Much water is flowing in US on the issue of environment today. When James Hansen rues about global warming and hits out at politicians for not doing the needful to reverse the effects of global warming, does he take the efforts of states like Louisiana and California into his consideration? How does he, for a change, view the groundbreaking US law ‘Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006’, passed last year? The Louisiana legislation to develop biofuels from sweet sorghum and the effort to radically decarbonize California to plug the void in national climate policy merit enough praise. These efforts tell a lot about the political will to undertake a cleansing act with environment conservation in view.
California plans a range of changes including a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases, requiring renewable sources to power a third of the state’s grid and taxing gas guzzling cars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The state also proposes to cut about 30 percent greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 without affecting its economy. McCain and Obama have supported cap-and-trade systems, much like California’s draft system. This pioneering step has to be followed up by a Congressional act. However, it will be adopted by California regulators before a new government takes over the reins next year.
In the meantime, Air Resources Board has started debating the health related issues of higher average temperatures. Some feel the decarbonisation plan will have zero impact on the environment and will drive business and jobs out of California. The debate also spanned the emission of indirect greenhouse gases, diesel engines, atmospheric chemistry and Kyoto agreement format. Industrial sources, like those making chemicals or cement, are covered by the cap-and-trade system. They will also be subject to audits to look for cost-effective ways of reducing greenhouse gases that also reduce toxic pollutants. But the catch is that California’s cap-and-trade program will be linked to other states in the Western Climate Initiative. The cap-and-trade program will begin with big industry and electricity generation in 2012. there is a feeling in the air that implementing this plan will save $1.5 to $2.4 billion in public health costs, largely due to cutting down respiratory problems.
Source : Wired