From: Ken Thomas, Associated Press
Published April 2, 2007 12:00 AM

Auto Industry Urges Economy-Wide Approach to Global Warming

WASHINGTON -- Automakers called for an economy-wide approach to global warming in reaction to a Supreme Court decision Monday that could give the government the authority to regulate the emissions of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases from cars.


The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, an industry trade group representing General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., DaimlerChrysler AG, Toyota Motor Corp. and five others, said in a statement that "there needs to be a national, federal, economy-wide approach to addressing greenhouse gases."


Dave McCurdy, the alliance's president and chief executive, said automakers would work with lawmakers and federal agencies to help develop a national approach.


The auto trade group's comments reflected pledges made in Congress last month by automotive leaders, who said they would work with lawmakers to deal with the challenges of global warming but cautioned that no single industry could bear the burden alone.


The Supreme Court ordered the federal government on Monday to take a fresh look at regulating carbon dioxide emissions from cars, a rebuke to Bush administration policy on global warming. In a 5-4 decision, the court said the Clean Air Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from cars.


Car and truck makers and automobile dealers have said climate change is not fully understood, and new regulations could carry economically significant consequences. Lawyers for the Environmental Protection Agency, in arguments before the court last year, said the new regulations could hurt the economy because 85 percent of the U.S. economy is tied to sources of greenhouse gas emissions.


Michigan, the home of the U.S. auto industry, and eight other states sided with the EPA in its arguments.


Individual automakers said Monday they were reviewing the decision and could not immediately comment.


The Supreme Court decision could greatly affect some global warming-related cases being considered across the nation.


In California, the industry has fought a 2002 law that requires reductions in emissions from cars and light trucks, which would create the world's toughest vehicle-emission standards. Another 10 states that have adopted the stricter California auto standard.


Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Anthony Ishii postponed the trial until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the global warming case.


In the lawsuit, automakers and a California car dealership said the state law is a de facto mandate on fuel economy standards, which can be set only by the federal government. They also said the technology does not exist to meet the California standards and would increase the cost of vehicles.


Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the high court's ruling would have a positive effect on the state litigation.


"Now you've got the Supreme Court of the U.S. rejecting the arguments that the auto industry is making in the challenge to California," Meyer said.


In Vermont, meanwhile, a federal judge is expected to hear arguments next week concerning new standards in California and several northeastern states requiring car companies to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide.


Source: Associated Press


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