Sunday, February 17, 2008

Fighting over standards, US vs. IEA and States vs. Federal government

In Veronica Smith’s “Agency urges US to use pricing to fight energy woes,” the International Energy Agency (IEA) is calling the US out on its excessive use of fossil fuels. The agency is pushing for the US to use price incentives to encourage energy conservation and research in renewable energy. This includes step like abolishing fossil fuel subsidies and implementing stricter vehicle fuel efficiency standards. The US federal government set a goal of 35MPG by 2020. The IEA argues that these steps are not aggressive enough to reach target CO2 emissions cuts by 2050. While the US federal government is not moving as proactively as the IEA would like, the state governments are trying to implement the more strict energy standards. Ironically, the only thing holding the states back from trying to cut green house gases is the federal government. After the EPA denied California’s request to set new vehicle emission standards that were stricter than the federal law, the state decided to sue the federal government for blocking its new standards on emissions. Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and 10 other states have joined the fight to tell our federal government to wake up and smell the exhaust: We need stricter vehicle emission standards!

I have to agree with the IEA in calling out the US on lazy new standards. My car is a 1993 Plymouth with 4-doors and it gets about 30 MPG. But, it’s a 1993!!! This is 2008 and the new standard is for 35MPG. Come on, with all the new technology in cell phones, computers, HDTV’s, I know that we can do better than 35MPG.

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