The New York Times, April 4, 2007
But the courts ruling was being welcomed by Congress and the states, which are already using the decision to speed their own efforts to regulate the gases that contribute to global climate change. As a result, Congress and state legislatures are almost certain to be the arenas for far-reaching and bruising lobbying battles.
Mr. Bush made it clear in remarks on Tuesday that he thought his proposal to increase automobile fuel efficiency was sufficient for the moment; he gave no indication he would ask the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate emissions of heat-trapping gases.
Whatever we do, he said, must be in concert with what happens internationally. He added, Unless there is an accord with
But with Congress and the states more determined than ever to act, some of the nations largest industries including automobile manufacturers and the oil companies that make their gasoline, and electric utilities and the coal companies that fire many of their boilers now face the increasingly certain prospect of expensive controls on emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common heat-trapping gas associated with climate change.
At least 300 bills have been filed in 40 states that address heat-trapping gases and climate change in some form, said Adela Flores-Brennan, a policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Obviously, nobody wants to bear a disproportionate share of the burden, said Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of the newly created House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Its now going to be a multidimensional chess game with the planets future in the balance.
The way legislation apportions emissions cuts among industries and, as important, how the credits earned by companies that reduce emissions are allocated will be the focus of the lobbying, said Mr. Markey and lobbyists for environmental groups and industry.
Its incumbent on everyone to roll their sleeves up, if they havent already, to deal seriously with this problem, said Luke Popovich of the National Mining Association, the trade group for the coal mine operators who will be at the center of the lobbying. If pain concentrates the mind, there will be more concentration on the issue now.
Coal is the major source of electricity in more than half the states, and coal is the fuel most closely associated with high levels of emissions of carbon dioxide. And coal interests have a bipartisan audience. The United Mine Workers is a natural Democratic constituency, while the National Mining Association has been a reliable supporter of the Bush administration.
There are differences within the industry, Mr. Popovich said, but we are allied in favor of a solution that preserves coals growth in the
Next to the electric-utility sector, which is responsible for about 40 percent of emissions of heat-trapping gases, Mr. Markey said, comes the transportation sector, which contributes roughly 30 percent.
The auto industry has long opposed increases in fuel-efficiency standards, which automatically mean a reduction in heat-trapping gases. The oil industry has resisted controls on carbon dioxide emissions. Until recently, the two industries, while occasionally sniping at each other, had avoided explicit endorsement of the regulation that was most feared by the other.
But, with the likelihood of Congressional action increasing, that informal nonaggression pact has ended. Executives of the Big Three auto companies testifying in the House last month explicitly supported regulation of carbon dioxide. And a senior oil industry executive earlier this year gave a speech advocating increases in fuel economy.
The Supreme Court found Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency had erred in justifying its decision not to regulate carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases. The court said that by providing nothing more than a laundry list of reasons not to regulate, the agency had defied the Clean Air Acts clear statutory command. The ruling also said that the agency could not sidestep its authority to regulate heat-trapping gases unless it could provide a scientific basis for its refusal to do so.
In Congress, controls on automobile emissions remain a work in progress. In more than a dozen states, beginning with
States are not going to wait, said Dennis McLerran, executive director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, created by
Several environmental leaders said the court decision could persuade still other states to pass climate-change legislation.
Terry Tamminen, the former secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and now a private consultant to states pursuing California-style caps on emissions, said he had recently worked with elected leaders in
They can say, Look, the debate is now over, he said.
California has been in the vanguard, first with its bill to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from vehicle tailpipes in 2002, and then with its landmark 2006 law requiring a 25 percent reduction in the states carbon dioxide emissions by 2020.
Most of the legislation in Congress follows the cap-and-trade model.
Outside the West and the Northeast, states are still finding their way. In
Youve seen a lot of leadership coming out of the coasts, Mr. Frenkel said. Looking in the
With about half the states getting at least 50 percent of their electric power from coal, Congress will have to wrestle with the disproportionate impact that climate change legislation could have around the country.
Youve got 35 senators reliably for a pretty strong program, said David Doniger, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council. How do you get that to 50 or 60? You have to get senators who come from states where coal is important, autos are important and agriculture is important.