Federal government slow to act on climate, so US states do
Governors of both parties are taking the lead on finding ways to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
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A lone voice of opposition at the hearing came from an auto industry representative.Skip to next paragraph
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"A patchwork of state-level fuel economy regulations, as is now proposed by California, is not simply unnecessary, it's patently counterproductive," said Steve Douglas of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. The state's waiver request "contains many assumptions and undocumented claims" about its benefits in countering global warming, he said in an Associated Press account of the hearing.
The nonpartisan National Governors Association recently detailed efforts made at the state level to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions through conservation as well as developing more renewable energy sources. In a May 7 report (PDF), the NGA touted work at state capitals to develop alternative energy sources:
"Given recent energy price unpredictability and anticipated longer-term growth in energy demand, governors are leading efforts to conserve energy resources while actively seeking to diversify supplies by expanding renewable resources, including energy generated from solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, and biomass. In addition to providing protection against price volatility, these efforts can also reduce greenhouse-gas emissions."
Many cities, too, are forging ahead of Washington on climate change.
In New York City this week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, often mentioned as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2008, announced that every yellow cab in the city will be a fuel-efficient hybrid model by 2012, the Associated Press reported.
Once the new standards are fully in place, carbon emissions will be reduced by more than 200,000 metric tons per year, city officials said.
Meanwhile, leaders of religious groups also are urging President Bush and Congress to take action against global warming. In an open letter May 22, as reported by Reuters and other news sources, more than 20 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim groups declared that climate change is a "moral and spiritual issue." The religious leaders added: "Global warming is real, it is human-induced, and we have the responsibility to act."
These moves come just as a new report released this week by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that CO2 emissions are spiraling upward faster than earlier predicted. USA Today, reporting on the study, said that carbon-dioxide emissions from industrial sources, fueled by rapid growth in coal-reliant China, increased from 2000 to 2004 at a rate that is over three times the rate during the 1990s.