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Maryland Assembly Moving to Adopt California LEV Standards with CO2 Limits

Maryland (light green) is about to join the other 11 states (dark green) that have adopted the CA LEV program. Click to enlarge.

The House of the Maryland General Assembly has passed the state’s Clean Cars Act (HB 131 / SB 103) by a vote of 122-16. The bill adopts California’s Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV) standards which include the greenhouse gas reduction targets for new cars, beginning with the 2011 model year.

The Maryland Senate is voting on its version of the bill this week, with support from Gov. Martin O’Malley and Senate President Thomas Miller, according to the Baltimore Sun. Passage and enactment seem likely. Maryland would thereby become the 12th state adopting the California LEV program.

The other states, in addition to California, are: New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine and Pennsylvania.

Under the regulations, auto manufacturers would be required to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases by their fleets by around 30% by 2016. In California, the CO2 reductions are due to begin in 2009. Automakers have challenged the regulations in federal court, the state of California has initiated a suit against the automakers, and the US Supreme Court is addressing the issue of regulating CO2.

The California regulations are expressed in terms of CO2-equivalent emissions, taking into account the global warming impact of the different pollutants. Accordingly, there is a CO2-equivalent fleet average emission requirement for the passenger car/light-duty truck 1 (PC/LDT1) category, and another for the light-duty truck 2 (LDT2) category, just as the California LEV program currently has fleet average NMOG emission requirements for both categories of vehicles.

Assuming a start date of 2009, when fully phased in, the near term (2009-2012) standards will result in about a 22% reduction as compared to the 2002 fleet, and the mid-term (2013-2016) standards will result in about a 30% reduction.

CA LEV CO2-Equivalent Emission Standard
Near-term 2009 323 439
2010 301 420
2011 267 390
2012 233 361
Mid-term 2013 227 355
2014 222 350
2015 213 341
2016 205 332

The 2012 PC/LDT1 standard of 233 g CO2e/mile is equivalent to 144 g/km; the LDT2 standard of 361 g/mi is equivalent to 224 g/km. By way of comparison, the EU is proposing legally binding fleet average CO2 emissions of 130 g/km from 2012 onward based on the NEDC, with a further reduction down to 120 g/km from the use of other measures such as biofuels. (Earlier post.)

The exact amount of CO2 generated by burning a gallon of gasoline depends on the precise properties of the individual fuel. In the US, the composition by weight of carbon in gasoline ranges from 85 to 88%, and the density of gasoline in pounds per gallon ranges from 6.0 to 6.5 pounds, according to the Department of Energy.

For some rough calculations, we’ll take the mean value of each (86.5% carbon by weight and 6.25 pounds per gallon) to yield an average carbon content of 5.4 pounds per gallon, or 2,449 grams of carbon per gallon.

Each single molecule of CO2 has an atomic weight of 44 (12 from the carbon atom and 16 from each oxygen atom). To calculate the amount of CO2 produced from a gallon of gasoline, multiply the weight of the carbon in the gasoline by 44/12 or 3.7. Applied to the number above, that yields roughly 9,061 grams of CO2 per theorectical average gallon of gasoline.

On a CO2 only basis (no equivalents, thus leaving out the other greenhouse gas emissions from an auto), that works out to gasoline fuel economy of about 39 miles per gallon to hit the 233 g/mile target in 2012. The 205 g/mile target for 2016 would result—again, just on the basis of considering CO2—in about 44 miles per gallon.

The heavier category, which would include large SUVs, would need gasoline fuel economy of about 25 mpg on a CO2-only basis to hit the 361 g/mile target in 2012, and about 27 mpg to meet the 332 g/mile target in 2016.




Why is it that the response to a scientific issue such as climate change falls along party lines so neatly? Six more blue states and it will match the 2004 election results exactly. Are the republicans just scientifically illiterate? Do the republicans have a monopoly on coal? Is it fear of change (conservatism)? Or is it just Bush?

Let the fireworks begin.....


It's worth noting that the states which have opted in represent approximately 105 million of the 296 million in America -- more than 35%. New Hampshire has recently trended very blue, but they tend to be very anti-regulatory. It'd be nice to see NH and Delaware join in, if only for the continuity. To have a stronger impact, maybe the next best chances are around the Great Lakes -- Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois, with a combined 23.4 million people.

As more and more states join, there'll be more and more pressure on US Senators and Reps to raise the standards nationally.



In my experience a lot of conservatives feel that environmentalists manipulate the science in order to advance a socialist agenda. These environmental groups are often referred to as "watermelons". Green on the outside, red on the inside. Conservatives have an ideological aversion to increasing the power of government over the individual. And they see that a lot of the proposed solutions as thinly-disguised wealth redistribution schemes.

But there are a lot of conservatives out there who do accept the science. Ronald Bailey, science correspondent for the Libertarian mag Reason is one of them. There are others, but Bailey springs easiest to mind.

For my part--and this is really hard to admit--after the latest IPCC report I find it's impossible to maintain my past reservations about the science.

The problem that I see now is that by denying the science completely, conservatives have allowed the "watermelon" environmentalist groups to monopolize the political discussion on what actions to take for far too long. I've tried on a few conservative blogs I frequent to bring up that very issue, but I usually get ignored.


And for a lot of us who tend more toward the libertarian or conservative side, 'accepting the science' doesn't lead to the same conclusions. Check out the work going on with solar influences on climate, particularly the interaction between the solar wind, cosmic rays, and cloud formation. Fascinating stuff, and it seems to hang together very tightly. If true, then most of the worry about carbon dioxide is misplaced.

For me, what it means is that we should continue working on cleaner sources of energy because that is good in its own right, not because we're all gonna die if we don't. But it should be pursued gradually, and only as the technology allows it, and not through some massive, expensive 'New Apollo Project' or the like.


Here in Canada many of our right wing politicians (lol ... they would be Democrats by American standards) have discovered the political value of adopting the issue to take ground away from the left. So what is green on the outside and Conservative blue on the inside?

Paul Dietz

Fascinating stuff, and it seems to hang together very tightly

Not really. See the discussion on about why you should be skeptical. If you are predisposed to believe it, as you may appear to be, you should try to be even more skeptical, since you're at greater risk of fooling yourself.


Matthew, I am wondering what science you think you are accepting. Please reference peer reviewed scientific publications.

That solar forcing has played the major role in recent warming would not only be news to me but also the IPCC. In fact a very recent review article in Nature found no evidence that solar luminosity variation has contributed to significant climate change over the last million years.

Nature 443, 161-166 (14 September 2006) Variations in solar luminosity and their effect on the Earth's climate. P. Foukal1, C. Fröhlich2, H. Spruit3 and T. M. L. Wigley4

Cervus, I am very glad to hear your views are adaptable to evidence.



However, while I do accept the science in broad terms, I still reject the panic-ridden Doom and Gloom that I see in some segments of both the science community and the press in general. Panicky people do not behave rationally. Methane has actually leveled off, and recently there was an observed cooling of the oceans, as published in Geophysical Research Letters last year. I still consider the economics of mitigation vs. adaptation as unsettled; and as the Wegman Report demonstrated, some segments of the climate change scientific community are rather inbred.

That said, it's extremely unlikely that the entire community shares those problems.


We are dealing with our planet, after all. The precautionary principle would be advised. We can always fix the economy later. Not much chance we can fix the planet if we go like we are going.


Auto manufacturing corporations seem eager to blow lots of cash fighting regulation of CO2 emissions, but in the end we need that regulation both from an economic and security standpoint and environmental standpoint. They should be plowing that money into things like auto-stop-start engine technology (like the Chevy Silverado "hybrid") that can be implemented across the board, not as an option but mandatory standard equipment. There's so much low hanging fruit in the North American automotive market and voter / consumer demand for regulation that it really doesn't make sense fighting it at every step.



The precautionary principle applies to any action taken that could potentially damage our economies as well. And frankly, we need to speed up technological innovation, not slow it down. The precautionary principle relies on unproven assertions of potential harm. Perhaps the Proactionary Principle instead?

You argue "we can always fix the economy later". I suggest that we can do this without needing to fix it at all. The transition won't be easy--no paradigm shift is--but we don't need to wreck the global economy in the meantime.


Marcus - Note that I didn't say anything about solar luminosity, but solar wind. There's a writeup on some of the recent work ( that has the peer-reviewed references you're asking about.

Paul's right to encourage skepticism on the whole matter, and I probably shouldn't have described it as hanging together 'very tightly'. I do think it's strong as a driver of long term climate change, and won't be at all surprised if we hear of a strong link to short term changes as well.

Besides, it makes a damn nice change from Al Gore and his roadshow of doom and destruction.


Some who call themselves conservatives, such as Bush and some of his most fundamentalist supporters, simply deny science. I tend to think the current conservatives who oppose the GW science are simply more comfortable dealing with entrenched corporate interests than in the downsizing technology could bring. After all, how does a politician get campaign contributions from 10,000 farmers with windmills instead of one oil company?

Frankly, I don't understand the conflict. The liberals want alternatives because they fear New York City will be under water. The conservatives SHOULD want alternatives for national defense, and it really could be good for the economy -- new technology, industry and all that. After all, a dollar spent on insulating a house contributes as much to GDP as a dollar spent on building an airplane to protect mid-east oil -- and it can stay here in the US. Are we opposed to progress just because the other side wants it, or science because the other side believes it?


The commenter, Neil, above mentions Canada and says that right-wing politicians “have discovered the political value of adopting the (environmental) issue to take ground away from the left.” Unfortunately, the environmental record of some politicians in Canada is ineffectual and duplicitous. The Liberal government did sign the Kyoto agreement but it is now clear that they never intended to abide by the agreement. The quote below from the Edmonton Sun indicates that key members of the Liberal government viewed the agreement as a sham:

The previous Liberal government ratified the Kyoto Protocol knowing Canada wasn’t ready to take the tough measures needed to address climate change and would likely miss the deadlines for reducing emissions, says a top adviser to former prime minister Jean Chretien.
Sadly, Canada abandoned Kyoto even before the Conservative government took power. Canada’s emissions have actually risen some 35 per cent since 1990 according to the current Environment Minister. Canada has a massive and growing tar-sands industry with large environmental consequences. I hope that Canadians will work hard to help push the country in a positive direction.


States Rights, Baby! (For you young'uns, that's an old Red State (slave state) buzzword for opposition to federally imposed civil rights.) Since there is ZERO leadership coming out of Washington on this, it is really nice to see the people taking charge. My only complaint is: Why in the hell should large SUVs get a break here? That's the kind of thing that got us into this problem in the first place. Oh, I forgot. Everyone "needs" a Monster Truck to drive junior over to Chuck E. Cheese.


One of the most important renewable power projects in the United States today is Cape Wind. Proponents hope to build a large offshore wind farm located miles off the shore of Massachusetts one of the “bluest” states. The project is facing massive opposition spear-headed by Senator Kennedy one of the “bluest” politicians. It is unclear if it will ever be built. NIMBYism (not-in-my-back-yard) is a powerful force.

Two of the most important solar projects in the U.S. are supposed to be built in the deserts of Southern California by Stirling Energy Systems. The projects would use large parabolic dishes to concentrate sunlight and stirling engines to generate electricity. But there is major opposition to the transmission line required to connect the solar project to the energy grid. It is unclear if either the power line or the solar dish farm will ever be built in this “blue” state. More NIMBYism in California.

“Blue” state Vermont is starting to aggressively block wind farms. Wind is one of the most important forms of renewable energy. NIMBYism is in ascendance in Vermont.

This thread contains sanctimonious self-congratulatory nonsense about tissue-thin symbolic regulations that are easily reversible and filled with loop-holes. Recall that California reversed its zero-emissions mandate and deeply-damaged the electric-car market in the past. I hope that all people will work hard to push there states and countries in a positive direction and refrain from hypocritical vituperation.


Climate Change issue was politically and ideologically loaded from the very beginning. See, for example, chapters 3-5 of Prof. Lindzen article here (I know, Kato Institute):

And indeed, how much scientific and how much ideological is notion that climate and CO2 levels were stable and optimal (talk about climate change denial) before humans screwed it with industrial revolution?

Too bad that part of scientific community allowed themselves to be involved in dirty political games.

Meanwhile, scientists like Nir Shaviv, H. Swensmark, K. Abdusamatov, etc. are just doing their job.

Paul Dietz

And indeed, how much scientific and how much ideological is notion that climate and CO2 levels were stable and optimal

That word, 'optimal', sounds so clinical and detached. The reality is that climate change will harm some people, such as those living in areas that will be submerged by rising seas, or farming in areas that will likely experience permanent drying as Hadley cells shift. Even if a warmer world were, in some collectivist sense, 'better', it is unjust to those on whom the negative locals changes are forced.

The comment about stability would have more force if we weren't causing the atmosphere to approach a state it hasn't been in for tens of millions of years.

Rafael Seidl

If you don't subscribe to the notion that there is a high risk of irreversible climate change - and that such change would be detrimental - then you should approve of these states' actions on the basis of reduced dependence on OPEC oil alone.

Contrary to some of the comments made, driving regular sized - as opposed to HUGE - vehicles and paying a little more up front for high-efficiency technology isn't going to wreck anybody's economy. On the contrary, high tech actually means more jobs and profits for the domestic auto industry and its supply chain, especially in R&D. With China, India, Eastern Europe and others all seeking Western standards of living, the only way for OECD countries to go is to increase the share of national income that is based on the generation of intellectual property.



If global warming even hits the median predictios, the impact of climate change will be felt not just by those whose crops dry up, or those in areas submerged by rising waters. Everyone will feel it in economic and social chaos long before New York, or even Miami is under water. We will be fighting wars for croplands and water, deciding who will live and who dies, who gets energy and who doesn't well before the ocean rises one foot. And everyone will be involved.

However, I am optimistic that technology and reason will surface sooner rather than later to head off some of these problems. Unfortunately, not all.

Kit P.

Paul, no one alive today will be involved or our immediate descendant will be involved. Maybe sea level will increase to where they were 5,000 years ago, or maybe they will decrease to where there was 14,000 years ago. I looked at the most recent report. The climate did not change over the last decade. Any changed, natural or other wise, are not measurable withing the accuracy of our ability to measure it. Think I am wrong, it is available on the Internet.

On a human time scale the weather changes, but the climate is constant. On a geological time frame, the climate has changed and scientist have some interesting theories.


Kit P, why don't you check out the latest IPCC summary here:

The world temperature, ie climate has changed measurably over the last century and will continue to change during this century. Sea levels have risen on average 3 mm a year over the last decade. That puts it at 30 cm by the end of this century IF it remains at this rate. Evidence suggests that this rate will probably increase. The consequences of this will be felt by many people around the world. Already low lying islands such as Tuvalu are being threatened.

What are your sources?

Kit P.

Marcus, my source is the same as yours. My point is that 30 cm over 100 years is a very small change. Furthermore, the evidence does not suggest anything. How do you think people got to Tuvalu without electricity or steam ships? They were rugged nomads that survived by adapting to changes in the climate.


Mean Global Ocean levels are extremely difficult to determine due to periodical oscillations and high local variability (currents, atmospheric pressure, salinity, ocean temperature, wind, etc. influence regional ocean level on order of magnitude higher then general trend). Ocean level is rising for 20 000 years from the end of last Ice Age, with mean speed over last 7000 years of about 1.8 mm per year. 20 century is no different:

“The rate of sea level change was found to be larger in the early part of last century (2.03 ± 0.35 mm/yr 1904–1953), in comparison with the latter part (1.45 ± 0.34 mm/yr 1954–2003). The highest decadal rate of rise occurred in the decade centred on 1980 (5.31 mm/yr) with the lowest rate of rise occurring in the decade centred on 1964 (−1.49 mm/yr). Over the entire century the mean rate of change was 1.74 ± 0.16 mm/yr.”:

“In the last 300 years, sea level has been oscillation close to the present with peak rates in the period 1890-1930. Between 1930 and 1950, sea fell. The late 20th century lack any sign of acceleration. Satellite altimetry indicates virtually no changes in the last decade. Therefore, observationally based predictions of future sea level in the year 2100 will give a value of +10 +10 cm (or +5 +15 cm).”:

“Over the 51 year period, there is no significant difference in the rates of coastal and global averaged sea level rise, as found in climate model simulations of the 20th century. The best estimate of both global average and coastal sea level rise remains 1.8 ± 0.3 mm yr−1, as found in earlier studies.”:

Kit P.

Andrey, is there geological evidence for the highest levels during the previous interglacial warm periods or has this disappeared due to erosion?

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