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California has long been seen as the state-level pioneer in environmental issues related to global warming and has shown some impressive leadership in the last four years. On July 22, 2002, Governor Gray Davis approved AB 1493, a bill directing the California Air Resources Board to develop standards to achieve the maximum feasible and cost-effective reduction of greenhouse gases from motor vehicles. Now the California Vehicle Global Warming law, it requires automakers to reduce emissions by 30% by 2016. Although it has been challenged in the courts by the automakers, support for the law is growing as other states have adopted similar legislation.

On September 7, 2002 Governor Davis approved a bill requiring the California Climate Action Registry to adopt procedures and protocols for project reporting and carbon sequestration in forests. (SB 812. Approved by Governor Davis on September 7, 2002) California has convened an interagency task force, housed at the California Energy Commission, to develop these procedures and protocols. Staff are currently seeking input on a host of technical questions.

On June 2005 Gov. Schwarzenegger signed an executive order[[1]] calling for the following reductions in state greenhouse gas emissions: 11 percent by 2010, 25 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. Most recently, on August 30,2006, Schwarzenegger and the California Legislature reached an agreement on AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, and on September 27, 2006, signed it into law at an official ceremony. The Act caps California's greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by 2020. This agreement represents the first enforceable state-wide program in the U.S. to cap all GHG emissions from major industries that includes penalties for non-compliance. This requires the State Air Resources Board to establish a program for statewide greenhouse gas emissions reporting and to monitor and enforce compliance with this program. The bill authorizes the state board to adopt market-based compliance mechanisims including cap-and-trade, and allows a one-year extension of the targets under extraordinary circumstances.[[2]] Additionally, on September 26th Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 107, which requires California's three major biggest utilities – Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric – to produce at least 20% of their electricity using renewable sources by 2010. This shortens the time span originally enacted by Gov. Davis in September 2002 to increase utility renewable energy sales 1% annually to 20% by 2017.


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