Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Greenhouse Gas Limits

Calif. Takes Big Step Toward Greenhouse Gas Limits
December 6, 2011 - First of a two-part series on California's climate policies

California is about to try a radical experiment. A little over a year from now, the state will limit the greenhouse gas emissions from factories and power plants, and, eventually, emissions from vehicles.

The U.S. Congress tried to pass a similar plan for the whole country but dropped the idea last year.

Paying a price for emissions has many Californians worried about what they'll have to pay for electricity and fuel and everything that takes energy to make. But the state's argument is that this will be good for the economy.

The law, actually a suite of measures generally lumped under the name AB 32, is a risky step at a time when the state's economy is shaky. Essentially, the law puts a statewide cap on the amount of greenhouse gases coming out of smokestacks and tailpipes.

At a hearing recently in Sacramento, skeptics gave state regulators an earful. Among them was single mother Kathy West.

"I'm a maintenance mechanic at the ConocoPhillips refinery," she told the California Air Resources Board, which administers AB 32. "At our Santa Maria refinery, we just hired 12 operators and two mechanics. What's going to happen to their future, their families? What about your jobs when you get rid of the refining out of California?"

There's no doubt the new laws will make electricity and gas prices rise, but just how much is a matter of much debate — some say thousands of dollars a year for businesses.

The state says costs pale in light of new business the law will create. read more>>>

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