California’s Global Warming Fuels Standard Drives Trend Overseas

New Standard Announced Today by European Union is Same as California’s, but U.S. Government Still Lags Behind
SAN FRANCISCO (January 31, 2007) -- California’s global warming efforts are being copied again.
The European Union today announced a new global warming pollution standard for motor fuels that is virtually identical to this month’s executive order by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The European initiative underscores the influence and importance of California’s continued leadership in finding innovative solutions to global warming pollution, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
“California’s groundbreaking efforts to solve global warming already are bearing fruit,” said Roland Hwang, NRDC’s vehicles policy director. “The European Union’s new global warming fuel standard is further proof of California’s influence in finding innovative ways to reduce global warming pollution. But between Sacramento and Brussels there’s another important city that’s still behind the curve, and that city is Washington. It’s time for the U.S. government to become a world leader in solving the planet’s most pressing environmental challenge.”
On January 18, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed an executive order directing the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to create the world’s first global warming pollution standard for motor vehicle fuels. It requires CARB to develop rules for oil companies and other providers of passenger vehicle fuels sold in California to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other global warming pollutants by 10 percent by 2020. The new European standard also requires a 10 percent cut in global warming pollutants from motor fuels by 2020.
Hwang dismissed President Bush’s “20 in 10” State of the Union proposal, which, at best, holds U.S. passenger vehicle heat-trapping emissions constant at today’s levels by 2017. At worst, the president’s plan allows an 18 percent increase (283 million metric tons) in carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to adding another 42 million cars to the road, according to an analysis by NRDC. In contrast, California’s plan will reduce vehicle carbon dioxide emissions by 16 percent compared to today’s levels by 2020, said Hwang.
California’s global warming fuels standard is the first big step in implementing its landmark Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32). The law by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) and former Assembly member Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) passed the Legislature in August 2006 and was signed the following month.