Planning for Green Legislation: State-Level Mandates a Preview for Smart Hoteliers
By Jim Poad Director of Client Solutions, Advantage IQ | August 03, 2010
Government regulation of carbon emissions is slowly, but surely becoming a reality. Whether the federal government will demand a cap on greenhouse gas emissions, or require offsets and purchase of clean energy, is no longer an "if" but a "when." These changes are coming and promise to revolutionize the way America does business over the next few years.
The first businesses to feel the immediate effects of pending federal legislations will be the energy producers, and in turn, every energy consuming business. Regulations on carbon emissions production and requirements to be greener can be safely associated with higher costs and higher prices for end consumers. Companies who purchase energy to operate multiple sites, like big box retailers, restaurant chains, and hotel chains should take a close look at changes happening at the state level to be prepared for the day when their own states' energy producers are expected to meet similar guidelines, and they in turn see prices jump.
More than half of the continental United States is now either a member of, or observer of, a regional climate initiative, including the Western Climate Initiative, Midwestern Regional GHG Reduction Accord, or Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Many state governments have already passed legislation, targeting industry, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The majority of noteworthy regulations set emissions standards for power plants-the biggest contributors of climate changing carbon emissions. Some states have set forth goals for statewide emissions reductions and enacted regulations on vehicular emissions and environmental impact of new construction. These states are taking legitimate action as a precursor to pending federal mandates.
Savvy business owners will pay attention to state-level legislation in place around the country. It's the perfect preview of what will likely come to their state, and in some instances even be required of them in coming years. California, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Washington can all provide useful examples of state level initiative taken to address greenhouse gas emissions.
California, which is the second largest producer of greenhouse gases, behind only Texas, has taken serious action at the state level to get their emissions under control. The state has issued an Energy Action Plan (EAP), which states that "in meeting the state's energy needs, it would first invest in energy efficiency and demand-side resources, followed by renewable resources, and only then in clean conventional energy supply."