California passes greenhouse gas bill
by Sean Chamberlin - Thursday, 31 August 2006, 07:13 PM
 

California passes greenhouse gas bill

By Mary Milliken1 hour, 4 minutes ago

California made a bold move to curb global warming by passing on Thursday the first bill in the United States to cap man-made greenhouse gas emissions, an action state leaders hope will be copied across the country.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, frustrated by lack of action from fellow Republican President George W. Bush on reducing heat-trapping gases, teamed up with the state's Democratic majority on the landmark bill.

The bill cleared its last legislative hurdle in the State Assembly in a 46-31 vote, with opposition from Schwarzenegger's own Republican Party. The Senate voted to pass it 23-14 late on Wednesday. Schwarzenegger plans to sign it next month.

The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 puts California at the forefront of the fight against climate change along with the European Union, and increases pressure on Washington to impose mandatory caps rather than the voluntary measures favored by Bush.

California aims to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, a cut of around 25 percent. The biggest sources of heat-trapping gases, such as power plants and cement makers, will be required to report their emissions.

Bush pulled the United States out of the 160-nation Kyoto Protocol in 2001 on the grounds that the mandatory reductions in greenhouse gases would hurt the economy and wrongly excluded developing nations.

Assembly Speaker and co-sponsor Fabian Nunez appealed to California's traditional leadership on the environment and asked the legislature to take "an opportunity to be bold."

'TIPPING POINT'

"Members, this is a bipartisan bill; it's a bipartisan bill that has good corporate citizens supporting it," said Nunez, a Los Angeles Democrat who engaged in tense talks with Schwarzenegger's administration for weeks.

Republicans argued the bill was "not fully cooked" and echoed concerns in the business community that it would drive away companies to less regulated places like China.

While Schwarzenegger will use his good record on the environment in his November re-election bid, Nunez has said the Democrats hope to roll it out to other states and make it a hot election issue for the 2008 presidential race.

"We've reached a tipping point in the fight against global warming," said Frances Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"The whole world has been watching to see whether California passes this bill, and now the world will watch as California takes the lead in developing a clean energy market."

Although California is a pace-setter on the environment, it is also the world's 12th-largest producer of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and faces potentially serious concerns over its drinking water, coastline, agriculture and air quality because of the rise in temperatures.

(Additional reporting by Jenny O'Mara in Sacramento)

Re: California passes greenhouse gas bill
by Lisa Paynter - Friday, 1 September 2006, 04:39 PM
  I love the idea of being on the forefront of curbing global warming though I do have some concerns.  I know California had been driving a lot of businesses out of the state.  The high cost of living in this area does not help either.  I would like to see a mandatory reporting of information and studies on the effects the greenhouse gases based on the reports.  Maybe this has already been done, but the article does not make it seem as though it has been.  Mandatory reporting and voluntary reductions would be a nice place to start.  Perhaps the businesses affected by this bill will be able to come up with alternatives that would make sense and help in the reduction goals.  Don't get me wrong, I really want clean air and water and I do have some concerns about the global warming.  I just am not sure that it needs this drastic step.  I have lived in California since my youth ( a long time!!).  In the 70's the air quality was considerably worse than it is now.  There were so many days that were so smoggy you couldn't see anything.  The brown layer seemed to be a permanent color to the sky.  I have enjoyed the improvement and I know that drastic measures were taken to get to where we are now (vehicle emissions controls, etc).  I would like to see some solutions that are a little more symbionic with the business goals.
Re: California passes greenhouse gas bill
by Janell Cunningham - Friday, 1 September 2006, 10:49 PM
  I am excited to see Govt. Schwarzenegger take the bull by the horns on this one and start laying down some boundaries with greenhouse gases, even in the face of resistance.  Waiting for businesses to do this out of the goodness of their hearts is contradictory.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  The global climate change is severe, rapid and if we don't get a handle on this thing soon, it is of a concern that we won't be able to reverse it. If things continue as they are, fresh water will become something we will no longer be able to take for granted.  I'm glad to see a precedent set in this country that we are addressing the global climate change with a plan of action, with or without our President's blessing.  We can't afford to keep putting it off because it'll hurt the economy.  The economy will adapt to the changes, locally and globally, as it always has.  The point is we are starting somewhere and taking it seriously.  I hope to see a cascade effect.  Soon.
Re: California passes greenhouse gas bill
by Ian J. Gillis - Saturday, 9 September 2006, 01:09 PM
 

I am glad to be apart of this wonderful state of California . I enjoy going other great natural beautiful regions such as Hawaii , Oregon , & Washington where a lot has been undeveloped. This bill is in a good point for other states to follow including the entire nation. I understand arguments that businesses raise although it doesn't compare to the protection of our environment. In reading the chapters in Exploring the Worked Ocean and the continental separations millions & billions of years and to see how in such a sort time of 100 years we have started the destruction of our planet is disturbing. This bill is the first step in helping our environment for the future. I am not a tree hugger although I will now come down from my perch.

Re: California passes greenhouse gas bill
by Melissa Otis - Sunday, 10 September 2006, 11:27 PM
  It is about time the environmental issues become political issues.  It is an exciting connotation to be at the "tipping point" of taking this matter seriously, (If they are refferring to Malcom Gladwell's book, 'Tipping Point'), and to pave the path for other states to take this matter seriously.  I am so happy it is finally being talked about in the political realm, and no longer compartamentalized as a seperate unrelated issue.