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Maryland Governor Signs Clean Car Bill Adopting California Emissions Standards

Twelve states (dark green), including California, are now under the California emissions standards with their greenhouse gas limits. Five more (yellow) are actively considering joining. Click to enlarge.

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed a number of environmental bills into law, including the Maryland Clean Cars Act. (Earlier post.) This makes Maryland the 12th state to adopt the California Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV) standards which include the greenhouse gas reduction targets for new cars.

The signing came on the same day that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Stephen Johnson announced that the agency had opened the public comment process for the waiver that would enable California and the other states to move ahead with regulating greenhouse gas emissions from future new vehicles. (Earlier post.)

Under the regulations, auto manufacturers would be required to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases by their fleets by around 30% over a period of time. In California, the CO2 reductions are due to begin in 2009. Maryland’s implementation of the standards begins with the 2011 model year.

The week prior, the governor brought Maryland into line with ten neighboring states by joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The governor also signed an Executive Order that establishes a Climate Change Commission charged with developing an action plan to address climate change in Maryland and rising sea levels in the Chesapeake Bay.

Other legislation signed into law included:

  • Chesapeake Bay Oyster Restoration: Establishes an Oyster Advisory Commission in the Department of Natural Resources and allows for the leasing of parcels of underwater land to restore vulnerable oyster populations.

  • Maryland Green Building Council: Establishes the Maryland Green Building Council, which will advise the Governor and General Assembly on how they can best use green building technologies in future state construction projects.

  • Prohibition of the commercial harvest of diamondback terrapins, and limits the recreational harvest to 3 per person.

  • Stormwater Management Act of 2007: Requires the Department of the Environment to adopt new regulations and a model ordinance to manage stormwater runoff.


Stan Peterson

H20 is 16 times more effective as CO2 as a GHG. When will the benighted "Leaders" propose regulating water vapor.

I'm reminded of the the King of antiquity who commanded the tides to recede. These clowns should command the skies to have no humidity. Rain is now VERBOTEN !! This nonsense should be about as effective, as the King's commands.

It is quite clear that the Section 177 regulation allowing a state California, to set tougher standards to meet the LA Basin unique needs, is now totally out of control. With the exception of the metro NYC area perhaps, there is no unique need anywhere else.

The federal Government needs to reign in these budding empire builders and set standards. We need to get rid of "boutique" fuels, as well as "boutique" regulations.

Reality Czech

Leaders will propose regulating water vapor when the following become true:

  1. Water vapor in the air is persistent in time and across political boundaries.
  2. Changes in water vapor are driven largely by human contributions.
This will never happen.  Atmospheric water vapor is controlled by feedback effects, including other greenhouse gases.  If you want to regulate algae in your lakes, you have to control the precursor nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus); if you want to regulate water vapor, you have to do it by controlling the non-condensible GHG's.

BTW, your example of King Canute undermines your point.  He sat on the beach and commanded the tide to show the limits of royal power (as an example to those who took "divine right of kings" too literally).



Would you like to supply some sources that support your unfounded claim that H20 is a significant Greenhouse Gas?

Keep in mind that California was regulating air quality before the EPA existed, and has the authority to set standards for the state.
If the nation can't keep up with the latest research data, why should California and the 12 other state wait for them to look at the data?

Are you suggesting that there is no air pollution other than LA and NYC? I'm sure you will find millions that disagree.


yes Stan but CO2 spend a LOT longer time in the atmosphere once it's there. Furthermore, anthropogenic sources of H2O vapor is orders of magnitude less relevant than anthropogenic sources of CO2.


Stan - why do you persist? I really wonder where you get your information from. The assertions you make are amazingly incorrect, misconstrued or misinterpreted that it's comical, they sound like reruns of the Colbert Report.

As should be obvious to anyone with a 3rd grade education, water vapor has a natural cycle of evaporation and condensation. What is CO2's feedback mechanism? Vegetation that gets cleared away at increasing rates? More CO2 doesn't mean more plants or bigger plants either for those that would claim so, plant respiration has it's limits.


Let's see.

Water vapor as a greenhouse gas, according to NOAA.

"As yet, though the basics of the hydrological cycle are fairly well understood, we have very little comprehension of the complexity of the feedback loops. Also, while we have good atmospheric measurements of other key greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, we have poor measurements of global water vapor, so it is not certain by how much atmospheric concentrations have risen in recent decades or centuries, though satellite measurements, combined with balloon data and some in-situ ground measurements indicate generally positive trends in global water vapor."

So, Stan might be partly right. But there's just too many uncertainties re water vapor just yet.


Yes, H20 is indeed a GHG, that's not the argument.

Paul Dietz

Yes, water vapor is a greenhouse gas (although not '16 times more effective'). All the climate models incorporate atmospheric water and its effects -- they'd be completely unable to predict current climate if they didn't.

The same models also predict rising CO2 will increase global temperatures. One way this happens is by CO2 induced warming leading to higher global absolute humidity, causing H2O-induced warming; a classic feedback effect. So it's not clear why you think waving the water vapor flag will somehow invalidate the models and allow you to ignore the effects of increased CO2.

joe padula

You are right, the individual regs are foolish.
The whole country should have the CA regs.
All cars should be PZEV within 5 years.


So, Stan might be partly right.
NO! Stan is full of bovine bio-mass as usual.

"However, changes in its conentration is also considered to be
a result of climate feedbacks related to the warming of the
atmosphere rather than a direct result of industrialization."

Remember high school science class: hot air holds more water.
CO2 causes Global Warming which causes more water vapor.



According to the NOAA site the water vapor feedback mechanisms are not yet well understood. How does more water vapor affect cloud formation and thus overall albedo? Ergo, we just can't say one way or the other. We need to wait until the observational data is in.

Repeat after me: We don't know.


Not to worry, those not concerned with or who do not believe in AGW, these actions by Maryland seem rather lame in the extreme. And why should we wait until 2011? Does anyone have the courage to require reductions now?



CO2's "Feedback mechanism" as you call it, is dissolution into water, and eventual conversion into mineral carbonate. It's not as obvious as the cycle of precipitation, but it's quite real.


I don't need absolute proof that an onrushing car is in fact going to hit me, and proof that if it does hit me it will hurt, before I step out of the way. Better safe than sorry, especially if some of the solutions to other problems (like oil addiction) happen to be the same.


Actually tom has come closest to understanding what my wonderful governor and legislature has done. They did say we should adopt California standards, but not till 2011, which strangly enough is after Gov. O'Malley's current term and the current legislatures terms of office expire, so their sticking the next guys with the costs and consumer backlash while claiming the credit for themselves. And if it's found impractical or too expensive they can always quietly vote to roll back or delay the standards while the issues are "studied". It's not like they have to worry about the competition. Maryland has been a one party state since before the Civil War. There is no real competition here.



We had discussion about water vapor before, but looks like it is time to repeat it.

Water vapor is responsible for 90-95% of GHG effect, from remaining 5-10% CO2 is responsible for about 2/3. Antropogenic CO2 emissions from combustion of fossil fuels represents 3-3.5% of global yearly carbon cycle. Antropogenic influence on climate is by three orders of magnitude less than natural variation of GHG, let alone other climatic factors such as clouds, solar irradiation, solar wind modulation of galactic cosmic rays, changes in ocean currents (ocean contains about 1000 times more heat energy than atmosphere), aerosols, dust, etc.

US contributes about 20% of global CO2 emissions from combustion of fossil fuels, transportation is responsible for 25% of of it, Maryland contributes – how much? 5% of it? 30% reduction of it represents one million’s part of natural GHG warming effect. Go, Maryland, you can make a difference.

Information on the subject is readily available on numerous web sites, encyclopedias, and from scientific articles, but of course scientific facts would not benefit anyone basing their judgment on semi-religious feel-good beliefs, rather then on elementary knowledge and common sense.

In simplified form magnitude of water vapor/CO2/antropogenicCO2 GHG effect is presented on U-tube here:


With the addition of Maryland, by my quick back-of-the-envelope calculations, just over 35% of the U.S. population lives in a state governed by the California standards. That's terrifc progress.

Monroe Alvarado

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