CA leads the way

Every so often, government takes the lead. This happened a few years ago when a law was passed requiring communities to curtail what went into their dumps and landfills, cutting back by so many percent over the next few years. By having the issue pushed down their throats, communities were forced to embrace recycling in a big way—bigger than industry could deal with, at first, as mountains of plastic jugs and newspaper began to accumulate, dutifully set aside for the overbooked manufacturing plants. The early problems have been beaten down, however, and the wholesale covering-over of perfectly good land is slowing a little.

Now my state legislators have decided to tackle global warming, on their own and thumbs-to-the-nose at the Feds. One in eight Americans live in this state. California has a bigger GNP than most of the world’s countries—the world’s sixth largest economy. In turn, of course, we consume more than our fair share of everything. But now we’re going to require the state’s producers of greenhouse gases to cut their emissions by twenty-five percent in the next fourteen years. It’s a pragmatic plan, by which companies that cut more than what is required get credits that they can sell to other, less adaptive companies—not perfect, but workable.

When we had tax credits for solar devices a few years back, there was a tremendous boost to solar technology. When the Republicans allowed the tax credit to lapse, growth of solar industries slowed. This Californian law will encourage green industries once again, and with luck, lead the way for the rest of the country.

Who knows? Our great-grandchildren may even be able to breathe.

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  1. Roxanne on October 5, 2006 at 3:06 pm

    I read the article you linked to your post. Hurray for California. It sounds like we can help, on a personal level, by planting more trees. They’re good for natural cooling, good for the wildlife, good for the environment–not to mention good for the spirit.

  2. Antigonos on October 7, 2006 at 8:27 am

    Nearly everyone in Israel has solar panels on his/her roof. Of course, one of the very few natural resources Israel has is lots of sunshine–there’s no rain at all from May to October. By 10 am every day I have a 200 liter tank of boiling hot water, constantly replenished until the sun goes down, and even in winter, the water (which starts out much colder as it goes down to the 40s at night in Jerusalem) gets moderately warm by midday. The big challenge seems to be in creating storage units–batteries, in effect–which can store enough power to heat hot water and a home throughout the night. Depending on where one lives in the US, it would seem logical that some kind of hybrid technology would be the way to go–using the sun when you’ve got it, and other energy when you haven’t.

  3. erin on October 9, 2006 at 1:33 am

    I just started work at the California Energy Commission and I was happily surprised with all the stuff our state government is trying to get done. Your mention of landfills reminded me of the push for biomass fuel production throughout the state as one example.

    The one big problem I see is the amount of time it takes to get anything started. At least a few years for the lower departments to get their recommendations together and then another horribly long time for it to go through legislation before we even start to try and fix things. We’re on a path now, though, so it will be interesting to see what comes out of all the effort.

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