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March 2002 Rant

"California to Regulate Carbon Dioxide"

Crazy news from the AP:
Sacramento, CA
California could become the first state to confront global warming by limiting carbon dioxide auto emissions. A bill approved by the state Assembly on Wednesday (01/30/02) would require the state to draft regulations by 2004 to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from cars and light trucks. California and other states have for years regulated toxic tailpipe pollutants. But this is the first attempt to regulate emissions of the nontoxic odorless gas.

Now some quotes:

The measure by Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, was sent to the state Senate by a 42-24 vote despite a claim that it "represents the worst form of environmental extremism."

"This bill gives the Air Resources Board - a group of unelected bureaucrats - the ability to create sweeping regulations in less than two years," said Minority Leader Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks. "Is there a possibility that (some) of these vehicles will be forced off the road? I think so."

"The ARB has a history of dealing with tailpipe pollution," Pavley said. "I will make sure it's done in a reasonable way." The bill would require the ARB to draft regulations by Jan. 1, 2004, to achieve the "maximum feasible and cost-effective reduction" in carbon dioxide emissions from noncommercial autos and light trucks.

Carbon dioxide is an odorless gas that is not considered a direct threat to human health. But scientists say it is the biggest culprit in an increase in global temperatures.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change predicts that temperatures will rise up to 10.4 degrees over the next century unless steps are taken to ease global warming.

A significant increase in temperatures could mean more major storms and air pollution in California and threaten the state's water supply by creating less snow in the Sierra Nevada, some scientists say.

Supporters of Pavley's bill said it would allow California to set an example in an area that it has traditionally excelled: control of auto emissions.

"This is a chance for us to be a leader again, on an issue that will continue to confront us and our children and their children in the future," said Assemblyman Dario Frommer, D-Los Angeles.

California creates nearly 7 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions and motor vehicles generate 57 percent of the carbon dioxide the state produces.

The Clinton administration signed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which would require the United States to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 7 percent below 1990 levels.

But the treaty has not been ratified by the U.S. Senate and President Bush opposes the measure.

"California has to take the lead in addressing climate change because we are a significant part of the problem and because the White House and Congress have dropped the ball," said Craig Noble, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Russell Long, executive director of the Bluewater Network, a San Francisco based environmental group that proposed the bill, said some states are regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. But no other state has tried to control carbon dioxide from autos, he said.

ARB spokesman Jerry Martin also said he wasn't aware of any other states that were attempting to control carbon dioxide from motor vehicles.

Carbon dioxide, CO2, is one of the gases in our atmosphere, being uniformly distributed over the earth's surface at a concentration of about 0.033% or 330 ppm (parts per million).

As a result of the tremendous world-wide consumption of such fossil fuels, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased over the past century, now rising at a rate of about 1 ppm per year. (Oh my! 1 ppm per year! We better do something and fast!)

This sure is wonderful that the State of California has decided to do something about all those carbon dioxide belching automobiles. Maybe they should do something about carbon dioxide belching people…since people exhale carbon dioxide…we can start with the folk that voted for this measure in the California Assembly. If they can just stop breathing then the carbon dioxide can be reduced by a whole fraction of a percent of that parts per million in our atmosphere. We could all breathe a little easier.

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