UCS: California Enacts Nation's Toughest Global Warming Bill

Late last week, the California Legislature passed landmark legislation to create the nation's first economy-wide cap on global warming emissions, and Governor Schwarzenegger has agreed to sign the bill into law.

The new law codifies the state's goal to reduce its global warming emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, a 25 percent reduction from business as usual. The state will phase in an enforceable statewide cap on global warming starting in 2012.Under the law, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) will develop regulations and a mandatory reporting system to track and monitor global warming emissions. CARB will make sure benefits and costs are distributed fairly, ensure that there are no increases in air pollution in local communities, protect entities that have already reduced their emissions, and allow for coordination with other states and countries to reduce emissions.

The mounting scientific evidence gathered and produced by California's scientific community helped build the political will that led to the bill's passage.

Our Changing Climate, a scientific analysis developed by the State's California Climate Change Center in collaboration with the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), demonstrated that if heat-trapping emissions are not reduced, California faces a future of poorer air quality, a sharp rise in extreme heat, a less reliable water supply, more large wildfires, and expanding risks to agriculture.

A recent study by the University of California at Berkeley shows that climate action can not only protect California from the most severe impacts of global warming, it can also boost the economy. The study projects that meeting AB 32's emissions limits can boost the Gross State Product (GSP) by $60-74 billion and create 17,000-89,000 new jobs.

Visit www.climatechoices.org to read:
--Our Changing Climate: Assessing the Risks to California, the UC Berkeley study, and a summary of the historic legislation.
--more on California climate impacts, economics, and solutions.
--about UCS's behind-the-scenes work on the bill that included shepherding an open letter by 60 Ph.D. economists from across California urging climate action and organizing "Parties for the Planet" for 2,000 people in 50 cities across the state.

[This is the first post on TreeHugger by the Union of Concerned Scientists. They're great and we're very happy to have them contribute! Check out their website. -Ed.]

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