MIAMI Florida will impose strict new
air-pollution standards that aim to reduce greenhouse-gas
emissions by 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050, according to
draft regulations released on Wednesday.
Gov. Charlie Crist was expected to sign executive orders at
a global warming conference in Miami this week setting new
emissions targets for power companies, automobiles and trucks,
toughen conservation goals for state agencies and require
state-owned vehicles to use alternative fuels.
Florida would adopt many tough pollution standards set by
California and mimicked by other states, which have implemented
their own such regulations because Washington has failed to
pass national laws. President George W. Bush has also rejected
the international Kyoto agreement on reducing greenhouse gas
The rules would establish targets for Florida to reduce its
greenhouse gas emissions to 2000 levels by 2017, to 1990 levels
by 2025 and by 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050.
"I'm delighted but not surprised," said Preston Robertson,
vice president of the Florida Wildlife Federation. "This is the
kind of leadership we need across the nation."
Florida is one of the fastest-growing U.S. states, with a
net gain of nearly 1,000 new residents per day. Its estimated
population of 18 million ranks behind only California, Texas
and New York.
The draft orders note Florida's critical tourism industry,
which brings nearly 85 million visitors a year, and the
vulnerability of its 1,350 miles of coast to the possible
effects of global warming, including higher seas and violent
"All of the issues we work on -- protecting land, keeping
estuaries clean, and preventing unnecessary growth -- none of
them will mean very much if we have global sea rise," Robertson
Among the state's new targets are milestones for electric
utilities culminating in a reduction in emissions to 20 percent
of 1990 levels by 2050. Power companies would also be required
to produce at least 20 percent of their electricity from
renewable sources, focusing on solar and wind power.
More than 70 percent of Florida's electricity now comes
from fossil fuels.
The regulations also call for adopting California's new
motor vehicle emission standards -- requiring carmakers to
build cars and trucks that reduce emissions by 25 percent by
the 2009 model year -- if the Environmental Protection Agency
California passed the tougher standards but needs an EPA
waiver to implement them. The EPA has promised to act on the
request by year's end.
Crist, a Republican, would also require state government to
reduce emissions 10 percent from current levels by 2012, 25
percent by 2017 and 40 percent by 2025.
The new rules would be passed by executive orders, which do
not need the approval of the legislature. But the orders also
call for drafting a "climate change action plan" including
recommendations for legislative changes to existing laws needed
New Jersey became the latest state to bypass Washington
last week when Gov. John Corzine, a Democrat, signed a law
mandating cuts of greenhouse gas emissions by about 16 percent
by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.
Environmentalists said the New Jersey law was tougher than
California's because the 2050 reduction is an enforceable
standard while California's is just a target. The drafts of
Crist's orders for Florida also refer to targets.
Crist is expected to sign the new regulations at his
Florida Summit on Global Climate Change set for Thursday and
Friday in Miami, where California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
and environmental activists Robert Kennedy Jr. and Theodore
Roosevelt IV are featured speakers.
(Additional reporting by Michael Peltier in Tallahassee)