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U.S. Climate Policy. Melissa Hulting U.S. EPA Region 5 Summer Teacher Institute on Climate Change University of Chicago June 25, 2008. Overview. Reminder of What We Know about Climate Change (courtesy of the IPCC) What are the sources of GHG emissions? Current Emissions Inventories

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u s climate policy

U.S. Climate Policy

Melissa Hulting

U.S. EPA Region 5

Summer Teacher Institute on Climate Change

University of Chicago

June 25, 2008

  • Reminder of What We Know about Climate Change (courtesy of the IPCC)
  • What are the sources of GHG emissions?
    • Current Emissions Inventories
    • Mandatory Reporting Rule
  • How is EPA helping to slowing the growth in emissions?
  • Legislative/regulatory issues
intergovernmental panel on climate change ipcc
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • Established by UN Environment Programme and World Meteorological Organization in 1998
  • Scientific, technical, socioeconomic information
  • No new research; only peer reviewed studies
  • Significant Contributions from U.S. Government Scientists
    • U.S. Climate Change Science Program responsible for coordinating research across agencies
    • 21 "Synthesis and Assessment Products" on key climate science issues
intergovernmental panel on climate change we are warming the planet
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: We are warming the planet.
  • Greenhouse gases and temperatures are rising; warming of climate system is considered “unequivocal”
  • Human activities have induced most of the warming over the past 50 years (over 90% certainty)
  • Better modeling has enhanced confidence in impacts statements and future climate projections
  • A range of stabilization levels can be achieved by deploying a portfolio of current and future technologies

Climate Changes

Temperature Sea Level Rise


Health Impacts


  • Weather-related deaths
  • Infectious diseases
  • Air quality - respiratory
  • illnesses
  • Loss of habitat and
  • diversity
  • Species range shifts
  • Ecosystem services

Forest Impacts

Water Resources

  • Changes in precipitation,
  • water quality, and
  • water supply
  • Geographic range
  • Health, composition, and
  • productivity

Coastal Areas


  • Crop yields
  • Irrigation demand
  • Pest management
  • Erosion and inundation
  • of coastal lands
  • Costs of protecting
  • vulnerable lands
greenhouse gas inventory
Greenhouse Gas Inventory
  • EPA Updates Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Annually
  • Based on estimates derived from fuel use data, sector-wide economic activity
  • No current requirement for individual source reporting
    • Mandatory reporting rule being developed
  • New Inventory Released for 1990-2006
    • 14.7 % increase 1990 to 2006
    • 1.1% decrease from 2005 to 2006
  • Inventory convention: “CO2 Equivalents”
  • http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ usinventoryreport.html

Reference: Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks:

1990-2006, USEPA #430-R-08-005

electricity production and transportation are tops in u s ghg emissions but
Electricity Production and Transportation are tops in U.S. GHG Emissions, but…….







with electricity distributed to its end use the importance of buildings becomes clear
With electricity distributed to its end use, the importance of buildings becomes clear.






USEPA, Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2006


Source: USEPA (http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/globalghg.html), based on Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center

mandatory ghg reporting rule
Mandatory GHG Reporting Rule
  • Development required by FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act
  • EPA must publish draft rule within by September 2008 and final rule by June 2009
  • Rule must “require mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions above appropriate thresholds in all sectors of the economy…”
  • Greenhouse Gases Covered: CO2, CH4, N2O, HFC, PFC, SF6
how will emissions be reported
How will emissions be reported?
  • Both upstream and downstream sources included
    • Upstream: fossil fuel and chemical producers and importers
    • Downstream: direct emitters - large industrial facilities
  • To be Determined:
    • Who reports: facilities or corporations?
    • Emissions Threshold
    • Frequency of Reporting
    • Include electricity use in emissions threshold?
    • Include agriculture and land use?
    • Approach for mobile sources?
building the rule
Building the Rule
  • Regulation will build on methods from existing mandatory and voluntary reporting systems
    • Federal Permits, Climate Leaders
    • State Programs
    • Corporate Programs
    • Industry Protocols
    • Have existing ways to collect inventory data for other pollutants (submission systems, databases, etc.)
key elements of u s climate change policy
Key Elements of U.S. Climate Change Policy
  • Slowing the growth of emissions
    • Contribute to President Bush’s goal of 18% reduction in GHG intensity between 2002 and 2012
    • President Bush has stated goal to slow growth in emissions and begin to reduce emissions after 2025
  • Expanding scientific and technical research
  • Enhancing international cooperation
  • Agencies: EPA, NOAA/NWS, DOE, USDA, DOT, HHS, NPS, FWS…..everybody.
epa s role
EPA’s Role
  • Near-term: EPA Voluntary Programs
    • Partnering with companies, governments, communities, and organizations to achieve cost-effective emissions reductions through technologies and best management practices
  • Improving fuel economy and expanding alternative fuel use (while considering impacts)
  • Expanding scientific research into key uncertainties
    • EPA: Examine impacts of climate change on air, water, and ecosystems and potential implications for core programs
      • Impacts on ozone, water quality
  • Expanding technology research that will lead to reductions in the longer-term
  • Enhancing international cooperation
looking at our emissions inventory what are our options
Looking at our emissions inventory, what are our options?
  • 33% from Electricity Production
    • Renewable Energy: Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Tidal, Hydro, Biomass
    • Nuclear Generation
    • More Efficient Production of Energy Using Fossil Fuels (i.e. Combined Heat and Power)
    • Carbon Capture and Sequestration from power plants
    • Decrease demand through energy efficiency
more options
More options……
  • 28% from Transportation
    • Green Development (promoting more walkable communities)
    • Changing modes of transit (trains, bikes, etc.)
    • Increased fuel economy, new vehicle technologies
  • Cross-sector (Industry, Residential, Commercial)
    • More efficient use of materials; improved waste management
    • Energy Efficiency (vehicles, buildings/homes, industry)
    • Water Conservation, Recycling, Reuse
    • Carbon Sequestration in Soils, Natural Areas, through agricultural practices, ecosystem protection
ENERGY STAR helps governments, businesses, and consumers switch to energy efficient products and practices.
  • Three main components: (1) Residential Programs—new homes and home improvement; (2) Commercial and Industrial Programs; (3) Qualified Products
  • Americans saved $14 billion on energy bills while preventing the equivalent annual emissions of 25 million vehicles in 2006—one third of EPA’s total GHG reductions
  • More than 65% of Americans recognize the ENERGY STAR label
you can take the energy star challenge at your school
You can take the Energy Star challenge at your school.
  • Set at least 10% reduction goal
  • Benchmark and take action to improve
  • Help spread the word about energy efficiency
  • www.energystar.gov/challenge
clean energy partnerships
Clean Energy Partnerships
  • Green Power Partnership
    • Helps partners purchase of environmentally friendly electricity products generated from renewable energy sources, on-site or off
    • More than 850 partners are purchasing more than 13 million MWh of green power annually
    • Green Power Locator:
  • Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Partnership
    • Provides technical assistance to meet CHP project needs and make investments in CHP more attractive.
    • Assisted in the development of more than 3,500 MW of new capacity since 2001, 232 partners
methane partnerships
Methane Partnerships
  • Methane (CH4): primary component of natural gas; 23 times the global warming potential of CO2
  • U.S. partnerships help industry capture and/or use methane as a clean energy source
    • Profit-making opportunity
    • Cost-effective option to secure energy supply, stabilize costs, reduce GHGs
  • EPA contributed to an 11% absolute reduction in U.S. methane emissions since 1990, as the economy grew 55%

High-Global Warming Potential Gases Partnerships

Sectors: Aluminum, Magnesium, Semiconductors, Electric Power, Mobile Air Conditioning, and HFC producers

Industry goals through EPA partnerships:

  • Mobile Air Conditioning Partnership – Reduce HFCs50% and improve fuel-efficiency by 30%
  • World Semiconductor Council - PFCs10% below 1995 by 2010
  • International Aluminium Institute - PFCs80% below 1990 by 2010
  • International Magnesium Association – Phase outSF6 by 2010.

Climate Leaders works with companies to develop long-term, comprehensive GHG-management strategies

  • Effective strategies road-tested with ~150 partners from every major business sector, representing:
    • 9% U.S. Gross Domestic Product
    • 8% of total annual U.S. GHG emissions
  • Three components of a credible strategy
    • Complete Corporate-Wide GHG Inventories
    • Develop Inventory Management Plan (IMP)
    • Set Aggressive Corporate-Wide GHG-Reduction Goal
climate leaders successes
Increased energy efficiency in buildings (HVAC, lighting projects, etc.)

Improved efficiency of fleets (logistics, aerodynamics, mpg)

Renewable energy installations

Greening of supply chains

Reduce manufacturing waste

Water conservation

Cost savings

Climate Leaders Successes
the climate and waste connection
The Climate and Waste Connection
  • Recycling and Reducing waste decreases greenhouse gas emissions by:
    • Saving energy by manufacturing with recycled material
    • It takes energy to extract and process raw materials
    • Reducing methane emissions from landfills
    • Reducing paper usage and waste increases carbon storage in forest and soil
  • WasteWise program: Helps partners set recycling and waste reduction goals, quantify GHG benefits (WARM model), free helpline and assistance
Partners with freight industry sectors to improve fuel efficiency and reduce GHG emissions from transport
  • Main components:
    • Idle reduction
    • Increasing the efficiency and use of rail and intermodal operations
    • Work with banks and other organizations to develop financing options that help partners purchase devices that save fuel and reduce emissions.
u s climate change technology program cctp
U.S. Climate Change Technology Program (CCTP)

Six Working Groups:

1) Reduce emissions from energy use

2) Reduce emissions from energy supply

3) Capture/sequester CO2

4) Reduce emissions of non-CO2 GHGs

5) Improve capabilities to measure and monitor GHG emissions

6) Bolster contributions of basic science to technology development


  • Annual investment of more than $5 billion in climate-change research, technology, and tax incentives
international activities
International Activities
  • Negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
    • Committed to developing a global post-2012 framework
  • Major Economies meetings on Energy Security and Climate Change
    • President Bush Initiative, started May 2007
    • 17 countries participating
  • International partnerships:
    • Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate
    • Methane to Markets Partnership
    • Capacity building (e.g., IES and GHG Inventories)
    • Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum
    • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
energy independence and security act of 2007
Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007
  • Increases average fuel economy standard to 35 miles per gallon in 2020 for new cars and trucks
  • Increases Renewable Fuels Standard: requires 9 billion gallons of renewable fuels (ethanol, biodiesel, etc.) in 2008, increasing to 36 billion gallons by 2022
  • Requires EPA to report every three years on benefits and impacts of biofuels
    • Lifecycle assessments
  • Strengthened energy efficiency standards for appliances
  • Authorizes research on geologic sequestration, biofuels, and other renewable energy sources
  • Creates an Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Worker Training Program
EISA mandates

Requires EPA to develop new Renewable Fuel Standard to achieve goal of expanding biofuels to 36 billion gallons by 2022

Requires lifecycle assessments of different fuel types and blends compared to petroleum fuel

Must report every 3 years on environmental impacts, including on water quality and land use

Biofuels Strategy

Interagency Biomass R&D board (DOE and USDA co-chairs)

regulation under the clean air act massachusetts v epa
Regulation Under the Clean Air Act: Massachusetts v. EPA
  • Petitioners asked EPA to regulate GHG emissions from vehicles under section 202 of the Clean Air Act

Supreme Court Decision-- 2 Key Holdings:

  • Greenhouse gases are “air pollutants”

“Because greenhouse gases fit well within the Clean Air Act’s capacious definition of ‘air pollutant,’ we hold that EPA has the statutory authority to regulate the emission of such gases from new motor vehicles.”

  • Agency must consider “Endangerment”

The Agency must pursuant to CAA Section 202(a): (1) Make a positive endangerment finding; (2) Make a negative endangerment finding; or (3) offer a “reasonable explanation as to why it cannot or will not” make a positive or negative endangerment finding.

potential issues created by an endangerment finding
Potential Issues Created by an Endangerment Finding
  • Possible Implications:
    • Ambient air quality standards for greenhouse gases
    • Control and permitting requirements for many currently unregulated sources
      • Threshold for regulating new sources: 250 pounds of emissions/year
      • Average annual CO2 emissions from small residential gas furnace: ~1500 pounds
  • Is the Clean Air Act the Right Vehicle for Greenhouse Gas Regulation?
epa seeking comment on possible endangerment finding
EPA Seeking Comment on Possible “Endangerment” Finding
  • EPA will first seek comment through an “Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,” before a regulatory proposal and final regulation. Administrator Johnson’s Letter of March 27, 2008:
advance notice of proposed rulemaking anpr
Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR)
  • Provide public with the opportunity to provide information and comment on:
    • Best available science on effects of GHGs relevant to making an endangerment finding
    • Issues and questions related to endangerment and vehicle standards
    • Additional CAA regulation that vehicle standards could automatically trigger – mobile and stationary sources
    • Overall approach for potentially addressing GHG emissions under the Clean Air Act.
region 5 roles
Region 5 Roles
  • Assist Headquarters in promoting voluntary partnerships in the Midwest
    • Call on companies located in the Region to join Climate Leaders
    • Energy Star challenge to local governments
  • Collaborate with R5 States, NGOs
  • Continued regulatory and technical support for carbon capture and sequestration
  • Educate our employees and the public about climate change and reducing their carbon footprint
  • Reduce municipal, industrial, construction waste
  • Integrate climate change considerations into core programs (Supplemental Environmental Projects, NEPA reviews, etc.)
  • www.epa.gov/climatechange
  • http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/school.html
  • http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/news_listservs.html
  • http://www.eere.energy.gov
  • http://www.eere.energy.gov/education/lessonplans/
  • http://www.noaa.gov/climate.html
  • http://www.buildgreenschools.org/
melissa s parting thoughts
Melissa’s parting thoughts.
  • Even if you don’t believe in climate change, fossil fuels aren’t going to last forever, and it takes money and work to make fossil fuel combustion cleaner.
    • Develop renewables
  • We are living in energy-inefficient houses, driving inefficient cars, etc.
    • Being more efficient saves money.
  • People are good at developing new technologies (with the right incentives).
  • Climate change policy is rapidly developing.
    • Policies under development
      • Respond to Mass. vs. EPA (GHG ANPR)
      • Mandatory GHG Reporting rule
      • Future climate change/GHG legislation