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Friday, December 12, 2008

Cutting global warming gases

The California Air Resources Board on Thursday adopted a strategy for cutting 30 percent of global warming emissions by 2020, as required by state law. Here are some of the ways the state plans to meet that goal, and the projected annual reduction in heat-trapping gases (mainly carbon dioxide).

TRANSPORTATION

Greenhouse gases reduced: 62.3 million metric tons

• Reduce carbon content in gasoline.

• Mandate retirement of old, inefficient heavy-duty trucks.

• Implement progressively stricter greenhouse gas standards – achieved by improving fuel mileage – for new cars offered for sale.

• Locate future development closer to urban cores to cut driving.

ELECTRICITY

Greenhouse gases reduced: 49.7 million metric tons

• Require utilities to get at least one third of their electricity from clean, renewable sources such as wind, solar and geothermal.

• Tighten and broaden building and appliance energy-efficiency standards.

• Finance consumer incentives for installing rooftop solar systems on as many as 1 million homes.

POLLUTION TRADING

Greenhouse gases reduced: 34.4 million metric tons

• Allow factories, power plants and other large pollution sources to trade a limited number of state-issued pollution allowances, ratcheted down over time. Such a system lowers the overall cost of pollution control, economists say, because businesses able to cut emissions least expensively take on more of the pollution-reduction effort.

CHEMICALS

Greenhouse gases reduced: 20.2 million metric tons

• Require climate-friendly alternatives for refrigerants, fire suppressants and other

products containing chemicals that have high global warming impact.

• Impose a "mitigation fee" on products containing these chemicals to discourage their purchase and encourage manufacturers to use greener alternatives.

FORESTRY

Greenhouse gases reduced: 5 million metric tons

• Require forestry practices that reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, discourage development and otherwise preserve trees, which remove carbon from the atmosphere.

INDUSTRY

Greenhouse gases reduced: 1.4 million metric tons

• In addition to allowing pollution trading, impose restrictions on emissions from oil and gas drilling and the release of methane from refineries.

RECYCLING AND LANDFILLS

Greenhouse gases reduced: Less than 1 million metric tons

• Reduce methane emissions from landfills.

• Create financial incentives that increase recycling and reduce waste, particularly from business, to cut energy use in the extraction of manufacturing of raw materials.

Source: California Air Resources Board

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