California's announced target of an 80-percent reduction in greenhouse gases against 1990 levels by 2050 is ambitious (California is the 12th-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world), but achievable. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to wrestle greenhouse gases to the ground (and it won't be thanks to rippling muscles or Hollywood special effects).
The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 requires that the California Air Resources Board (CARB)
i Establish a statewide greenhouse gas emissions cap at 1990 emission levels by 2020, based on 1990 emissions.
i Adopt mandatory reporting rules that control significant sources of greenhouse gases by January 1, 2009.
i Develop a plan by January 1, 2009, indicating how regulation, market mechanisms, and other actions will reduce emissions from significant greenhouse gas sources.
i Adopt regulations by January 1, 2011, to achieve the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gas, including provisions for using both market mechanisms and alternative compliance mechanisms.
i Convene an Environmental Justice Advisory Committee and an Economic and Technology Advancement Advisory Committee to advise CARB.
i Notify the public and offer them an opportunity to comment on all CARB actions.
The two states are working together on a number of projects. For example, California is working with Sao Paolo to implement a project to clean the air, using the same framework that California did with its Federal Clean Air Act. At the same time, Sao Paolo is working with California's planners to help replicate Brazil's successful Bus Rapid Transit in California. A lot of the partnership is based on sharing information — whether about ethanol, substituting diesel with natural gas, conserving state forests, or generating electricity from biomass.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is another local government initiative aimed at reducing greenhouse gases. Made up of ten northeastern and mid-Atlantic U.S. states, from Maine down to Maryland, their regional target is a 10-percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 2018. They plan to do this through a cap-and-trade system, which we discuss in the section "Planning for emission trading," earlier in this chapter.
The action plan was consistent with climate goals that the Council of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers negotiated for a larger region. The RGGI was the first plan to call for hard caps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. To reduce emissions, the New
England-Eastern Canada accord pushed for more energy-efficient lighting and public awareness programs, and it's acting more quickly on greenhouse gas emission reductions than the federal government of either nation.
The Western Climate Initiative (which includes four Canadian provinces and seven U.S. states) works in a similar way. Their goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Although this initiative isn't as strong as Kyoto or the reductions that California, Montana, Oregon, and Washington have already committed to, it nevertheless has three additional U.S. states (Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah) focusing on a reduced-carbon future. Its newest project is implementing a cap-and-trade system, which it plans to use with other carbon trading systems, such as that of the European Union and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
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