This week, California lawmakers approved a series of climate change bills aimed at dramatically reducing the state’s carbon footprint as well as expanding clean energy use to 50 percent in 15 years.
The Democrat-sponsored new legislation, which is one of the strictest in the U.S., drew a huge wave of criticisms from GOP members who complained that it would ruin the jobs of the hard working class. Some Republicans even deemed the new rules “coastal elitism.”
California seems determined to switch to green energy, force drivers to use fuel-efficient vehicles and make homes twice as energy efficient as before. The new legislation passed by a 24-14 vote on Wednesday.
Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon, who proposed one of the bills, thinks that the move would “cement” California’s global climate leadership over other states.
On Wednesday, senators also said yes to a proposal that would reduce that state’s carbon footprint by 40 percent by 2030. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had proposed an 80 percent reduction by 2050 during his tenure.
The carbon footprint-related regulation was pushed through by Democrats as well and passed on a 22-15 vote.
California already has a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels in less than years time mainly by forcing big oil industry to compensate the state for its pollution. The plan was pushed three years ago, and the state expanded fees on fuel producers earlier this year. The move was criticized by people who feared that retail gasoline prices would spike.
If the new rules to further cut carbon footprint are successful, California would have reduced heat-trapping emissions to the same level it would have reached if it took 36 million cars off the streets, officials explained.
Authorities said that the state would focus more on green energy production and electric transport, look for alternative fuel sources, and encourage the use of zero-emission vehicles on the roads.
But Republicans think the new measures will raise utility and fuel prices and chase away good-paying jobs from the Golden State for the sake of a leading position in climate change fight.
They also said that the approval of the new regulations lacked proper oversight.
“This is really a stab in the dark, and it’s unknown. Every new technology that has driven California has been when government got out of the way,”
said Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff.
Democrats replied to critics that the lost jobs would be converted to green-energy jobs since more and more Californians would drive electric cars and install solar panels on their homes.
Image Source: LA Times Blogs
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