Although the United States has never agreed to implementing any large-scale reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, individual states have begun to take charge.
Take California’s “Numero Uno” for example. Arnie might travel around Vancouver in a caravan of Escalades, police escort in tow, sucking back on a cuban and pumping a gallon of combusted 100-million year old plant goop into the atmosphere for every 16 miles – but he won’t take shit from the federal government when it comes to his state’s fossil fuel emissions.
California, along with 11 other states, is currently suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for stalling on the decision about whether to let these states regulate their own automobile pollution standards (i.e. to allow them to implement more stringent regulations on CO2 emissions than previously allowed).
The lawsuit, to be filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, comes 22 months after California first asked the EPA to let California impose tougher regulations on emissions of greenhouse gases from cars, pickup trucks and sports utility vehicles.
In mid-2003 an eastern block of seven states, including a number of Canadian maritime provinces and Quebec, have declared their own “cooperative effort to discuss the design of a regional cap-and-trade program initially covering carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in the region.” [source] The plan includes, “a multi-state cap-and-trade program with a market-based emissions trading system.” [source] A first model draft for this Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) was produced in 2006 (here – perhaps someone with a background in interpreting governmental proceedings could shed a bit more light on this?), although I was unable to find a conspicuous link or tab on their site that shed light on how successful it has been.
And now, for the first time in US history, a state has denied a permit for the construction of a coal plant due to its potential environmental impact on global climate. According to Kansas’ secretary of the Department of Health and Environment, Rod Bremby, “I believe it would be irresponsible to ignore emerging information about the contribution of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to climate change and the potential harm to our environment and health if we do nothing,” [source]
Citing global climate concerns, environmental groups criticized the proposal and advocated a mix of wind farms and natural gas plants instead. They said the proposed plant’s estimated 11 million tons of carbon emissions would worsen global warming, and that other pollutants would cause health effects.
Western Kansas leaders, however, said the plant was necessary to provide a stable energy source for the region. They also said the $3.6 billion plant would bring jobs to the area.