California sets binding carbon cut targets

California has adopted legally binding targets for greenhouse gas cuts after governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law committing the state to reducing emissions by 25% by 2020.

This would be equivalent to reducing emissions to roughly 1990 levels by 2020. By 2050, the state hopes to reach a level 80% below 1990 emissions, Governor Schwarzenegger said.

Although Schwarzenegger is a Republican like US President George Bush his policies on climate change contrast sharply with those of the federal government.

When signing the law, Arnold Schwarzenegger said: “We begin a bold new era of environmental protection here in California that will change the course of history.

“Also our federal government will follow us. Trust me.”

“We simply must do everything we can in our power to slow down global warming before it is too late,” he said.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair , who joined the ceremony via video link, called the signing of California’s climate bill “a proud day for political leadership,” saying it will “echo right around the rest of the world.”

While welcomed by environmentalists, concerns have been raised about the effectiveness of the new law. Critics argue that businesses will simply relocate to other states when faced with tough emission limits or forced to buy up carbon credits to offset their greenhouse impact.

Goska Romanowicz

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