Schwarzenegger on Climate Warpath



Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is on the warpath again, demandingU.S. regulators grant the state of California permission to set its own rules for curbing emissions of carbon dioxide.

Under California’s proposed regulations, carmakers would have to reduce carbon dioxide emissions starting with 2009 models. Emissions of CO2 would have to drop 18 percent below current levels by 2020.

Schwarzenegger said since ten percent of all new vehicle sold in the U.S. are sold to California residents, the state needs quick federal approval of the proposal. The proposal should come no later than Oct. 24 so automakers have time to prepare vehicles for the next model year twelve months later.

Eleven other states, including New York, Connecticut, and Washington, are prepared to adopt the California standard. The eleven-state consortium could effectively circumvent Congress's role in setting the cap.

Meanwhile, California Attorney General Jerry Brown launched his own attack on the current rules. Brown said in a statement that the Bush administration is “acting in collusion with the auto and oil industries'' to delay emissions standards and said California will sue the U.S. if the proposal is blocked.

Last week, President George W. Bush ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to devise new rules for controlling CO2 emissions.

Schwarzenegger and Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell said in an op-ed piece published in the Washington Post that the Bush administration is trying to short-circuit tougher standards.

Steven Douglas of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers testified Tuesday that it is the view of the Alliance members that enhancing energy security and improving fuel economy are priorities to all Americans, and the auto industry must continue to aggressively pursue its innovation agenda with these goals in mind.

“Because the only feasible way to reduce the amount of current carbon-based fuel consumption from automobiles is to reduce the amount of fuel a vehicle uses, automobile engineers from Stuttgart to Detroit to Tokyo are working hard to include a diverse range of highly fuel-efficient technologies in new vehicles,” he added.

“In this light, a patchwork of state-level fuel economy regulations as is now proposed by California is not just unnecessary but actually counter-productive,” he said. California hasn't “demonstrated that the regulations would address climate change in a concrete manner.''


The alliance also said California's limits on carbon dioxide are another way of regulating mileage standards, which can only the federal government can set.

However, the EPA has approved 40 waivers for California in the last three decades on other clean-air standards.

In September, California sued GM, Toyota, Ford Motor Co., DaimlerChrysler AG, Honda Motor Co., and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., asserting they had created a “public nuisance'' by making millions of vehicles that emit carbon dioxide, which has been labeled a greenhouse gas that when trapped in the atmosphere increases the temperature on earth.


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