N.Y. Joins 11-State Effort to Reduce GHG Emissions

New York and 10 other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states will cooperate to develop a regional "Low Carbon Fuel Standard" to reduce the carbon concentration in fuels used in vehicles and buildings, according to a Jan. 6 press release from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York State Energy and Research Development Authority.

The 11 states -- the 10 members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) plus Pennsylvania -- will create an emissions-performance standard that will eventually provide incentives for energy providers to use low-carbon fuel.

"A regionally-based Low-Carbon Fuels Standard will help build momentum in creating the next generation of fuels that will help address the crisis of global climate change," said Robert Callender, vice president for programs at NYSERDA. "The successful implementation of RGGI proves that states working collaboratively can establish policies that have a positive impact on both the economy and the environment."

The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) initiative envisions the creation of a market-based, technologically neutral policy to address the carbon content of fuels. In addition to covering vehicle fuels, a low-carbon standard potentially could apply to fuel used for indoor heating, industrial processes, and electricity generation. In the transportation sector, such a standard could potentially encourage the use of electric-powered vehicles and biofuels that have a lower-carbon footprint than traditional fuels, based on a full life cycle analysis. The effort will discourage the use of biofuels that are likely to cause negative impacts such as crop diversion and land-use changes.

The 10 RGGI states already have enacted regulations that cap CO2 emissions in the power sector and held two auctions of pollution allowances in 2008 as part of the first market-based, mandatory cap-and-trade program in the United States. The 11 states will collaborate with the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), which is conducting a study of a LCFS for the region. The states also agree to work cooperatively with other states and the federal government, and to seek to influence the design of any federal LCFS or other proposed fuels policy.

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