First 100 Days: Obama’s first climate change target

January 22, 2009

Mary D. Nichols– Mary D. Nichols is Chairman of the California Air Resources Board, the lead agency for implementing California‚Äôs landmark climate change law, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. The views expressed are her own. –

After eight years of inaction on climate change by the federal government, we can now look forward to the Obama administration tackling global warming head on. With not a minute to lose, Lisa Jackson, the soon-to-be new head of the EPA, should move quickly to capitalize on the momentum of states that have so far been the leaders in fighting global warming. There is no better place to start than by establishing a national greenhouse gas emission standard for automobiles based on California’s landmark clean car law.

California has always been a pioneer in setting tough automobile emission standards. Our regulations paved the way for lead-free gas, the catalytic converter, and many other innovations that were later adopted as the national standard. As a result, we have eliminated 99 percent of harmful pollution pouring out of autos today compared to a 1960s era car, leading to clearer skies and cleaner air in our cities.

In 2002, California continued its track record of pioneering environmental legislation when it passed a law that directly addressed greenhouse gas emissions from cars. Personal vehicles produce 20 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gases, and so are increasingly being addressed by governments that are serious about averting catastrophic climate change. Thirteen other states have formally adopted and three states are considering adoption of California’s cost-effective and technologically doable program.

Indeed, the motivation is not only environmental Рowners of these cars will save thousands of dollars over the vehicle’s life because cars that meet the standard are also likely to be more fuel efficient.

Together with California, these 16 states constitute almost half the country’s new vehicle sales, creating a huge market for the best that Detroit has to offer.

Despite these benefits, the EPA blocked California from enforcing its greenhouse gas emission standards for cars. It also delayed responding to the Supreme Court, which required that the EPA consider using the federal Clean Air Act to create a program similar to California‚Äôs program to reduce emissions from all the nation‚Äôs vehicles. Just last month, the outgoing administration failed to carry through on its promise to publish new CAFE rules ‚Äď national fuel economy standards ‚Äď as required by Congress.

The new Obama Administration should use this opportunity to set a new foundation for American energy and climate security. Soon-to-be Administrator Jackson should immediately follow through with President Obama‚Äôs promise to allow California‚Äôs regulations to come into force. She should also begin the process to create a national greenhouse gas standard for cars based on California‚Äôs approach ‚Äď a 30 percent reduction by model year 2016 – and establishing even greater reductions in the future.

At the same time, the Obama Administration should direct the Department of Transportation to fix its flawed CAFE rules to be compatible with new climate change needs. It also needs to address a regulatory process so distorted that fuel economy standards are based on the technology of the ‚Äúleast capable manufacturer,‚ÄĚ holding our nation‚Äôs energy security hostage to the lowest common denominator. Instead, Obama should direct DOT to work in concert with EPA to create standards that work for both fuel economy and the reduction of greenhouse gases.

Coordinating these two approaches will also provide automobile manufacturers with THE stable set of national policies they have been calling for. This strong national program will also send a clear signal to Detroit to fire their lawyers who have been wastefully battling California’s regulation and hire the engineers who will build the cars consumers want and that will support the future success of America’s auto industry in a global market.

If we’re going to wring the carbon out of our economy, we will need the coordinated actions of government agencies across all sectors and additional investments for rapid economic recovery under a comprehensive national climate change framework. That will take time to develop, and some careful planning. In the meantime, the EPA can immediately draw upon the experience of states like California and its leadership under Governor Schwarzenegger to use its existing authority under the Clean Air Act and take effective and early action against climate change.

By acting now, the EPA will show the world that the United States is finally taking its place among the community of nations to address the pressing challenge of, in the words of our new president, a planet in peril. California, and many other states, stand ready to help.

50 comments

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The environmental fringe are in a frenzy to get as much legislature approved as quickly as possible, as they know that the truth regarding man-made global warming is beginning to earn merit. Just another year or two and they will have to concede that global warming has stopped and perhaps began to retreat. This due to minimal solar activity; not due to the emission of greenhouse gasses. Their (golden) cash cow is D.O.A.

Posted by Danno | Report as abusive

‘Global Warming’ is a farce.
We can all do more to cut back on our consumption and pollution, but education is needed to accomplish this. Legislating the type of light bulb a person uses is another step in the direction of socialism.
The ‘green’ movement is about money – period.

There are a few consequences to consider in regulating tailpipe CO2 emissions. While a shift to electric or hydrogen fuel cells eliminates tailpipe CO2 emissions, is it really reducing total CO2 emissions or just shifting them to power plants and hydrogen plants. Most electricity in the US is still coal powers and hydrogen is primarily produced from natural gas with the carbon emitted as CO2. Then there is the question if a shift from gas to electric/hydrogen is actually more efficient when all things are considered. Alcohol from corn doesn’t appear to be. Finally, is there a reason to regulate CO2 emissions separately from fuel efficiency? Fuel efficiency regulations could apply to electric and hydrogen powered vehicles, working to promote the most energy efficient technologies, not just pushing CO2 emissions from our cars to somewhere else.

Posted by David | Report as abusive

I hope that we will get the science down before pushing through regulatory measures – re carbon emissions control, capture and trading. Policy before science is dumb. Climate models (even according to IPCC) are not able to inform on long term global warming. This is not even dumb.

Posted by bryanwobley | Report as abusive

I must say this may be the silliest thing I have read in a long time. The last thing most want is to be more like California. The EPA has had devistating influence on commerce– just ask the construction industry that is now in dire straits. The EPA is probably the most frowned upon agency outside the IRS and the last thing anyone wants is giving it a shot of California policies. It seems that since the new Administration has taken office, the hippy culture has worked itself into a feeding frenzy.

Posted by Scott | Report as abusive

Jesus, Robert, you’ve forgotten that man-made global warming is a scientific hypothesis strongly supported by evidence. If some people are positioning themselves for a likely profit, that’s just being smart in our system. Company A (and its shareholders &c.) making more money than company B (and its shareholders &c.) because company A adapted to a changing market and company B did not is the basis of your beloved capitalism, right?

Posted by John K P | Report as abusive

The emphasis on global warming is probably a net negative. Instead the emphasis should be on the longterm need to nurture and preserve our environment.

This focus holds true whether or not we’re warming, cooling or remaining the same. If we’re warming, the focus on nurturing our environment will help. So much the better.

Focus on cleaning things up. Focus on restoring fisheries, and reclaiming land from concrete. Focus on a balanced base energy infrastructure and the transmission system improvements to support this effort.

Focus on universal health care. Make you’re own list of where we’ve mis-allocated resources. It’s a long one.

What this country needs is a good 100 mpg, 100 mph automobile.

To get there, it will take more engineers and fewer lawyers; more craftsmen and fewer accountants; more executives with vision and fewer charlatans.

No wonder right-wing republicans feel threatened…

Posted by Randy | Report as abusive

Anthroprogenic Global Warming is a giant scam. Proponents are worried that a cooling climate will curtail their funding just when they’ve just about got their hands on the money. Think you don’t pay enough for your electric or heating bills? Just wait until greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation hits! Then we can move the remainder of our manufacturing jobs to China. They need to call the proposed cap and trade something more instructive like “Giant tax on energy”.

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive

Climate change skeptics = Useful Idiots (to the fossil fuel industry)

Posted by Sean | Report as abusive

Global warming is a farce. For us as human beings to arrogantly believe we can alter Mother Nature and God are kidding ourselves. It is a ploy to enact a World tax on the non-environmentally friendly countries i.e China, Mexico, Indonesia etc. 2008 was the coldest year in a decade and this is simply just a cycle!

Posted by bowser | Report as abusive

Global warming is fake. Many have doubted it and have proven it to be wrong, yet the fringe left want it to be true.

These are the same people who claimed global cooling a decade ago.

If global warming is happening, then explain why in the midwest we have had the coldest winter temps in years! In Ohio we had -22 temp and wind chill of -30. So if that is global warming I hate to see global cooling.

Posted by j | Report as abusive

The general idea is that the public would be forced to buy new products to support initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases. People would buy new cars and appliances. Houses would be upgraded. We would artificially create a new economic boom. We would trade worthless things called carbon credit, which represents a new type of taxation with infinite revenue potential. It would not be too harsh to call this systemic conspiracy among elite bold-faced liars evil. All I am saying, as the evidence unfolds, we should create laws to put them in jail and freeze their bank accounts. Tell the French they can keep their nuclear power plants. Tell Gore actually he was a terrible presidential candidate. Tell the scientists their funding will be cut off. Then we can focus on improving life for the average person struggling from day to day while every socialist is going after his wallet.

Posted by Don | Report as abusive

The Obama team should not be squandering our resources on the phony dogma of man-made global warming. There are real environmental concerns out there that need desperate attention. Carbon levels in the atmosphere are an indication that it has warmed, not that it will warm. I hope I didn’t waste a vote on this guy.

NASA’s own data show drastic cooling over the upper midwest and Canada in 2008.
It’s only a matter of time until people chill out.

Or not.
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2008/F ig1.gif

Posted by Jay Alt | Report as abusive

While Global Warming is a fact of life, the causes of it are far from what the “greens” are trying to conince us they are.

Did not they grow grapes in London in Middle ages, before cold cycle began again that ended in the early 20th century? There was no pollution back then.

Randy, your post was great until your final sentence. You must be so far left you can’t see the center through the other lefties.

Posted by Hussein | Report as abusive

It is certainly possible to alter Mother Nature. You can can fill her up with trash and utilize her land in a way that leaves it depleted. There are simple things we can do, that don’t involve consuming “green” products or enacting taxes, to ensure this won’t happen. This earth is not God but His gift to us. The least we can do is treat it with respect and acknowledge that some of us are being careless with it.

Posted by Amanda | Report as abusive

Global warming is a hoax…let’s see this is a repeat of the 70′s when these same global warmer criers said we we going to get colder and have another ice-age–now it’s warming…People–get real there is no man-made global warming. It’s just another way to get your money. And no I don’t believe in trashing the earth.

Posted by Ginny | Report as abusive

IT makes perfect sense that this article is written by a bureaucrat from California. The one state who has truely driven itself into bankruptcy and has jumped on every single “green” idea that has ever come down the lane and yet still has the worst air and the most garbage of any state.

Curbing pollution is a great idea, preserving resources also. More science and more innovation are great things. But they are not pushing anything like that. What do they want? MORE government involvement and more tax money. That’s worked so well so far right? Er, or not.

Oh and for those who like to hit up the right, take a quick peek at the environmental records of socialist and communist countries. Sure we are not perfect, but at least we ATTEMPT to do something.

Posted by MIke | Report as abusive

The California Air Resources Board is funded entirely by the fines it levies against its citizens not by regular tax-payer money. Therefore, the more laws they work with the legislature to draft, then the more fines they are able to levy against CA business owners. The more fines they charge, the more money they get. The more money they get, the larger they can bloat their own ranks. This kind of self-serving governement is the definition of conflict of interest and this should be outlawed.

Posted by Reed | Report as abusive

Global Warming is a FARCE ..

One year after the most “named” storms we then have
the least number of “named” storms. Meanwhile, the
moons on Saturn are melting at the same rate as our
polar caps are. How many people drive on Saturn ??

Watch out because Billionaires like T. Boone Pickens
and G. Walker Bush now want the taxpayers to fund
windmills so THEY can make another Billion at
taxpayer expense …

Posted by Lee | Report as abusive

[...] greenhouse gas emission standard for automobiles based on California’s landmark clean car law. (link) This was written by rafael. Posted on Friday, January 23, 2009, at 1:00 pm. Filed under Climate [...]

Climate change skeptics always seem to leave out half the story. With regards to an increasing carbon tax it is important to have a 100% dividend distributed back to the people on an equal per capita basis. This would drive entrepeneurial innovation in carbon reducing technology. Secondly, this “cooling trend” or the stopping of global warming as you call has another name. It’s called La Nina. Educated people need to speak out louder than these idiots. In 2008 we lost 80% of the Arctic summer ice. Jaws dropped in the scientific community. The situation is dire now. ACT ACT ACT!

Posted by Pete | Report as abusive

Hey Danno, It’s pretty amazing that you characterize Mary Nichols Chair of the CARB as “environmental fringe”…get some perspective…read an IPCC report summary. Don’t be afraid, you don’t need to have a science degree to understand it. The version of truth you seem to subscribe to is getting really old and frankly boring.

Posted by Zac | Report as abusive

Globe is warming, melting the ice, cooling us down for a minute, warming us the next.
Climate is changing, extreme’s all up and down and whenever, days will come where temperature extreme’s are seen in a single day as they are seen now, from day to day.

Posted by mike | Report as abusive

“Oh and for those who like to hit up the right, take a quick peek at the environmental records of socialist and communist countries”

What does that have to do with anything? Neo-con mentality is the same i the US as it is with Putin’s Russia or Brezhnev USSR. Its the screwing every one else but me and my buddies and doing it in the name of God (well maybe not God for some, unless you take god to be $$ and power)

Posted by eron | Report as abusive

For those of you who actually believe that carbon emissions will cause global warming (so far the past decade has been cooler than normal, not warmer) and
claim that Bush did nothing, perhaps you should quit lying and note the enormous tax credits that were foolishly given to useless windmill operators, as well as solar panel builders. Or the grants to battery companies developing new types of batteries. The problem with alternative energy lies with the crappy, and overly expensive technology itself. Putting a brainless wonder like Obama in the White House will accomplish nothing except adding a bunch of zeros to the current national debt. I also note that Bush speeded up the process and simplified and made rational the silly two-stage licensing requirements that had been in place when he came. Nuclear energy is all we need to reduce carbon emissions. Alternative energies are scams by the big corporations to build enormously expensive power geenrators that are 1) unreliable, 2) uncontrollable and 3) way too expensive. Its a raping of the consumer. Look at nuclear powered Vermont – there every megawatthour of electricity produces a paltry 5 pounds of carbon, compared to 650 pounds generated in that alternative energy state of California.

Posted by kent beauhrt | Report as abusive

Undeniable fact #1: If you burn anything organic, (Like coal, candlewax, gasoline, bacon grease, etc) one of the resulting gases will be carbon dioxide.

Undeniable fact #2: Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere traps heat.

Undeniable fact #3: We burn organic stuff, especially coal and gasoline, in large and increasing amounts.

Undeniable fact #4: Trees take in and hold carbon dioxide.

Undeniable fact #5: We have greatly reduced the number of trees on the planet over the last 200 years.

Undeniable fact #6: The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has gone up drastically in the last 200 years, and is currently above the safe limit of 350 ppm, up from less than 275 ppm two hundred years ago.

Given these facts, the burden of proof is on the global-warming deniers, not the global-warming believers. You tell me how those six facts DON’T add up to global warming. 2 + 2 = 4, no matter what your political position.

Posted by Kurt Larson | Report as abusive

While there is no doubt in regards to validity anthropogenic climate change, there are considerable doubts about the best ways to address the problem. There are good reasons to believe the proposed auto emissions standards are not the best way to go about limiting greenhouse gases.

First, the claim that personal transportation emissions account for 20% of the nations greenhouse gases is in conflict with EIA data (see the EIA website and greenhouse gas emissions page)
which show that the entire transportation sector emitted 2036 MMT of the 7282 MMT US total. The personal portion of transportation would be a fraction of that, probably only around one half if we use the ratio of different fuel types and vehicle types as a guide.

Secondly, the significant improvements in gasoline mileage will best be brought about by using plug in hybrids, so the real issue is how to generate the electricity for these hybrids. The key is to change the method of electricity generation in the US. Remember too that the production of vehicles (and all of the supporting infrastructure) is a large carbon emissions source.

Which brings me to the final point – cost. Instead of spending the money to encourage faster turnover of the vehicle fleet than what is already occurring, spending that money on cleaner sources of electricity (which can be used by plug in hybrids as new models are developed and brought to market) provides a better return on costs, of decreased greenhouse gas emissions.

So the proposed auto standards turn out to be expensive tokenism, not sufficiently addressing the issue.

Posted by freetoken | Report as abusive

The tone of this editorial is very haughty, It entices a response of “suck on this you mule skinner.” Calafornia is a messed up state that is falling apart. Keep your regulationss to yourself. There are plenty of people in other states that care about the environment and can run a self sustaining state. Please encourage you fellow Californians to Stay put, We have enough of them her in Colorado. We don’t wan’t them to mess this state up too.

Posted by don | Report as abusive

Remember,

Its all a plan by the those godless, tax raising liberals, to steal the precious traditional America conservatives live in. So what if the science supports Global Climate Change? And that’s an important note, it is called Global Climate Change NOT Global Warming. Expectations of the model suggest that on average the Earth will warm, Storms will become more intense (i.e. Katrina, Blizzards in Pacific NW this year) and climates that were once moderate will become extreme (i.e. moderately dry climates will become arid deserts). But remember, its all a fallacy just because liberal scientists just like to make stuff up to piss off and steal traditional America away from the right…..

Posted by Randy | Report as abusive

The skeptics – no, deniers – are being rapidly marginalized by scientific consensus so the continuing debate about causes is becoming moot. Insofar as solar variance being responsible, this from Sept 2006:
No Sunshine for Global Warming Skeptics
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?article ID=000D4CF1-4202-1508-820283414B7F0000

“Known variations in the sun’s total energy output cannot explain recent global warming, say researchers who have reviewed the existing evidence. The judgment, which appears in the September 14 Nature, casts doubt on the claims of some global warming skeptics who have argued that long-term changes in solar output, or luminosity, might be driving the current climate pattern.”

Posted by Ray | Report as abusive

The issue here is whether the amount of global warming is worth worrying about, when there are other catastrophes far more serious.

A large volcanic eruption could reduce farm output for years. Most of the world’s population would die.

A comet or meteor could do the same.

Peak oil comes in 2020 according to the EIA. Current large oil fields are declining in output at 6% annually according to the EIA. Replacing oil should be the immediate emphasis, not coal.

Posted by John Klug | Report as abusive

Global warming is a farce in the same way that evolution is a farce…you can find “experts” at the institute for creation research who claim to “prove” that evolution is impossible. As with global warming skeptics, their case falls apart under objective scrutiny. Thousands upon thousands of highly trained, experienced (true) experts all over the world have amassed overwhelming evidence. Many are long dead. The idea of human-induced global warming has been around for over 100 years (what was the “agenda” 100 years ago?). All scientist try to prove a hypothesis wrong, rather than try to prove it right. They have tried to prove that evolution could not occur like others who have tried to find evidence against evolution and global warming but the evidence is now clear. Our understanding of evolution and global warming are based entirely on that evidence. That is why scientists and governments have moved beyond the question of why it is warming. Instead, we focus on what to do about it. That is a productive debate.
Those who refuse to believe the evidence think there is some nefarious cash incentive for all scientists, all over the world, in all disciplines to get the same conclusion. Who would pay them for such a ploy? How much research money do you think a single scientist actually gets? How do you think that compares with oil and coal industry profits? If you think money is a powerful incentive, who has more power? Who has more influence over media and the government? Scientists?!?
Also consider that if a scientist could really “prove” global warming wrong, he or she would surely be famous. Science is subject to sensationalism, but it is only sensational when you go AGAINST conventional wisdom, not when you support it.

Posted by Taylor | Report as abusive

Oh boy. Do any of you understand the history of the California exception, how it works, or what it does, or are you just regurgitating half understood ideas?

California is the only state allowed to set its own standards under federal law. It was the state regulating auto emissions before the feds got their act together.

Another state has the option of the California standard, or the federal standard. California standards are generally higher.

California has to ask for a waiver first. Until Bush, no waiver had ever been turned down. The EPA, when asked during the first Bush term, said they would probably adopt the California standard as the federal standard. Then, the auto manufacturers got involved.

Plug in hybrids, such as the pending Chevy Volt, are defined as meeting the zero emission standard, so Detroit can do this.

As for the general California bashing, keep in mind, California receioves less back per federal tax dollar paid in than almost any other state. And, if there wasn’t a 2/3 rule on tax increases that allows the state GOP to filibuster, the state budget crisis would be over and done with months ago.

Posted by Beth | Report as abusive

[...] First 100 Days: Obama’s first climate change target at blogs.reuters.com by Mary D. Nichols. [...]

Vehicle emmision standards are a good start but are an incomplete solution to the very real problem of climate change. Inasmuch, any new standards must be coupled with a revenue-neutral tax to directly raise the price of carbon-based energy and provide powerful incentives for the development of new, climate-friendly technologies.

Man Made Global Warming is a joke. The truth is our planet has been cooling over the last 15 years.

There is a big ball of fire in the sky called the sun, and no amount of fear mongering or ridiculous taxation will stop it from doing what it will do.

Have we advanced the theory that all the hot air on this topic is the actual cause of climate change?

Posted by James | Report as abusive

Global Warming Advocates are nothing more than politically correct puppets in the hand of the angry left promoting a cause they neither understand or research. The very FACT that CO2 is such a minor player in the over all scheme of climate mechanics proves they are unrepentant slaves to leftist dogmatic rhetoric.
This is a case of fooling most of the people all of the time. I publicly and loudly trounced with facts 4 Walmart employee’s who were stupid and loud enough with their asinine repetitive broadcasting to all in range in the store that they were part of the new legion of Obama climate stormtroopers. Only the faux brave, standing ignorant and hopeless defends such a vapid and pointless position. The angry left like a pivoting windmill follows faithfully and willfully a path that leads to oblivion and is entirely pointless and of no value.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

i live on a well-developed island country in the tropics. the average temperature has been getting higher every year, and by the account of an acquaintance working in a wharf, the sea levels have been rising annually too.

people on our part of the world seem to be more aware of climate change because we see and we feel it. change can only happen as a collective effort of all mankind.

Posted by Jeremy Yong | Report as abusive

One fact has been undeniable. Mr. Gore, the self-proclaimed champion of “global warming” will not debate those scientists who actually understand climate issues (not biologists, oceanographers, and political “scientists”). Until Mr. Gore becomes open to such a debate, his “golden goose” issue will be lacking credibility. Unfortunately for the taxpayers, the socialists in governments will continue to make policy based upon a THEORY that, without MEASUREMENTS for comparison, can be neither proved nor disproved.

One poster here says that the “deniers” should read the UN IPCC report summary to get the truth. Is he at all aware that, although many of the scientists involved reviewed that report and were listed as reviewers, it was later found that they did not agree with the conclusions?

Everyone believes in protecting the environment, but why are we making public policy on the basis of unproven theories that will cost society untold sums (this includes lost jobs) when we can’t even be sure that there is a problem? Is mankind degenerating into lunacy?

Posted by LarryW | Report as abusive

National standards are the economical way to go!

Posted by tom | Report as abusive

For thse who doubt the effects of GHG and climate change….

Even if GHG does not create climate change, doesn’t it make sense to start producing power and using the worlds resources by less polluting means???

The technology is available, we need to start paying for the real total cost of using dirty energy and equipment.

Posted by Perry | Report as abusive

I have to wonder how idiotic one needs to be to claim that the federal regulation plays to the “least capable manufacturer” (not to mention belive it). This statement implys that somehow Honda (a comany that NEVER made a truck) has some fuel economy secret that that Ford and Chevy are too stupid to figure out. Any one that does even the smallest amount of research will find that when you compare apples to apples, you will realize that the American automobile manufacturers DO NOT lag on fuel economy. i.e. A Civic gets better fuel economy than an F-150; but it is the SAME as a Focus. What is different is that people who have a legitmate need for a pick-up truck buy Fords and Chevys because they make the best trucks. If California is alowed to create their own rules, that would force the American companies to stop selling trucks in California. I suppose anyone living in California that needs a truck for their business will have to buy their vehicle in Arizona or Nevada.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

If Israel has nuclear weapon, Israel will not use it first against Iran. If Iran has nuclear weapon Iran probably will use it against Israel. So there is a question how keep away Iran from nukes. It’s likely impossible that Iran benevolently resigns of nuclear weapon. So there are two problems: first what will happen if Iran strikes Israel, what will happen if Israel answers. Very likely we have unimaginable disaster. So maybe better to have smaller disaster Рto destroy Iranian nuclear potential.
Andrzej Bonarski

Posted by Andrzej Bonarski | Report as abusive

Silly really to believe that regulating the fuel standards of cars and light trucks according to California’s clean car laws is going to have much of an effect on co2 levels in our atmosphere in 2016. Ever sat on the 405 and looked up? And that governments around the globe are having to set up new regulatory standards and new taxing structures with international organizations to monitor, regulate, and manage all this heat or carbon or whatever! A carbon tax and it’s legislation must be created to pay for and manage it all ? And set the standards according to California’s landmark clean car law? The writer states that personal vehicles constitute 20 percent of the nations’ green-house gasses. What constitutes the other 80 percent? What is being done about that? It is silly to think that on 2016 (obama’s final year if he serves 2 terms) cars being made from then on will save our planet and bring back our polar ice caps. Will the ice caps last that long? Who knows? By 2016 there will probably be 30 percent more drivers on the road. But , We’ll have more-fuel efficient cars so it’ll be ok. Right? Silly argument. Especially when people turn it into a republican/democrat battle. People should realize that they both play the same game and that’s to convince citizens that there is such a huge difference between the two when really there is not. To generate false legitimacy. People have many tools to utilize on their own that can EASILY and SWIFTLY remedy this situation. One is simply to walk. Americans are too obese anyways right? So quit driving and walk to work. Walk to the store and let your kids walk to school. Just think if 30 percent of America’s drivers starting walking to work. Ride a bicycle. Or perhaps they could ride a bus. 30 percent ride the bus. Think of that. Or 80 percent of drivers say i’m not driving a car that gets under 40 miles to the gallon. And they actually stop buying those that do not. How about that? Simple. Free market kind of thinking. How about people stop buying airline tickets until airlines can cut their carbon emissions by 30 percent? Start taking a zeppelin, train, or a 40 mpg vehicle on your trips. Carpool. How much carbon output does militaries around the globe produce? We could cut a lot of that by just getting along with each other. How about everyone on this planet each plant 30 trees a month for the next 8 years. How about instead of investing in wall street criminals and futures derivatives people actually invest in their communities and local attempts at creating new products to help curb these carbon levels in our atmosphere? Those all sound better to me and much more reliable than any government regulation and global standards ever could accomplish and certainly it would happen much much faster.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

It’s a strange world when a Democratic president does in six days what Republican governor could not convince a Republican president to do in four years of letter-writing, lawsuits and international embarrassment.

http://www.caivp.org/article/issues/2009  /1/26/state-emissions-standards-finally -approved

Posted by ty | Report as abusive

There are many of you out there that fear green house gases and what they may do. I suggest we put some if not all those fears to rest. Have you ever looked in a green house? Do you know what grows in green houses. Every green house I have seen seems to have good things growing in them such as flowers and food. Think of it if the earth warms then we have a greater growing area which means a heck of a lot more food for all us. WE have adapted to many changes why not to a climate change. I think most of what we hear is feat from those who want fear or profit from the fear. I see a green house as plus. I have to admit that after the two past winters we have had where I live, record snow both years, I think we should be more fearful of the world cooling off a degree or two not warming. CB

Posted by CB | Report as abusive

Yes, CO2 levels have risen during the industrial age. The planet was warming before that (since the ‘Little Ice Age’ during the European Dark Ages…) because the nutation of the Earth’s poles has made the northern winter much less severe in more recent times. The North Sea used to be dry because of all of the water locked up as ice – that change had nothing to do with industrial CO2 – cycles happen whether humans participate or not. It makes sense to minimize our ecological footprint, but it doesn’t make sense to shoot our foot off to accomplish that.

Posted by Steve E | Report as abusive

My climate is always changing. Whats wrong with that.

Posted by Greg | Report as abusive

To CB and Kent, respectively (and presumably a few others):

First, I think you are confusing the greenhouse effect with a literal ‘greenhouse’. The greenhouse effect is a mechanism by which infrared radiation is trapped by certain gaseous molecules (whereas normally the infrared radiation is not absorbed by the Earth, but reflected back into space) in the atmosphere. This is good, and required for life. But the problem is the Earth is a delicate system, and life depends on a balance. As more greenhouse gases are emmitted into the atmosphere, the more infrared radiation is trapped, thus warming the air. This is not a uniform phenomenon, so it’s more accurately called Global Climate change. The literal greenhouse that does in fact facilitate plant growth, is nothing more than a way to heat up the ground by allowing ultraviolet light to come through and then trap the resulting heat. No infrared trapping molecules involved here.

Second, Kent, I think these technologies are so expensive because, although they have recieved some funding, they do not enjoy the privaleged monopoly on the market that fossil fuels enjoy. They do recieve money, but an order of magnitude less than oil and coal operations. Nuclear might help reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere, but it won’t help to make this world a better place (i.e. toxic waste, accidents (they will happen, again) and not to mention that our radioactive materials are not unlimited, like wind and solar.) And while you mention it, look into the nuclear industry’s history and you will see how cost consuming they are, and what lengths private energy companies will go to market the ‘benefits’. I.e. Eisenhower and “atoms for peace” campaign…rubbish…

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive