Global environmental challenges
Environmental Protection Agency chief-to-be Lisa Jackson said science would be her guide on policy – and that may mean California is in the driver’s seat on setting new global-warming-style regulations on cars. (Not to mention the nearly 20 other states ready to follow in its footsteps.)
Jackson said she would reconsider whether California should get a waiver from the EPA that would allow it to regulate carbon pollution from cars, the San Francisco Chronicle said. The Bush administration has said no to such a waiver – but Jackson said she would focus on the science.
“She said today ‘I’m going to do it’. I mean, she didn’t say that — but I don’t think the auto industry has any doubt,” Sierra Club chief Carl Pope said shortly after a Senate confirmation hearing for Jackson. “She didn’t have to signal that strongly.”
Environmentalists see the waiver as one of the biggest issues facing incoming President Barack Obama.
Green car owners have apparently complained in such large numbers that the Honda Civic Hybrid isn’t living up to high mileage claims that the carmaker has approached U.S. government regulators about revising its mileage guidelines, according to a lawsuit by one Honda hybrid owner.
A California appellate opinion filed on Monday showed that a Honda customer service representative told Gaetano Paduano, the dissatisfied owner of a 2004 Honda hybrid, that the company had received “a high number of complaints” that the sedan achieves significantly less than its promised mileage of 47-plus miles per gallon.
Either way, it took a big step toward cutting greenhouse gases on Thursday, when its top air quality regulator, the California Air Resources Board, passed a scoping plan. That sounds deadly dull, we know, but it has excited a lot of people because it means specific targets are being set by the largest U.S. state in the midst of the worst economy almost anyone living has seen.
Energy efficiency efforts in California over the past three decades have created or saved 1.5 million jobs and added $45 billion to payrolls in the state, according to a report from David Roland-Holst of the Center for Energy, Resources and Economic Sustainability at the University of California, Berkeley.
It comes as the Golden State is debating whether plans to radically cut carbon dioxide emissions will be a financial burden for California or spur economic growth in a state that already leads in energy efficiency.
At issue is a letter Palin sent to Schwarzenegger last month, asking him to veto a bill that would raise shipping container fees to pay for pollution-reduction programs at three major California ports.
Today, Reuters ran a story about the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports’ aggressive plan to slash pollutants — mostly exhaust from diesel engines — that have harmed air quality and contributed to health concerns in the local communities. In implementing the plan, the ports have butted heads with some of the industries that they do business with, such as shippers, railroads and truckers.
Nevertheless, the plan is moving full steam ahead, so to speak.
During the course of reporting this story, we visited both ports to get an up-close view of some of the measures they are taking. The two videos below demonstrate two of those efforts, one at each port.
Earlier this month, I toured a Waste Management landfill in Simi Valley, California as part of our series on how companies are turning household garbage and other waste into clean electricity. For our full coverage, click here.
The landfill, which is about 40 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, surprised me at first because it didn’t smell and the 300 feet of trash was covered in dirt and grass. It looked just like an ordinary hillside.