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Schwarzenegger signs historic global warming
emissions reduction bill

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is joined by New York Governor George Pataki, Speaker Fabian Núñez (D- 46th District), PG&E CEO Tom King and Mayor Gavin Newsom for the singing of Assembly Bill 32 that aims to reduce California emissions by 25 percent
by the year 2020.
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Elizabeth Daley, Bay City News Service

September 28, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation that promises to reduce California's emissions by 25 percent by the year 2020 into law yesterday on Treasure Island in San Francisco.

According to Bay Area Air Quality District Vice Chair Mark Ross, however, the real challenges come in implementing Assembly Bill 32 and forcing non-compliant industries to adhere.

"That's where it's going to take the political leadership to carry it through, because there will be a lot of political pressure set forth to impede AB 32," Ross said.

Jerry Martin, spokesman for the California Air Resources Board (CARB) said, "We have a good relationship with the industries considering that we are regulators and they do not want to be regulated."

Regarding the possibility of lawsuits, Martin said, "I can't predict who will sue and who won't, that certainly is a possibility if someone thinks their ox is being gored."

Ross said citizens as well as large companies may be "forced to pay more for energy efficiency," and that many larger industries may fight California as the auto industry did earlier this year. However, Ross thinks the global community will benefit in the future if the state reduces its energy consumption now.

The new bill requires CARB to establish a statewide greenhouse gas emissions cap for 2020 by Jan. 1, 2008, adopt mandatory reporting rules for significant sources of greenhouse gasses and create a plan to reduce emissions. Martin said the whole process "probably won't be up to speed till next spring, we probably have to hire up to 100 people."

Ross said the bill might present special challenges to certain industries such as the cement industry, which, by the nature of cement production processes, regularly emits high levels of carbon dioxide.

Schwarzenegger said in a statement, "some have challenged whether AB 32 is good for businesses. I say unquestionably it is good for businesses. Not only large well-established businesses, but small businesses that will harness their entrepreneurial spirit to help us achieve our climate goals. Using market-based incentives, we will reduce emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2020."

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Martin said he expects California to lead a nationwide and possibly global trend. Martin said California would be the epicenter of this movement, and local energy efficient businesses could gain a great deal of business as other states follow suit.

"A lot of businesses that will support this movement -- which may become nationwide -- will be based in California," Martin said.

According to the governor's office, the bill states that prior to imposing any mandates or authorizing market mechanisms, CARB must evaluate several factors, including impacts on California's economy, the environment and public health; equity between regulated entities; electricity reliability and conformance with other environmental laws. CARB must also ensure that the rules do not disproportionately impact low-income communities.

Ross applauded Schwarzenegger for following the Kyoto Protocol and said he hopes this bill will set an example for the rest of the country and the world. According to Ross, "it's going to take creative application of existing technology and new technology to aid these goals and we will have to spend political and economic capital to attain these goals."

Ross added, "How much will each industry have to scale back and how will they do that? These are the hard questions that need to be answered."

Mayor Gavin Newsom greets Gov. Schwarzenegger at a pre-signing briefing.

Mayor Gavin Newsom, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez and Governor George Pataki (NY).

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera (left)

British Prime Minister Tony Blair beamed in live via satellite link...

... Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi also beamed in.

Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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