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Marketplace Report: Calif. Greenhouse Gas Push
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Marketplace Report: Calif. Greenhouse Gas Push



Back now with DAY TO DAY. California is close to enacting what would be the toughest legislation in the country aimed at curbing the human part of global warming. The deal is struck between the Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and many Democrats in the legislature. Many Republicans don't like it, business leaders also opposed. Bob Moon joins us now from the MARKETPLACE newsroom in Los Angeles. Bob, what is in the deal? What are the goals and how are they going to try to achieve them?

BOB MOON reporting:

Well, Alex, this is called the Global Warming Solutions Act. Under this plan, the state's major industries - utility plants, oil and gas refineries, even cement kilns - would be required to cut the pollution that they release, the pollution that's widely thought to contribute to global warming. This would be phased in starting in around 2010. The aim is to cut emissions to 1990 levels, or around 25 percent, by 2020, with an enforceable cap and mandatory reporting for top polluters like energy companies.

CHADWICK: And are the business leaders who oppose this of perhaps these industries you mentioned saying we just can't do this or can't do it at a reasonable cost?

MOON: Yeah, well, we should point out that there has been a division among business leaders, to some degree. The state's Chamber of Commerce has been leading the opposition. Primary argument to this has been that trying to solve the problem of global warming by a state by state basis is set up to fail because it'll just cause businesses to go elsewhere, and it'll make this state less attractive to businesses that might come here. Vincent Sollitto is a spokesman for the California Chamber of Commerce. He says this is a lose/lose proposition for the state.

Mr. VINCENT SOLLITTO (California Chamber of Commerce): If a business leaves California and takes not only their jobs but their greenhouse gas emissions with them to another state or country, then we won't have done anything to reduce emissions or impact the global climate problem, but we'll have lost jobs and businesses in our state for no reason.

MOON: And the Western States Petroleum Association also came out in opposition to this, saying that it hasn't really been thought through. There hasn't been proper review and scrutiny of the economic impacts.

CHADWICK: Well, Congress has failed to pass these kinds of restrictions and cutbacks, although there have been several attempts at the national level. What about the prospect of this idea spreading to other states?

MOON: Well, lawmakers who supported this legislation made it clear that that was really one of their big motivations, to come up with legislation that environmental groups especially could point to as a model program for the rest of the country. But as you mentioned, Arnold Schwarzenegger actually broke with the Bush administration in supporting this plan, and the White House and Republicans in Congress have really quite vociferously opposed similar plans at the national level. So it will remain to be seen whether this will pick up any steam nationwide.

Today in the MARKETPLACE newsroom, we're continuing to take a look at the possible ramifications of this plan.

CHADWICK: Thank you, Bob. Bob Moon of Public Radio's daily business show MARKETPLACE, produced by American Public Media.

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