Future State Legislation
According to Vivian Thompson of the EPA, state cooperation with federal environmental mandates is key to the success of national laws… when the EPA fails to respond to pertinent issues, many states will respond by attempting to regulate themselves….however, states often lack the technical and scientific resources that may be necessary to create and enforce effective regulations.”
Therefore, though climate change will ultimately require a national and international response, states will continue to play an important role in climate change initiatives. The following is a description of the various areas of climate change legislation that could potentially be enacted at the state level.
Increasing Energy Efficiency Funding & Initiatives
Greater Emphasis on Alternative Energy Sources: (ex. solar, wind, etc. - more easily enacted at a state or local level)
Greater Emphasis on Energy Efficiency and Conservation: Examples could include...
Urging or Requiring Big Polluters to Cut Heat-Trapping Emissions
Enforcing Stricter Energy-Saving Building Codes
Creating Greenhouse Gas Inventories: an accounting of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted to or removed from the atmosphere over a period of time. Policy makers use inventories to track emission trends, develop mitigation strategies and policies, and assess progress. An inventory is usually the first step taken by entities that want to reduce their GHG emissions.
Promoting Energy-efficient Vehicles: ex. hybrid electric or hydrogen cars
Changing Building Design: ex. insulating a home allows a building to use less heating and cooling energy to achieve and maintain a comfortable temperature; New buildings can be constructed using passive solar building design, low-energy building, or zero-energy building techniques, using renewable heat sources.
Promoting Energy-efficient Appliances
Other Behavioral Changes: ex. installing fluorescent lights or natural skylights reduces the amount of energy required to attain the same level of illumination compared to using traditional incandescent light bulbs. Compact fluorescent lights use two-thirds less energy and may last 6 to 10 times longer than incandescent lights.
Personal Carbon Credits: Each citizen will receive a free annual quota of carbon that they can use to travel, buy food, and go about their business. It has been suggested that by using this concept it could actually solve two problems; pollution and poverty.
Specific Examples of State Future or Recent Efforts:
California is beginning to require new TVs be more energy efficient, to phase out incandescent light bulbs, and to enforce a green building code for homes and businesses.
Three regional groups, representing at least 22 U.S. states, agreed last year to work together on "cap and trade" programs. These programs cap total emissions but allow businesses that pollute a lot to buy emissions credits from those that pollute less.
The regional groups include the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, signed by 10 governors, and the Western Climate Initiative, in which California, New Mexico, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec are slated to begin their own "cap and trade" program.
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