CLIMATE CHANGE ROUNDUP: Air Board Head Takes on Contrary AB 32 Economic Predictions

By Published On: March 26, 2010

In a continuing duel over the economic effects of California’s climate change program, California Air Resources Board chair Mary Nichols shot back at the California Manufacturers Association & California Chamber of Commerce this week. “The California public isn’t going to fall for the claim that continued dependence on imported oil is better for the economy than switching to more energy efficient vehicles and cleaner renewable energy,” said Nichols in a March 22 statement. She issued the statement in response to a study by the business organizations’ AB 32 Implementation Group. The manufacturer’s Implementation Group reports the cost of carrying out the state’s climate change law could tally up to $9,330 a year for a family of four by 2020 if the price of carbon emissions rights hits $200 a ton. The business group study also said the state could lose up to 107,000 jobs in 2012 and that annual job losses could grow to as many as 485,000 by 2020. The Air Board released its own economic study March 24 (see story above). * * * * * To support the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program, the California Air Resources Board proposed new emissions reporting requirements for the power industry March 23 aimed at adding “rigor” to annual filings. Under the proposal, electricity retailers would be required to report the number of MWhs of power imported into California and the associated emissions. However, the changes would prevent double counting emissions from power generated out of state that already have been counted by other states linked to California’s carbon trading market under the Western Climate Initiative program, Air Board staff noted. In state generators of power would have to file reports even if their plants had no emissions. The California Department of Water Resources and Western Area Power Administration would have to report their emissions too. * * * * * The money is in for a ballot measure that would suspend California’s climate change law, AB 32, until the state’s unemployment rate falls to 5.5 percent. In a filing with the California Secretary of State late last week, the California Jobs Initiative Committee reported receipts of $966,001 to fund its efforts to qualify the measure for the November ballot. Valero Services, a Texas company that refines oil and markets gasoline in California, contributed $500,000, followed by No New Taxes, a project of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which contributed $100,001. Tesoro, Tower Energy, and World Oil each contributed $100,000. Contributions were rounded out by Southern Counties Oil at $50,000, Jaco Oil at $10,000, the Lumber Association of California & Nevada Political Action Committee at $5,000, and physicist Roger Cohen at $1,000. Cohen participated in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientific study process, but became an outspoken critic of the effort. Before retiring, he served as ExxonMobil strategic planning manager. * * * * * The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed March 23 requiring natural gas and oil companies that store carbon dioxide underground for oil and gas recovery to join the more than 30 sectors required to report their greenhouse gas emissions Data collected from facilities that inject CO2 underground would enable EPA to track the amount of carbon put in geologic formations and require monitoring when emissions from these processes are released to the atmosphere. “Once we know where we must act, American innovators and entrepreneurs can develop new technologies to protect our atmosphere and fight climate change,” stated EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. If approved after public input, the newly covered sources would be required to begin collecting emissions data at the start of 2011. The natural gas and oil sectors’ first annual reports would be due to the EPA on March 31, 2012. The EPA finalized the nation’s first mandatory greenhouse gas reporting requirement in October 2009. It requires utilities and numerous other sectors, covering 85 percent of the nation’s total climate change emissions, to track and report their emissions.

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