This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

July 18, 2007

Florida Executive Orders Aim to Cut Greenhouse Gases

Florida—a state that stands to lose a lot to rising sea levels—has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed three GHG-related executive orders on July 13th, including one that sets targets of reducing the state's overall emissions to 2000 levels by 2017, to 1990 levels by 2025, and to 20% of 1990 levels by 2050. The order directs the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop rules that set those same milestones for the state's electric utilities; to adopt California's GHG standards for motor vehicles; and to establish an idle reduction standard for diesel engines.

It also directs the Florida Department of Community Affairs to convene the Florida Building Commission in order to set new building standards that increase the energy performance of new buildings by 15% by 2009. The department is also directed to set new standards that mandate a 15% increase in the efficiency of certain consumer products by 2009. Finally, the order asks the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) to initiate rulemaking that would require utilities to draw on renewable energy for 20% of their electricity; to adopt international standards for connecting renewable energy systems to the grid; and to allow net metering for renewable energy systems up to 1 megawatt in capacity. However, the PSC is not bound by the governor's executive orders. See the executive order 07-127 (PDF 148 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

That's not all. An additional executive order sets tougher near-term GHG emissions goals for state agencies, namely a 10% reduction from today's levels by 2012, a 25% reduction by 2017, and a 40% reduction by 2025. To meet those goals, the order calls for all state agencies to inventory their energy-related GHG emissions and directs the Department of Management Services to set LEED green building standards for the state's new and existing state-owned buildings. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the standard set by the U.S. Green Building Council. State agencies are also precluded from renting office space that doesn't meet Energy Star standards. The order also applies GHG standards to the state's procurement processes and the state's vehicle fleets. A third executive order creates a new Action Team on Energy and Climate Change, which will develop a comprehensive Energy and Climate Change Action Plan. The governor also signed partnership agreements with the United Kingdom and Germany. See the governor's press release; executive orders 07-126 (PDF 257 KB) and 07-128 (PDF 189 KB); and the partnership agreements with the United Kingdom (PDF 155 KB) and Germany (PDF 125 KB).