An advisory panel kicked off its work March 1 to consider tax and regulatory hurdles to lower greenhouse gas emissions technologies in California. The panel is supposed to recommend potential new state tax incentive and subsidy programs to promote those technologies. Known as the Economic and Technology Advancement Advisory Committee, the panel also may recommend whether the state should auction greenhouse gas emissions allowances under its new climate change law, instead of giving them away to emitters. Auctioning the credits could create a major ongoing revenue stream to fund low-emissions technologies. "What are the half-dozen things that could be game-changing?" queried Bob Epstein, committee vice-chair, outlining the key question for the committee. The panel - formed under California's recently enacted climate change bill, AB 32 - will produce a report outlining its recommendations on how to advance low greenhouse gas emissions technologies by the end of the year. It will go to the California Air Resources Board. The panel is one of three separate committees studying how to carry out the law (Circuit, Jan. 26, 2007). The other two are a Market Advisory Committee, which also met this week (see story above), and an Environmental Justice Committee, which will meet later this month. The group is set to work through six subcommittees that will broadly cover the areas of transportation, electricity, forestry and agriculture, manufacturing, and financial incentives. The full committee will meet on a quarterly basis, with the next meeting to be scheduled sometime in May. Members of the committee will draw on their own organizational and company staffs to perform analytical work and help draft the report. However, California Air Resources Board staff will review their work. "We have to rely on ARB staff to make sure people on the subcommittee do not use it to push their favorite technology," said Alan Lloyd, committee chair, although he acknowledged that the agency's staff is stretched thin trying to put together a state climate change program.