California catapulted to the forefront of U.S. efforts to fight global warming on Wednesday with an accord that will give the state the toughest laws in the nation on cutting greenhouse gas emissions and possibly spur a reluctant Washington to take similar action.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has accused fellow Republican President George W. Bush of failing to demonstrate leadership on climate change, said he reached a “historic agreement” with Democrats to make California a world leader in reducing carbon emissions.
Well, good for them. It’s going to be a combination of a cap and trade system and full emissions reporting by the big energy companies.
Of course, the usual suspects were having none of it.
“It is unfortunate such important legislation is being put together at the last minute without proper review and scrutiny, especially because of its potential to harm the economy,” said Tupper Hull, a spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Association.
Usually, when California leads, the rest of the country follows. This works especially for consumer products such as cars, because it makes more sense to meet the most stringent standards when manufacturing, so economies of scale can still operate, and California is a big enough market to influence the whole country. I am sceptical about the immediate effect of this legislation on the rest of the country, it could spur copycat legislation in other states such as Michigan, Illinois, etc.with Democrat-dominated politics. But since it does not affect industries out of state directly, there will be less motivation to change.
Of course, the contention that this will hurt Californian industry in any way is a crock, and an excuse that was used for pretty much every bit of environmental legislation. Dupont is still alive and well after CFCs were banned! California has such natural advantages, great weather, great cultural advantages, that it will take a lot to cause widespread migration of “industry”.