President Obama announced today that he was directing the EPA to reconsider the request by California to institute tougher standards for vehicle carbon dioxide emissions. It is expected that several other states may make similar requests if California, which was originally denied, is now granted approval. The move to review California's request was reportedly hailed by Governor Schwarzenegger. In an attempt to address global warming issues the President also directed that federal fuel efficiency standards for 2011 be released by the Department of Transportation by March of this year.
In an article published by the journal Science,it was found that the effects of warming and resulting "water deficits are likely contributors to tree mortality." A summary of the report in today's New York Times notes that the study conducted in the Pacific Northwest found significant increased mortality, irrespective of the size, type or elevation of the trees.
The new White House Website has already listed an ambitious program for addressing issues of climate change. Included in the goals are (!) within 10 years saving more oil than we currently import from the Middle East and Venezuela, (2) reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 and (3) ensuring that 25 percent of our energy comes from renewable sources by 2025.
The agenda also includes creating millions of new jobs related to developing clean energy and and having one million plug-in hybrid vehicles that can run for 150 miles per gallon by 2015. The full agenda is viewable on the Website.
The Iowa Climate Change Council appointed by the governor in 2007 issued its final report just before Christmas. The report contains 56 recommendations to reduce GHGs through, among other things, energy efficiency and a cap and trade program.
If implemented the program will reportedly cost the state an estimated 4.8 billion dollars over the next decade. According to the Chicago Tribune, the price tag, along with concerns that the proposals will increase utility costs, are a stumbling block to adoption. Yet, proponents argue that, over a period of time, jobs will be created and savings will result from implementation of the recommendations.