Saturday, June 9, 2007

As Bush fiddles, states take action on warming

The states aren't waiting around for President Bush to take action on greenhouse gas reductions. While the President was preaching a vague "goal-setting" solution at the G8 summit this week, numerous states, including New Jersey, were moving ahead on legislation that would require specific reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

On Wednesday, Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed into law a requirement that 25 percent of power delivered by the state's biggest utilities be made from renewable sources by 2025. Sources that will count toward the target include wind, solar, wave, geothermal, biomass, new hydro projects or efficiency upgrades to existing hydro projects.

Next Thursday, the NJ Assembly's Telecommunications and Utilities Committee will consider A-3301 which would limit emissions of greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020 (roughly a 20 percent cut from current levels).

Meanwhile, coal industry lobbyists are pushing hard on Capitol Hill for legislation to provide federal support for liquid coal research, development and subsidies. They say the technology would offer the nation an energy alternative to Middle East petroleum. Critics, however, argue that the technology is unproven and financially risky. They point to an MIT study estimating it would cost $70 billion to replace just 10 percent of current gasoline use.

Moreover, a recent NY Times story, Lawmakers Push for Big Subsidies for Coal Process used the graph (below) to illustrate how liquid coal, as a fuel source, would increase greenhouse gases emissions substantially more than other fuel alternatives.

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