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A Systems Approach for Reducing Greenhouse Gases

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Photo by mocodragon.

While the fuel economy standards in the latest energy bill are a welcome first step, giving us some relief from stagnation in fuel economy from vehicle fleet, the California approach, which treats greenhouse gases as pollutants, and sets performance standards, is the right way to go for the longer term.

In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, we need to get to a full systems approach, looking at fuels and vehicles as a system, and set up a regulatory approach that can keep steady downward pressure on allowable emissions from the fleet of vehicles on American roads.

The EPA’s decision to deny California the waiver to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes of passenger cars and trucks doesn’t bode well for the EPA’s own proposed rule making on the same issue.

Since the US EPA won’t lead, California – and the 17 other states that want to join it – will. And with past as prologue, the courts are likely to support California. Then the EPA will follow and we’ll have a national emissions standard for greenhouse gas emissions, eventually.

It’s just too bad that the Bush Administration is going to force everything into the courts, before the inevitable occurs.