California to Curb Greenhouse Gases

by Armando Duke

Houston, TX - Members of the California state assembly introduced measures to curb carbon dioxide and other gas emissions by 25 percent, or 145 million tons, by 2020. The move to cut greenhouse gas emissions is the first of any state in the country.

Calif. Democratic members, Fabian Nunez and Fran Pavley, introduced the bill to the state Assembly. The politicians say that the stiff restrictions of the greenhouse gas bill are meant to induce investment in newer technologies that can cut emissions as well as setting an example for other states to follow.

A report had been introduced to Governor Schwarzenegger by a team of environmental advisors that recommended a number of clean-air programs. It stated that the target set in Nunez and Pavley's greenhouse gas bill should coincide with their report and asked that other western states should mirror California's objectives in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

At a press conference Monday where Nunez outlined the bill he was quoted as saying, This bill is not just about the future, it's about the impact that it's already having on our public health. It's about the impact that it's already having on our planet, our natural resources."

The environmentalists report introduced to Gov. Schwarzenegger called for mandatory reporting of emissions by the highest polluting industries, such as oil & gas, power generation and even cement manufacturers.

The 1,300-page report on the plan includes more than 50 strategies for cutting carbon dioxide emissions. Many state legislators outwardly endorsed the plan, even before fully understanding its details, though the plan was backed by the Governor's administration so it is likely that some form of the plan will end up being passed into law.

One idea has already been introduced where emission credits could be traded with other businesses to provide some flexibility in meeting greenhouse gas requirements. Another consideration was a state imposed surcharge on gasoline to help pay for research into producing cleaner fuels.

Just last year Gov. Schwarzenegger became outspoken on environmental pollution, touting the hydrogen fuel vehicles as well as calling for curbs on gases emitted from cars, power plans and other industrial sources.

Although Gov. Schwarzenegger ordered the plan outlined on Monday to be drawn and his administration did oversee its drafting, the governor has not said if he backs any of the specific recommendations.

Next week Gov. Schwarzenegger plans to convene a summit in San Francisco of scientists, environmentalists and business leaders to consider the options. He is expected to comment on the plan at that time.