Global Warming California Set to Cut Greenhouse Gases

In a clear break with the environmental polices of US President George Bush, California is set to become the first US state to impose limits on greenhouse gases contributing to global warming after Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger forged a deal with the state legislature.

Terminating global warming? California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has pushed for limits on greenhouse gases.

Terminating global warming? California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has pushed for limits on greenhouse gases.

Following weeks of tough negotiations, California's political leadership has decided to put the state at the vanguard of America's efforts to combat climate change. Opposing the national policies of his Republican Party, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger agreed to a deal with the Democratic-controlled state legislature late on Wednesday.

The agreement means California -- America's most populous state and the world's 12th-largest emitter of greenhouse gases -- would aim to cut its carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. Although it has only 5 percent of the world's population, the United States is responsible for a quarter of the planet's greenhouse gas emissions.

"The success of our system will be an example for other states and nations to follow as the fight against climate change continues," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

The deal gives Schwarzenegger, who is seeking re-election this November, a chance to burnish his environmental credentials. It also places him directly at odds with US President George Bush's polices on climate change. Besides refusing to sign the Kyoto treaty on global warming, the Bush administration has opposed setting mandatory federal limits to reduce greenhouse gases.

The Associated Press reported that the California plan will impose a limit on all greenhouse gas emissions and would require vehicles and the state's major industries like utility plants, oil and gas refineries, and cement producers to reduce the pollutants that are widely considered to cause global warming.

The California Air Resources Board will be charged with setting up a market mechanism that will allow companies to buy, sell and trade emission credits. Praised by environmental groups, the plan has been criticized by some California business leaders who fear it will raise costs and hurt the economy by driving companies out of the state.

"If our manufacturers leave, whether for North Carolina or China, and they take their greenhouse gases with them, we might not have solved the problem but exacerbated it instead," said Allan Zaremberg, the president of the state’s Chamber of Commerce according to the New York Times.

But Schwarzenegger has clearly decided when it comes to issues such as global warming, US states will have to fill the leadership vacuum that the Bush administration has created. In 2005, he issued an executive order calling for California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and last month he signed an accord with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to encourage California and Britain to work together on research for cleaner-burning fuels and other technologies.



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