California Bill to Fight Global Warming

(U-WIRE) LOS ANGELES — Treasure Island in San Francisco was a convenient choice for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to make history by signing the first-ever bill enacting cost-effective reductions of greenhouse gases Wednesday, passed by a Democrat-dominated state legislature.

It was convenient because statistics show that if the projected future of global warming takes its course, Treasure Island will almost definitely be left underwater, years from now.
Schwarzenegger described the enactment of the fledgling bill as a new era of environmental legislation that will change the course of history.

California is the first state to sign such a bill, but the bill is also unlike anything else in the world, Schwarzenegger’s administration said Wednesday.

“When I campaigned for governor, I made it very clear that we have top turn the economy around to make the economy grow again, and also said we must do everything we can to protect the environment and fight against global warming,” Schwarzenegger said.

Schwarzenegger, as seen in a video on the campaign’s Web site, signed the bill in front of the scenic backdrop of the San Francisco Bay, where much of the new clean-energy technology will take place. New York Gov. George Pataki was in attendance and British Prime Minister Tony Blair patched in via video link-up.
Assembly Bill 32 requires regulations and market mechanisms by the California Air Resources Board for a 25-percent reduction in California’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, Schwarzenegger’s Web site explains.

Schwarzenegger said the goal is to use market-based incentives to lower carbon emissions by 20 percent to the 1990 level by 2020.
“The most exciting part to me is that this will lead to us leading the way for other states, and for other nations and other countries like India and China, Brazil and Mexico to join us with this when they see all the great work that we are doing,” he said.

He said while many critics argue that AB 32 is bad for business, the truth is that an increase in clean energy will result in the increase of a new industry, which will indefinitely create jobs.
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Angelides’ campaign said the bill signing was just another vote-gathering attempt, saying Schwarzenegger is not actually behind the legislation. Angelides, campaign spokespeople said, is genuinely vested in environmental protection.

“California’s leading environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club, California League of Conservation Voters, Vote the Coast, Clean Water Action and many others are supporting Phil Angelides for governor because they know he will always stand up to protect the environment, not just in an election year,” said Brian Brokaw, Angelides campaign spokesman.

“Schwarzenegger may have painted his campaign bus green in this election year,” Brokaw said, “but it’s clear from his record that big oil is still behind the wheel driving Schwarzenegger’s agenda.”
Speaker Fabian Nunez said the signing of AB 32 was a landmark legislation.

“This is an election year,” Nunez said, “and oftentimes when people talk to us about the reason why so much has been getting done and so much got done in the legislature this year, it forces you to at least choose your words very carefully when you talk about the important things you should do.”