Some very encouraging things are happening over at the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In response to a Supreme Court decision, they have issued an endangerment finding – paving the way to regulation. According to analysis on Grist, automobiles are likely to be the first sector targeted, though they represent only 20% of emissions. Later possible targets include coal power plants, which generate 40% of American greenhouse gasses.
In addition to prompting regulation, the finding may drive action in Congress, since legislators will likely prefer designing a greenhouse gas mitigation system themselves, rather than leaving it to the EPA. As such, this raises hopes of the United States passing a cap-and-trade bill sometime this year – the first absolute necessity in kicking off the transition to a low-carbon economy.
The Grist analysis above is well worth reading, as it is quite comprehensive. Along with Obama’s new commitment to high speed rail, this justifies considerable optimism about changes in American climate policy. That, in turn, might go a long way towards making the international negotiations in Copenhagen this December more successful.