California lawmakers joined environmental groups last week in celebrating the passage of a landmark global warming bill designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation caps California’s emissions at 1990 levels by 2020 (representing an estimated 25 percent overall reduction from current levels); establishes a mandatory emissions reduction reporting program to the state"s Air Resource Board; and establishes a "cap and trade" program allowing businesses to buy and sell emissions rights.
Several nonprofit advocacy groups, including Environment California, Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense, were instrumental in building public support for the new bill and pushing it through the legislative process. "For years the world has waited for the U.S. to take action on global warming," says Jason Barbose, global warming advocate for Environment California, which delivered 30,000 signed postcards to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in support of state action on global warming. "Today,” he adds, “California has stepped forward to be part of the solution in solving this global problem."
The legislation gets California closer to the emissions reductions specified in the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that the U.S. government refuses to sign. The protocol calls for participating developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2 percent below their 1990 levels by 2012. Environmentalists are optimistic that California"s tough new stance on greenhouse gas emissions will spur other U.S. states to pass similar legislation, rendering federal inaction on the issue irrelevant as the states enforce emissions limits directly.
Source: Environment California, www.environmentcalifornia.org