Global Warming Solutions Act Passed - 8/30/2006

History |


Assembly Bill 32, also known as the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, is a California state law designed to combat global warming in a number of ways, the main idea being to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the state. California became the first state to impose legal limits on greenhouse gas emissions. The bill was signed into law by governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in September of 2006. In December of 2007, the board adopted a regulation that large industrial sources report and verify their greenhouse gas emissions, with a specifically determined limit.

The governor preceding Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gray Davis, gave automakers until the 2009 model year to produce vehicles that emit 22 percent fewer greenhouse gases by 2012, and 30 percent fewer by 2016. As you might imagine, there was considerable resistance from the automotive industry, who did not welcome the trouble and expense of designing and producing these new vehicles. However, in 2009, President Barack Obama announced the new, nationwide rules on auto emissions standards.

Greenhouse gases trap heat in the earth's atmosphere. This is commonly known as the greenhouse effect. The chief greenhouse gases in the earth's atmosphere include ozone, methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and water vapor. Without greenhouse gases, the average temperature of the surface of the earth would be about zero degrees Fahrenheit, as opposed to the usual 59 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, greenhouse gas emissions can (and do) lead to global warming. Human activities since the Industrial Revolution have greatly increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. In fact, there has been a 40 percent increase in carbon dioxide emissions between 1750 and 2015. Carbon dioxide emissions caused by humans include keeping warm and well-lit with coal, oil, and natural gas. Other human activities that cause carbon dioxide emissions include deforestation, soil erosion, and animal agriculture. Even as far back as the 1980s, we all tried to cut down on the use of aerosol cans, which release chlorofluorocarbons into the air.

Current estimates guess that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the rate they are going, we could have record breaking high temperatures by as early as 2047.

In terms of energy efficiency, the state of California leads the nation, but is also the 12th largest carbon emissions hog in the world. Ways to reduce greenhouse gases include solar paneling to stay warm, instead of using coal or oil. Solar panels are the new big thing these days. Electricity is also a good thing, as opposed to gas. That's why electric cars exist, however inferior they still may be to the gasoline fueled models. 

Also, the government can focus on funding new technologies, designed specifically to reduce greenhouse gases in the air. For this purpose, an Economic and Technology Advancement and Advisory Committee (ETAAC) was formed.

So far, there have been nine subtle, early action measures identified to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They include regulations affecting landfills, motor vehicle fuels, air conditioners, refrigerants in cars, tire pressure, and port operations, among other things.

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