“A Guide to Greenhouse Gas Regulation – August 2007 Update”

July 2007 demonstrates the old adage that people value their free time. With the threat of the August recess looming, Congress has shown that it is capable of getting things done. Before adjourning, the House of Representatives passed its comprehensive Energy Independence Package, which tackles a host of climate change issues, including renewable portfolio standards, research and development funds, taxes, carbon sequestration, and efficiency standards, among others. The House package now moves to a conference committee, which will reconcile it with a climate change bill that was passed by the Senate in June 2007.

Not to be outdone, the states also put forth significant legislation and executive orders relating to GHG regulation. As California pressed forward with its myriad of regulatory efforts, amidst sometimes rancorous partisan politics, New Jersey enacted the Global Warming Response Act – a law claimed to be more stringent than anything passed by California – which seeks to cut the state’s GHG emissions by 80% by 2050. Meanwhile, Florida’s governor signed three executive orders designed to cut GHGs by as much as 80% of 1990 levels by 2050, and Hawaii’s governor signed the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act into law, which proposes to reduce GHG emissions below 1990 levels by 2020. At the same time, Illinois began investigating a low carbon fuel standard, and Iowa commenced a program to allow agricultural to engage in carbon trading.

Perhaps because the federal and state governments have been so active in their regulatory efforts, regional activities have been more subdued. In fact, the most significant activity occurred at the National Governors Association meeting, where many governors expressed an overarching desire to address climate change issues. All in all, it appears that the fall will be the time when a significant and coherent GHG regulatory standard likely will emerge.

This August 2007 Update to Stroock’s Guide to Greenhouse Gas Regulation covers the major developments in this area through August 6, 2007.