California's political leaders have agreed a new bill to reduce damaging emissions to the atmosphere by 25%. This could show the way for other States to follow.
The "Global Warming Solutions Act", agreed between Democrats and Republicans at the end of August, calls for a 25% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020. Since California is the world's 12th largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the deal may have significant effects globally.
Even though the Act still needs the approval of the State's legislative assembly, California is already considering setting up an emissions trading scheme, following the European Union model. In fact, this has been one of the most controversial points during tough negotiations lasting over one year now.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, California's Governor, believes the bill will make the State "a world leader in the effort to reduce carbon emissions." "The success of our system will be an example for other States and nations to follow as the fight against climate change continues," he concluded.
Influential business leaders and NGOs also welcomed the deal. Leading venture capitalists from Sillicon Valley, for instance, see its potential to foster new industries and jobs. Peter Darbee, from the major utility Pacific Gas and Electric, reflects this view: "The issue of climate change is important and needs to be dealt with. Since the bill has a market-based programme, it will work efficiently and effectively for businesses."
Once the bill is officially adopted, California will become the first US State to cap its emissions to the atmosphere. The State has already placed strict limits on automobile emissions, and could establish controls on the largest industrial sectors, including utilities, oil refineries and cement.