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California Unveils Ambitious Emissions Plan – 30% Cut By 2020

smokestack2-11-08.jpgCalifornia’s Air Resources Board has released a draft plan to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent over the next 12 years. The ARB says that the recommended reduction measures will continue to drive innovation, improve the environment and enhance public health, support the growth of the cleantech sector and create thousands of new jobs.

Eighty percent of the emission cuts will be reached by government regulations with the remainder coming from a new emissions trading system, The Christian Science Monitor reports.

Development of the Scoping Plan is a central requirement of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 , that calls on California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

Central to the draft plan is a cap and trade program covering 85 percent of the state’s emissions. This program will be developed in conjunction with the Western Climate Initiative, comprised of seven states and three Canadian provinces, to create a regional carbon market.

The draft plan also proposes that utilities produce a third of their energy from renewable sources such as wind, solar and geothermal, and proposes to expand and strengthen existing energy efficiency programs and building and appliance standards.

The draft plan calls for full implementation of the California Clean Car law to provide a wide range of less polluting and more efficient cars and trucks to consumers who will save on operating costs through reduced fuel use. It also calls for development and implementation of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which will require oil companies to make cleaner domestically produced fuels.

Additional initiatives and measures include: full deployment of the Million Solar Roofs initiative; high-speed rail; water-related energy efficiency measures; and regulations to reduce emissions from trucks and from ships docked in California port. Many of these initiatives were on the agenda in October, when the California Air Resources Board approved six measures to reduce greenhouse gas emission.

According to a poll released by Next 10 on Monday, nearly three out of four California voters support state energy policies to reduce global warming pollution. Ninety percent of voters surveyed say that in developing policies to address global warming, it is very or extremely important to reduce our dependence on oil.

In December, the ARB passed mandatory reporting regulations that require annual reporting from the largest facilities in the state, accounting for 94 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from industrial and commercial sources in California.

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