for July.
The EPA branded carbon an “endangerment” to human health in December, 2009, clearing the way for the agency to regulate it as a pollutant. That came after a Supreme Court decision ruling the agency had the power to regulate carbon under the Clean Air Act.
But amid mounting global pressure for US action on climate change, the move was widely seen as the Obama Administration’s way to pressure reluctant lawmakers to act on carbon caps or face regulations from the EPA.
Still, Republicans decried EPA’s anti-carbon threatened rule-making as a power-grab. Today’s vote, if successful and the bill becomes law, would strip EPA of the authority to make new carbon-control rules.
“The EPA intends to take control of climate policy. Take it away from the Congress,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the resolution’s main sponsor. “This resolution is about protecting the economy and preventing agency overreach. It’s as simple as that,” she said.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
A six-month investigation into the multi-million dollar business of carbon offsets has uncovered, instead of verdant forests of carbon-sequestering trees, many shady alleys of corruption and fraud. Consumers' motivation is for the best, but the companies who say they'll plant a tree to compensate for one's upcoming plane trip are effectively unregulated, say the investigators. After the Vatican engaged a company to plant a forest in rural Hungary and make the Holy See officially carbon-neutral, the company folded before planting any trees.