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California Shows Willingness to Tackle Climate Change Despite Economy

california1.jpgCalifornia’s Air Resources Board is planning to call for tougher emission rules and new fees. The blueprint, which will be voted on next month, calls for a gradual rollback in emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, about a 25 percent cut, the Union-Tribune reports.

The air board’s draft plan includes allowing businesses to buy and sell emission credits; raising water fees to between $100 million and $500 million annually; requiring utilities to generate 33 percent of electricity from renewable sources; imposing strict limits on vehicles emissions; and providing “feebate” strategies that reward buyers of fuel-efficient cars with rebates.

Air board officials say an additional $300 million to $1 billion could be raised by taxing products associated with high emissions, such as refrigerants and insulation; with a portion of the proceeds going to a rebate plan to encourage consumers to purchase energy-efficient appliances.

The air board’s hearing and a bill introduced by California Senator Barbara Boxer are just two in a string of developments over recent days that signals a willingness to confront the global warming threat even during a financial crisis.

Boxer recently introduced a bill that will put President-elect Obama’s climate-change plans in legislative form. The bill plans to “streamline” climate-change legislations that failed in the Senate this year. Keith Johnson of the Wall Street Journal writes that “it will be interesting to see if Senate plans to ‘streamline’ climate legislation next year make progress more or less likely.”

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