Friday, 12 Dec, 2008 Environment

California Takes Drastic Actions to Fight Global Warming


A new radical program has been adopted on Thursday in California setting an aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As Associated Press reported, it contained a number of regulations that should bring changes in every sphere of human life, such as functioning of production enterprises, utilities, construction materials and fuel.

The plan was approved by the Air Resources Board without a dissenting vote, although it was noticed that such a costly project could become a heavy load for businesses in conditions of progressing economic crisis. California expects a $41.8 billion gap in the budget by mid-2010.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor of California, said the new rules should give an impulse to the economy of the state and set a good example for the whole country.

"When you look at today's depressed economy, green tech is one of the few bright spots out there, which is yet another reason we should move forward on our environmental goals," stated Schwarzenegger.

The project is based on 31 regulations that affect different aspects of life. Special attention should be drawn to the cap-and-trade program that will start in 2012. According to its terms, big enterprises, power stations and oil refineries will have the possibility to obtain and offer the right to produce gases that retain heat. Besides, it could stimulate plants to cut down emissions of carbon dioxide.

As Air regulators pointed out, it was possible to offer Californians better mass transport, housing closer to educational institutions and offices, energy-conserving utilities and more fuel-saving cars. However, these improvements could become too expensive for average consumers. Electricity rates will get higher as utilities use renewable energy sources; houses constructed from power-saving materials and petrol, modified to emit reduced quantities of carbon dioxide, could also become quite costly.

The regulations included in the plan reflect at large the state's intentions to act in accordance with the law approved in 2006, which showed California as the most active state in the fight against global warming. According to this law, the state was required to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to the standards of 1990. Although California is known as the most densely peopled state, it took the lead in the movement struggling for environmental protection and imposed the tightest restrictions on traffic pollution. The state's regulations can work in other parts of the country, forcing manufacturers from other states to adapt new products in order to comply with high standards set in California.

John Kabateck, executive director of the branch of the National Federation of Independent Business in California, opposed the new plan saying it could bring more pressure on local business during economic slowdown. Mary Nichols, chairwoman of Air Resource Board, considers that the plan will definitely serve for the benefit of residents and their enterprises. She said, California was the one to promote higher standards of energy efficiency, which help not only to economize, but also to raise the economy on top level.

According to a board report, an average family could spare up to $400 each year using more fuel-saving cars and energy-efficient appliances. Bob Epstein, co-founder of Environmental Entrepreneurs, mentioned that private investors gave over $2.5 billion to support new companies in California which shows their recognition of the state's goals to improve ecologic situation.

Bill Mcgavern, director of California's Sierra Club, said that Barack Obama urged to stimulate the economy. He also added that the president-elect together with the Congress could rely on the program accepted in California, which is a good model to follow.

The plan depends to a considerable degree on the national government, which gives California the authority to push automakers to produce cleaner vehicles. It should be mentioned that the Bush administration didn't allow the law to come into force, however Californian officials expect Obama to suggest a different approach to the solution of environmental problems.

Posted by sharaeff

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