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Global warming: California pushes ahead

November 18, 2009 | 12:28 pm

While Congress dithers over federal climate change legislation, and nations squabble over a global treaty, the nation's most populous state is doggedly pushing ahead with its own regulations to control the greenhouse gas emissions that are heating up the Earth's atmosphere.

In a milestone for the state's landmark plan to slash emissions by 15% over the next 11 years from today's levels, the Air Resources Board announced today that more than 97% of the state's 605 largest factories, cement plants, refineries and power plants have reported how much carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases they emit.

At the same time, California became the first state in the nation to accredit third-party professionals to make sure the polluters accurately report their emissions.The first 101 individual verifiers and 17 businesses completed a 40-hour course and final examination, the ARB announced.

Verification of all reported emissions will be required beginning next year, providing a key database for the state's proposed cap-and-trade regulations. A cap-and-trade system, which would take effect in 2012, would allow polluters to trade emissions credits among themselves so that facilities which can cut emissions for less money may sell their reductions to facilities which would have to pay more to install controls.

-- Margot Roosevelt