California Passes Bill to Limit Vehicle CO2 Emissions
The State Assembly passed the California Climate Bill, which for the first time gives the agency that regulates air pollution in the state the power to limit emissions of carbon dioxide, the main gas that scientists say is building up in the atmosphere and causing a warming of Earth's climate, the New York Times (NYT) reported.
The vote was 41 to 30, with nine members not voting and with a majority of 41 needed to pass the bill. Democrats control the Assembly 50 to 30, and the vote was mostly along party lines, with Republicans in opposition.
The California Senate passed the measure 23 to 16 on June 29 and the Assembly approval indicated the bill would soon go to Gov. Gray Davis for signing, the NYT said, though a few procedural hurdles might still derail it. Because carbon dioxide is given off whenever petrol is burned, the only way to cut how much of it vehicles produce is to make ones that burn less fuel or to sell ones driven by electricity or by other means, the newspaper added.
The California measure - if signed - would not take effect until 2005, and the first models that would come under its restrictions would not be sold until 2009.
Environmental groups said that, even so, this was the most important step to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases since global climate change first came to public attention some 20 years ago.