Agreement to develop greenhouse gas emissions reduction standard

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania has signed a letter of agreement with 10 Mid-Atlantic states that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels and other sources by developing a comprehensive, regional low carbon fuel standard, according to Governor Edward G. Rendell.

“This partnership will work closely on a standard for the entire region,” Governor Rendell said. “In conjunction with Pennsylvania’s energy policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase clean energy development, this work done by this partnership will ultimately grow our economy and protect our planet by fostering a cleaner environment.”

A low carbon fuel standard is a market-based, technologically neutral policy to reduce the average lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of a unit of useful energy.

Lifecycle concept

The lifecycle concept of the greenhouse gas “footprint” includes all possible causes of greenhouse gas emissions, direct (on-site, internal) and indirect (off-site, external, embodied, upstream, downstream).

Fuels that may reduce the carbon intensity of transportation include advanced biofuels like cellulosic ethanol, which have lower lifecycle carbon emissions and may be less likely to cause indirect effects from crop diversion and land use changes than those on the market today.

This effort will analyze low-carbon fuel supply options and develop a framework for a regional standard to ensure sustainable use of renewable fuels.

Partnership states will collaborate with the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, which is studying a low carbon fuel standard for the region.

The states have also agreed to work cooperatively with other states and the federal government, and to influence the design of any federal standard or other proposed fuel policy.

Once the low carbon fuel standard is developed, governors from participating states will have the opportunity to consider implementation.

States involved

In addition to Pennsylvania, the other states included among the agreement are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Most of the states in the partnership have set aggressive policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including Pennsylvania.

Climate Change Act

The Climate Change Act, signed into law last year, established an advisory committee that will create a comprehensive report on potential climate change impacts and economic opportunities for the commonwealth.

The committee is also charged with recommending an action plan to implement cost-effective strategies to reduce or offset the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and help the Department of Environmental Protection compile an annual inventory of the sources and amounts of global-warming pollution generated within the state.

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