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EPA Says Climate Change Real. Rejects Challenges

EPA's human health endangerment finding stands. Unknown, costly regulatory consequences for U.S. economy will ensue.

by on Jul.29, 2010

CO2 reduction is no walk in the park for auto makers or thus far unsuspecting consumers.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today denied ten petitions challenging its 2009 determination that climate change is real and is occurring due to emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities. This threatens human health and the environment.

The latest decision, which has wide-ranging and potentially huge negative consequences for the stumbling U.S. economy, confirms a previous EPA ruling that greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten the public health and welfare of the American people.

Since virtually all vehicles for the near or longer term will burn fuels that cause large amounts of GHGs, more stringent fuel economy standards are inevitable. This will affect the types, sizes and cost of vehicles – in ways yet unknown — that you will be able to buy.

EPA’s Greenhouse Gas findings were initially issued in response to a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that GHGs fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants. Prior to that, under Republican Administrations, the EPA did not take regulatory action to deal with the controversial problem.

Both the previous and today’s EPA position were not surprising given previous public statements of President Obama and his political appointees at EPA. (See EPA Finds Greenhouse Gases Threaten Health)

The petitions to reconsider EPA’s Endangerment Finding claimed that climate science cannot be trusted, and assert a conspiracy that invalidates the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

EPA has just said in a statement that after months of “serious consideration” of the petitions and of the state of climate change science, that it finds no evidence to support these claims.

In fact, EPA’s review shows that climate science is “credible, compelling, and growing stronger.”

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Follow Our Emissions!

“The endangerment finding is based on years of science from the U.S. and around the world.  These petitions — based as they are on selectively edited, out-of-context data and a manufactured controversy — provide no evidence to undermine our determination.  Excess greenhouse gases are a threat to our health and welfare,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

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London Congestion Charge under Review

Design regulation exempting hybrids is outdated and unfair.

by on May.27, 2010

If you exempt too many vehicles, congestion increases. Why should any be exempt?

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has proposed changing the congestion charge exemption to include cars with conventional engines that emit low levels of CO2, in many cases lower than the hybrid or alternate fuel vehicles currently benefiting from taxpayer largess.

Under the current rules, the Alternative Fuel Discount gives drivers of alternative fuel and hybrid cars a 100% discount in London’s £8 Congestion Charge. (See London Congestion Policy Excludes Clean Cars?)

Under the Mayor’s new “Greener Vehicle Discount” proposal, any car registered after 1 January 2011 that emit less than 100g/km of CO2 and meet the Euro V standard for air quality will be exempt.

In addition, and as a way of encouraging more electric cars, the same exemption will apply to full battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars.

Volvo had questioned what place an emissions discount had in a congestion charge at all, not without self interest of course.  Then, Volvo lobbied that when a discount exists, there should fairness so that it did not bias one particular technology over another.

Volvo already offers a sub-100g/km Volvo C30 Sports Coupe. It has also shown a V70 wagon with plug-in hybrid technology that emits less than 50g/km CO2 – this technology will be launched in 2012 – and prototype versions of a full battery-electric C30.

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London Congestion Policy Excludes Clean Cars?

When will politicians learn the folly of their fondness for design regulations as opposed to performance ones?

by on Dec.21, 2009

If you exempt too many vehicles, congestion will increase. And why should any be exempt?

It is a mistake that policy makers keep repeating: By imposing a standard that stipulates a design, rather than one that defines the performance or outcome desired, innovation is stifled and the often-beneficial effects of competition are eliminated.

The latest example of this folly comes from the often-gridlocked streets of London where a Congestion Charge actually discourages vehicles that are cleaner and more efficient than the ones the regulation exempts. The driver of a hybrid vehicle can travel within the so-called Congestion Charge zone free-of-charge while the driver of a similar, or even lower, carbon dioxide emitting conventional internal combustion-powered car is charged £8.

This “tax” could add a financial burden of over £2,000 per year to those drivers who select a traditionally powered low emission car. Not good if you are the driver. Not bad if you are collecting the revenue.

Tax collector or environmentalist?

Small wonder then that Volvo, not without self-interest of course, is calling on The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to publish the findings of the review of the Congestion Charge exemptions that he promised to deliver before the end of 2009.

Johnson was a bit busy last week hob-knobbing with many other government grandees in Copenhagen at taxpayer expense discussing the various, expensive, approaches that need to be  imposed on you and me to ameliorate the possibly pernicious effects of man-made carbon dioxide emissions on the global climate.

Views!

I do not believe this regulatory problem of unintended consequences and perverse effects came up while Johnson was boasting about the wonderful benefits of the Congestion Zone, but it should have because it raises many, well, inconvenient truths about economic and free market behaviors that need to be at the heart of any global warming regulatory debate. (more…)

EPA Finds Greenhouse Gases Threaten Health

Science “overwhelmingly” shows concentrations at unprecedented levels due to human activity.

by on Dec.07, 2009

CO2 redcution will be no walk in the park for U.S. consumers.

Meaningful CO2 reduction will be no walk in the park for U.S. consumers and businesses.

In a decision which has wide-ranging and potentially negative consequences for the stumbling U.S. economy, the Environmental Protection Agency officially ruled this morning that greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten the public health and welfare of the American people.

The final ruling was not surprising given previous public statements of President Obama and his political appointees.

EPA also found that GHG emissions from on-road vehicles contribute to that threat.

Since virtually all vehicles for the near or longer term, will burn fuels that cause large amounts of GHGs, more stringent fuel economy standards are inevitable. This will affect the types, sizes and cost of vehicles –  in ways yet unknown — that  you will be able to buy.

EPA’s final findings were issued in response to a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that GHGs fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants. Prior to that, under Republican Administrations, the EPA did not take regulatory action to deal with the controversial problem.

While the findings do not impose any emission reduction requirements, they clearly are part of the legal process needed to all allow EPA to finalize the GHG standards proposed earlier this year for new light-duty vehicles as part of the joint-rulemaking with the Department of Transportation.

EPA says on-road vehicles contribute more than 23% of total GHG emissions in the U.S. EPA’s proposed GHG standards for light-duty vehicles, a subset of all on-road vehicles, would reduce GHG emissions, it is claimed, by nearly 950 million metric tons and conserve 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of model year 2012-2016 vehicles.

Critical Thought!

Critical Thought!

The proposed national emissions program would require model year 2016 vehicles to meet an estimated combined average emission level of 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile. The overall light-duty vehicle fleet would reach 35.5 miles per gallon (mpg) in model year 2016, if, big if, all reductions were made through fuel economy improvements.

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