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Schwarzenegger Orders 10% Emissions Cuts

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is asking regulators to require the state’s petroleum refiners and gasoline sellers to cut by 10 percent the emissions of heat-trapping gases associated with the production and use of their products, The New York Times reports.

The plan is unusual in its focus on the cradle-to-grave emissions associated with each fuel. In the case of ethanol, this can mean carbon emissions generated in the production of fertilizer, in the planting and harvesting of corn, in distilling the fuel and, finally, in transporting it to the distributor and burning it in a car. Two otherwise identical gallons of ethanol could have different greenhouse-gas ratings, if one were refined using carbon-intensive coal-fired electricity, while the other was refined using relatively carbon-light electricity from natural gas.

The California Air Resources Board will be responsible for drawing the blueprints to carry out the order, which the governor wants completed by 2020.

It is the first example of the practical impact of a deal made last summer between the Legislature and the governor to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 25 percent by 2020.

The 10 percent cut in emissions would be accomplished, experts said, largely through the use of alternative fuels, like ethanol and other gasoline blends, which would be provided by the refineries and other producers.

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