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California to Slash Greenhouse Gas Emissions
    2008-10-17 01:31:30     Xinhua

California is striving to slash greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels over the next 12 years through more efficient electricity use, less traffic and cleaner cars, it was reported on Thursday.

California's climate blueprint would slash the state's emissions about 15 percent below today's level, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Under the new plan issued on Wednesday, the most populous state in the nation will shrink the per capita carbon footprint of Californians by an average of four tons per year, the paper said.

The plan will also cut the level of electricity residents use with more efficient buildings and appliances, and reducing the amount they drive, by discouraging urban sprawl, according to the report.

The new regulations will force auto manufacturers to make cleaner cars, require utilities to build more solar and wind plants, and compel industries to hike energy efficiency to unprecedented levels, the paper said.

"Despite a difficult economy, it is important that we move forward," Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said, adding that the plan would result in "tens of thousands more jobs and a boost to California's gross domestic production."

Scientists warn that global warming is shrinking the state's water supplies, intensifying wildfires, and stressing plant and animal populations.

California is forging ahead with its bold plan despite Congress ' reluctance to pass national legislation to curb planet-heating gases. The international community is pressuring the United States to assume global leadership on the issue. Both presidential candidates have said they will push for a nationwide cap on greenhouse gases.

Environmentalists praised the blueprint as "an economic stimulus plan" that could spur a "clean tech" economy similar to Silicon Valley's technological boom.

Mary Nichols, chairman of the Air Resources Board, which designed the plan and will vote on it in December, said overall Californians would save by using less energy.

But the plan was immediately attacked by a coalition of businesses, led by the California Manufacturers and Technology Association and the California Chamber of Commerce, which said the rules would result in "billions of dollars of increased energy costs," according to the paper.

The group asserted that the plan would raise electricity rates by 11 percent, natural gas rates by eight percent and gasoline costs by 11 billion dollars a year.



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