Climate 411

California's Dangerous "Proposition 98"

Derek WalkerToday's post is by Derek Walker, deputy director of the State Climate Campaign at Environmental Defense Fund.

On June 3rd Californians will vote on two competing ballot initiatives that purport to prevent abuse of "eminent domain" – the power of a government to take private property for public use.

But only one of these – Proposition 99, the Homeowners Protection Act – would limit the government's ability to use eminent domain to take a home to transfer to a private developer.

The other – Proposition 98 – is a deceptive scheme financed by wealthy landlords that would make it easier to evict people from their homes to make way for new developments. Plus Proposition 98 is filled with hidden provisions that would seriously harm the environment.

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Global Warming Bill in Connecticut

Derek WalkerToday's post is by Derek Walker, deputy director of the State Climate Campaign at Environmental Defense Fund.

Connecticut will soon become the fifth state, after California, New Jersey, Hawaii and Washington, to enact a mandatory cap on greenhouse gas emissions. The state's Republican Governor, Jodi Rell, announced this week that she will sign the global warming bill passed by Connecticut's House and Senate. Called Act Concerning Connecticut Global Warming Solutions (HB-5600), the bill has much in common with the California legislation, Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB-32) – also signed into law by a Republican governor.

We at EDF and our allies in Connecticut (Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Environment Northeast, Environment Connecticut, Clean Water Action, the Nature Conservancy and others) almost decided to delay our push for AB-32-style legislation until 2009. The state's economic performance and job growth has been stagnant, and our initial assessment of the legislative appetite for a strong global warming bill was not encouraging. In spite of these choppy seas, we decided to set sail this year even if it became a two-year fight.

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States and Cities Lead the Way

The author of today's post, Derek Walker, is the Deputy Director of the State Climate Campaign at Environmental Defense.

We need federal legislation to solve the global warming crisis – there's no doubt about that. But state and local governments don't have to sit around waiting while the federal debate goes on – and many aren't. States and cities across the country are taking the lead on a wide range of climate issues, demonstrating the political courage and policy innovation needed to protect our planet from the most dangerous effects of global warming.

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New Jersey Leads the Way!

The author of today's article, Derek Walker, is deputy director of the state climate initiative at Environmental Defense.

Last week, New Jersey's House and Senate Budget Committees passed a landmark global warming bill called the "Global Warming Response Act". It sailed through the full House and Senate two days later and Governor Jon Corzine says he will sign it in July.

The bill will cap greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by 2020, and lower the cap to 80 percent below current levels by 2050 (see New York Times article). It is the first bill in the nation to legislate a 2050 target. This is important because 2050 targets are crucial to avoiding the global warming tipping point, and are a component of the bills currently before Congress. When forward-looking states pass legislation like this, it can force the federal government to do likewise.

I went to Trenton to testify before the Budget Committee, and left there inspired.

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