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Don’t faint. The government appears to moving on climate change


Leaders from both parties are proposing regulations to phase out the incandescent bulb by 2020

It’s rare that we get any good news on government and climate change, so today is a special day, with two good pieces of news, one involving cars, and the others light bulbs.

The first is the celebrated Vermont case, where a judge has ruled that Vermont can go ahead with its plan to regulate CO2 emissions from vehicles (see LA Times article). I won’t bore you all with the particulars, except to say that this increases the momentum towards California doing the same. When combined with the Supreme Court’s ruling, the legal path for CO2 regulation looks more and more solid.

Whether this case ultimately concludes with a balkanized patchwork of state regulations, or capitulation by opponents to a tougher federal standard doesn’t really matter. We just need progress on making our cars more fuel efficient, and there’s real progress here.

Second, an article in today’s Wall Street Journal suggests that lighting manufacturers and congressional leaders are close to agreement on a plan to ban the incandescent light bulb. This will be included in revised energy legislation to be voted on in October.

Many TerraPass readers (64% according to our customer survey) have already made the shift, but establishing a path to ban the inefficient bulb for the rest of America by 2020 will save consumers $6 billion and provide a massive reduction in carbon emissions. How big? Well if the bulb was eliminated worldwide, estimates of carbon reduction are about 75% of the total commitment under the Kyoto Protocol! Australia, Canada and the EU are also considering bans, and we’re delighted that the US seems headed down the same path.

Of course, what we really need is hard caps on carbon emissions. But these moves represent real progress in the pursuit to convince our leaders we need action on climate change, and that’s worth celebrating.

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