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Three More States Adopt Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions Limits

July 18, 2007

The states of Hawai’i, New Jersey, and Florida have each recently adopted statutes or regulations requiring reductions in state-wide emissions of greenhouse gases (“GHG”). They join California[1] and Washington[2], whose legislatures earlier enacted similar plans. Florida also joined twenty-two other states and the District of Columbia in adopting renewable portfolio standards (“RPS”).

Hawai’i’s Global Warming Solutions Act

Hawai’i’s legislature adopted the Global Warming Solutions Act (HB 226, CD 1) in May 2007. The legislation calls for reducing the level of greenhouse gas emissions in the state to 1990 levels by the year 2020. That represents a 15 percent reduction from current emissions, and a 25 percent reduction from the projected emissions anticipated by 2020 if the current upward were to continue.[3] A copy of Hawai’i’s legislation can be viewed at this link.

New Jersey’s Global Warming Response Act

New Jersey’s Legislature adopted the Global Warming Response Act on July 6, 2007. The Act imposes economy-wide cuts of greenhouse gas emissions of about 16 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. The significance of these reductions lies not only in the size of the mandated reduction, but that they are being established in the country's most densely populated state.[4] New Jersey’s emission reduction limit is an enforceable mandate, not a target.

Florida’s Governor Sets GHG Emission Reduction Targets by Executive Order

Last week, Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist signed executive orders at a global warming conference in Miami setting emission targets for power companies, automobiles and trucks. The rules establish targets for Florida to reduce GHG emissions to 2000 levels by 2017, to 1990 levels by 2025, and to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. In addition, the regulations impose an RPS limit for Florida utilities of 20% of their electricity from renewable sources, and require the Florida state government to reduce emissions by 10% from current levels by 2012, 25% by 2017 and 40% by 2025.[5]

Comparison of Statutes/Regulations

The following table provides a comparison of the approaches taken by California, Washington, Hawai’i, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Florida:

State Date Enabling Bill 2020 Target 2050 Target RPS Limit
California Sep. 2006 AB 32 1990 levels N/A 20% (2010)
Washington May 2007 ESB 6001 1990 levels 50% below 1990 levels 15% (2020)
Hawai’i June 2007 HB 226 1990 levels 80% below 1990 levels 20% (2020)
New Jersey July 2007 A 3301 1990 levels 80% below 2006 levels 22 1/2% (2021)
Florida July 2007 Exec. Order 1990 levels
(by 2025)
80% below 1990 levels N/A

For more information on state climate change legislation and regulation, contact anyone in Marten Law Group’s Climate Change practice group.

[1] California adopted Assembly Bill 32 (“AB 32”), which requires California to reduce its GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The adoption of AB 32 was previously reported and analyzed in this newsletter. See California Sets Mandatory Limits on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Steps Out Ahead of EPA, Marten Law Group Environmental News (September 20, 2006).

[2] Washington established GHG emissions reductions targets in May 2007, with the adoption of ESB 6001. Washington’s legislation included economy-wide reductions in GHG emissions and performance standards prohibiting Washington utilities from purchasing electricity from coal and other high carbon-emitting sources. Washington’s adoption of ESB 6001 was also reported and analyzed in this newsletter. See B. Marten, Washington State Enacts Climate Change Legislation, Marten Law Group Environmental News (May 2, 2007).

[3] News coverage of the adoption of the bill can be viewed at Hawai’i passes law to cap emissions at 1990 levels and Hawai’i prepared to clean up emissions.

[4] See New Jersey governor signs toughest U.S. carbon law, Reuters (July 6, 2007).

[5] For coverage of Governor Crist’s executive order, see Florida to introduce tough greenhouse gas targets Reuters (July 11, 2007); Crist sets timeframe to cut Florida greenhouse gases Tampa Bay Business Journal (July 13, 2007).

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