An ambitious plan to slash Florida's greenhouse gas emissions will far exceed the targets set by Gov. Charlie Crist while saving the state billions of dollars, according to a report from Crist's climate team.
The report from the Governor's Action Team on Energy and Climate Change solidifies Crist's 2007 climate initiative in a set of policy prescriptions that could alter everything from how homes are built to the types of cars that Floridians buy. The reforms would reduce greenhouse gases 34 percent by 2025 and save $28-billion from 2009 to 2025, the report estimated. The recommendations included:
• Joining a regional cap-and-trade system until a national system emerges. The team recommended that Florida take the first steps to join an existing cap-and-trade system that has 10 Northeastern states. Polluters that exceed the cap must buy credits from businesses that cut their emissions below the cap.
• Getting 20 percent of the state's electricity from renewable sources by 2020. The Florida Public Service Commission is considering sending a weaker standard to the Legislature early next year, setting up a standoff. The report estimated that the "20 by 20" policy would reduce greenhouse gases by 17-million metric tons by 2017.
• Cutting power use by encouraging energy efficiency could cut greenhouse gases by 13-million metric tons by 2017, while changing building codes to require more energy-efficient buildings could cut an additional 3.4-million metric tons.
• Expanding the use of biomass like forestry waste would lead to a greenhouse gas reduction of 20-million metric tons by 2017, and reforestation and urban tree planting programs could cut greenhouse gases by an additional 10.7-million metric tons.
Asjylyn Loder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 225-3117.