President-elect Obama's top priority of stimulating the economy and create jobs will involve new environmental actions aimed at having long-term benefits reports today's WaPo:
Before the election, Obama told others that he favors declaring that carbon dioxide emissions are endangering human welfare, following an EPA task force recommendation last December that Bush and his aides shunned in order to protect the utility and auto industries.
One intended action is to quickly reverse the Bush administration's decision to deny California the authority to set limits on automobile greenhouse gas emissions. Other related reforms embraced by Obama's transition advisers aim at increasing the effectiveness of decision-making on climate issues, for instance by rapidly creating a National Energy Council to coordinate all policymaking related to global climate change.12.20.07>> EPA Rejects California Emissions Mandate: (Los Angeles) California wanted stiffer rules for regulating car and truck tailpipe emissions. Jaime Garza reports. 12.21.07>> California Challenges EPA Over Emission Standards: (San Francisco) Calif. tried to sidestep the EPA, and force automakers to cut tailpipe emissions by 30% by the year 2016, but the federal government is standing in the way. Len Ramirez reports Gov. Schwarzenegger isn't backing down. 01.03.08>> California Sues EPA Over Emission Standards: (San Francisco) California has taken their fight against greenhouses to court, suing the EPA for blocking efforts to strengthen emissions standards. Sherry Hu reports.
The Obama administration's signing of a waiver allowing California to regulate GHG emissions from cars could stoke green-tech innovation. In December 2007, California sought EPA permission to mandate that emissions be cut by 30 percent between 2009 and 2016, essentially setting a fuel economy standard of 36 miles per gallons. Seventeen other states have promised to follow California's rules -- that's 45 percent of the US automobile market. Last January Obama said:
Effectively tackling global warming demands bold and innovative solutions, and given the failure of this administration to act, California should be allowed to pioneer.
Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, sees an early move here as signaling the new administration's seriousness of intent to reduce the US dependence on foreign oil and build a viable future for the domestic auto market.
The Center for American Progress's new book Change for America being published next week recommends that Obama rapidly create a National Energy Council. The center was created by former Clinton White House official John D. Podesta who is a co-chairman of the Obama transition effort and much of its staff is being pulled into the efforts. The National Energy Council would be a counterpart to the White House National Economic Council that Clinton created in a 1993 executive order. The book also urges Obama to sign an executive order requiring that greenhouse gas emissions be considered whenever the federal government examines the environmental impact of its actions under the existing National Environmental Policy Act.Landmark Ruling On Emissions: In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases. Wyatt Andrews has more on the significance of this ruling. 04.03.07
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