California will shrink greenhouse-gas emissions under groundbreaking plan

In arguably the biggest step ever taken in the U.S. to fight global warming, California’s political leaders reached a deal yesterday to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in the state 25 percent by 2020. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) pledged to sign Assembly Bill 32, under which the California Air Resources Board will set emissions limits for various industries beginning in 2012, and will have the authority to choose whether to institute an emissions-trading system. The bill will give the governor power to lift emissions caps for up to one year under “extraordinary circumstances.” The deal emerged after intense negotiations, and reactions were as expected: Greens were satisfied but wished controls had been more stringent; business leaders were ticked off. Schwarzenegger, who’s loudly touting his green credentials in his reelection campaign this year, proclaimed, “The success of our system will be an example for other states and nations to follow as the fight against climate change continues.” Hint, hint.