The Committee on Energy and Commerce and its Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality are issuing a series of Climate Change Legislation Design White Papers as the next step in the legislative process leading to enactment of a mandatory, economy-wide climate change program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 60 to 80% by 2050. The White Paper process is designed to raise key questions that must be addressed in climate change legislation and to elicit thoughtful comments on possible answers.

This week, the Committee released its third paper in the series. The third White Paper states that all levels of government – Federal, State, Tribal and local – will need to play active roles in combating climate change. The White Paper then goes on to discuss factors to consider in determining which roles are best played by each level of government. While much attention has been paid to whether the Federal government might preempt California's vehicle emission standards, the Committee’s White Paper begins to tackle the more complicated and complex questions of what roles are best played by each level of government and how these roles should be reflected in federal legislation.