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Energy and climate change

The Debate

Building and Industrial Efficiency Enhancing end-use efficiency in buildings and industry can reduce overall consumer costs in many cases, can reduce the need for new electric power plants, and can reduce GHG emissions related to energy use. Transportation Enhancing efficiency of automobiles and light trucks reduces oil consumption, and thereby mitigates reliance on oil imports and reduces GHG emissions. Research and Development Research and development on efficient technologies in all sectors can provide options to reduce future energy costs to consumers and future energy consumption, with corresponding GHG benefits.

Research and development on non-fossil fuels and carbon sequestration can provide future alternatives to reliance on oil and could enable continued use of coal consistent with a GHG emissions limitation.

Envisioning a Green New Deal: A Global Comparison

In many areas, there is a substantial convergence between energy policy objectives and climate policy objectives. In particular, climate-friendly energy policies aim to: 1 increase the efficiency of energy use; 2 increase the use of renewable including biofuels and other non-emitting technologies; 3 promote the use of natural gas instead of coal or oil; and 4 encourage research and development on new energy technology.

This set of climate-friendly energy policies advances energy policy objectives. In addition to the policies listed above, there are other energy policy options that have no significant climate change impacts but may address central energy policy concerns and, thus, should be considered for inclusion in any comprehensive energy policy.

Climate Change and Energy | The Australian Greens

These could include policies to increase domestic production of oil, to expand electricity transmission infrastructure, and to promote competitive electricity markets. The set of climate-friendly energy policies discussed in this report advances climate objectives, but it does not constitute a fully elaborated climate policy.

It does not produce the magnitude of reductions needed, for instance, to meet the non-binding goal set forth for the United States in the Rio Framework Convention on Climate Change, i. GHG emissions to levels. Based on the U. Moreover, trying to achieve climate goals indirectly through energy policy tools will necessarily be more expensive than achieving the same climate goals through an effectively designed, market-based GHG regulatory program covering all sectors of the economy.

Instead, this is a collection of near-term energy policies that stand on their own as energy policies and would help better position the U. According to the Environmental Protection A gency EPA , light-duty vehicles are responsible for 60 percent of transportation emissions, followed by medium- and heavy-duty trucks at 23 percent, and aircraft at 9 percent. Early in the Obama administration, CAFE was selected as the primary means of limiting mobile source carbon emissions.

Rules finalized in October put in place binding standards through Model Year and offered estimated standards through Before leaving office in January , the Obama administration issued a final determination making its previous estimates binding, provoking angry criticisms from automakers who felt that the review process leading up to the termination had been rushed and had arrived at an unrealistic conclusion about what was really feasible.

The Trump administration vowed to reverse the determination and ultimately did so in April , immediately provoking lawsuits by a coalition of blue state attorneys general. An attempt to defuse litigation through negotiations with the California Air Resources Board recently failed.

Because auto manufacturers need considerable lead time to be able to make decisions about the compositions of their fleets, it seems hard to imagine that they could end up being held to the standards dictated by the outgoing Obama administration after a years-long interregnum of legal uncertainty.

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Suppose that the Trump standards survive legal scrutiny but a Democrat becomes president in Pivoting once again toward more stringent carbon emission standards for cars is likely to take at least a year, likely more. It is worth briefly noting other mobile source rules in play.

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In , the Obama administration put carbon emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks in place through model year Although former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt indicated a willingness to reconsider those rules, they are still currently in place. Given the terms of the Clean Air Act, that means the agency is obligated to regulate those emissions. However, no action was taken by the end of the Obama administration, and none has yet been taken by the Trump administration. It was proposed in and finalized in October Although the administration made major changes to the rule in an attempt to ensure that courts would view it favorably, it always rested on an awkward legal foundation.

That was because the Clean Air Act regulates each source of emissions individually, but the Clean Power Plan essentially sought to regulate the power sector as a coherent whole, all but requiring that fossil-fuel-fired plants subsidize renewable energy. In an extraordinary action taken just before the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia in February , a majority of the Supreme Court issued a stay on the Clean Power Plan effective until all legal challenges to it were completely exhausted.

The election returns in November ensured that it would not be resuscitated immediately. And, indeed, the Trump administration proposed a rescission of the rule in October and proposed a replacement , dubbed the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, in August At present, neither of these rules have been finalized; both are certain to face legal challenges.

That leaves the old Clean Power Plan in a state of legal limbo, clearly inactive but not yet technically off the books.

American Attitudes about Global Warming and Energy Policy: Issue Brief

But does such an objective make any sense in , three years after the original stay was issued? The final Clean Power Plan was to impose its first binding emissions limits as of January 1, , which may seem to give time to see it reinvigorated by a Democratic president in Just as importantly, as in the case of CAFE standards, long lead times are necessary for compliance, making it unlikely that any plant could be put on a compliance schedule as short as a year. One might plausibly imagine a modified Clean Power Plan with a later starting date, but, once again, because particular standards for particular dates are the very essence of the rule, such a shift would entail an entirely new rulemaking effort.

Rules for existing power plants are not the only stationary source rule at issue. Rules for oil refiners are also required by the Clean Air Act, but the Obama administration never got any in place. Other potential areas for regulation include cement production and the agricultural sector.

By taking bold action California is a leader on climate change. Hallmarks of its success are strong government leadership, accelerated investment in clean energy, and rapid growth of businesses that contribute to the advancement of the low-carbon economy. California leads fight to curb climate change.

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  • California's landmark policies California provided an early proving ground for EDF's climate work: EDF co-sponsored California's Global Warming Solutions Act of AB 32 , landmark legislation that set an absolute statewide limit on greenhouse gas emissions, and confirmed California's commitment to transition to a sustainable, clean energy economy.

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