Last week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established monitoring rules so the federal government can track and inventory emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Congress called for the implementation of such a regulatory framework back in 2007, but the Bush administration dragged its feet, leaving the work to the current administration.
According to Lisa Jackson, Obama"s EPA administrator, the new greenhouse emissions reporting requirements would cover the nation"s 13,000 or so largest fossil fuel-burning facilities that produce some 85 to 90 percent of U.S. global warming pollution. Having these new rules in place will be key tothe success of any effort to institute a national “cap-and-trade” system-as called for by Obama and other key policymakers-to incentivize polluters to cut back. The new rule could produce detailed statistics tracking the generation of greenhouse gas emissions from coast-to-coast by end of 2010.
Of course, greens cheered the (long-awaited) move by EPA. "By moving quickly to develop regulations that had stalled under the previous administration, Administrator Lisa Jackson clearly recognizes the urgency of addressing the climate crisis," said David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). "The Obama administration understands that we need strong leadership by the White House and Congress to meet our nation’s challenges—moving to a clean energy future, jumpstarting our economic recovery, and cutting global warming pollution."