California unveils major plan to cut emissions

California has announced a very ambitious plan to reduce pollution by 10 percent from current levels by 2020. If we take the forecasted population increase into account, that means that the state intends to reduce annual emissions to 10 tons of CO2 per person in 2020 from 14 tons per person currently.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will present a set of proposals, which could become law in 2012, to help reach this target. The proposals include the creation of a cap-and-trade program on CO2 emissions that will require buildings and appliances to use less energy, requesting oil companies to provide cleaner fuels, and forcing utilities to provide a third of their energy from renewable sources like wind and solar power. The laws would also have an effect on how Californians live, since the program will encourage development of walkable cities with shorter commutes and high-speed rail as an alternative to air travel (something our readers have been commenting about a lot recently).

It's no surprise that such an ambitious plan calls for more hybrid and hydrogen-fueled vehicles on the road to move both goods and people. I'd also like to see references to plug-in hybrids and EVs in that wish list, as well.

The program is going to cost money, although a full amount hasn't been calculated. It's expected that the CARB rules could push the state's economy up one percent through the creation of the new "green jobs."

[Source: Automotive News (subs. req'd)]

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