Other important developments on the climate change front in recent weeks included the September 12th decision by a federal district court in Vermont upholding state efforts to set limits on emissions of greenhouse gases by automobiles (the decision can be found at: http://www.vtd.uscourts.gov/Supporting%20Files/Cases/05cv302.pdf) and a September 17th decision by a federal judge in California dismissing the state’s climate change nuisance suit against automobile manufacturers as a political question (Available here)
In other news, the Vatican now claims to be the first state to entirely offset its carbon emissions by paying Klimafa, a new company, to plant trees in a 37-acre “Vatican climate forest” along the Tisza River in Hungary. See Elisabeth Rosenthal, “Vatican Tree Penance: Forgive Us Our CO2,” New York Times, Sept. 17, 2007, A1. (The Tisza River attracted international attention in January 2000 when a collapsed tailings pond cause a massive cyanide spill upstream in Romania). Environmental Defense and CERES filed a petition asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to require companies to disclose company estimates of the climate change risks their businesses face. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has issued supboenas to some utilities to determine if they are hiding similar information. On Monday former President Clinton will release the results of the 2007 Carbon Disclosure Project, which requested data from 2,400 companies on how they manage climate change risks. For more information see http://www.cdproject.net/.
Tomorrow’s UN session will feature an address by Al Gore. While President Bush will not attend the actual session, 80 other heads of state are expected (Bush reportedly will attend the dinner following the session). On Thursday and Friday the White House will host its own climate change gathering with representatives of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases. The Bush administration has let it be known in advance that it will continue to refuse to commit to anything but voluntary measures, a position that will enable the developing countries present (China, India, Brazil and Indonesia) to refuse to endorse mandatory limits applicable to them.