Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger set ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals for the state this week that exceed the international Kyoto Protocol over the long term via an executive order. The day before, the Legislature passed a bill?along partisan lines?that aims to reduce the risk of global warming from excess carbon dioxide, methane, and other air pollutants linked to unprecedented global climate change by 2010 even more. Power plants contribute one-fourth of the state?s carbon dioxide (CO2). At the June 1 opening of the UN World Environment Day conference in San Francisco, the governor announced he was ordering state agencies to develop and coordinate implementation plans to reduce greenhouse gas pollution in California in 2010 by 59 million tons, or 11 percent, to meet 2000 levels. The target is comparable to the levels Britain and France are obliged to meet in the next five years under the Kyoto agreement?though less than it requires in the European Union overall. In addition, the governor set a reduction target of 145 million tons, or 25 percent, to reach 1990 levels by 2020. A whopping 80 percent reduction goal was set for 2050?a level that many atmospheric scientists say is needed to stabilize the earth?s climate. The reduction targets were recommended in an unreleased report by the Tellus Institute, a nonprofit organization that looks at U.S. energy policy. ?I am establishing clear and ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our state to protect our many natural resources, public health, agriculture, and diverse landscape,? stated Schwarzenegger. ?Together we can continue California?s environmental heritage and legacy of leadership in innovation in cutting-edge technology.? Whether businesses, agencies, and the state?s residents take steps to help reach the targets remains to be seen. ?The heavy lifting starts tomorrow,? said Jason Mark, Union of Concerned Scientists California director. Although the governor?s proposed goals lack specifics, Mark said the order was significant because it ?creates political space for moving forward and reducing emissions.? A combination of boosting existing programs and regulations and creating new ones via legislation, including a cap-and-trade scheme, will be needed to make the goals a reality. California is the 9th-largest emitter of greenhouse gas pollutants in the world. In 2000, the electricity market produced 25 percent of the state?s CO2 emissions, with 51 percent from cars and other moving vehicles, according to the Climate Group, an international coalition of government entities, businesses, and other institutions. Executive Order S-3-05 charges the California Environmental Protection Agency with coordinating the efforts of numerous state agencies to cut CO2 emissions. That includes developing new implementation strategies and keeping tabs on the ongoing work of the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission, and the Air Resources Board. The EPA secretary is required to issue a report on mitigation proposals and options for a cap-and-trade system to the governor and lawmakers in January 2006, and every two years thereafter. Cap-and-trade would limit emissions levels and allow pollution permits that can be sold or traded (<i>Circuit<\/i>, May 6, 2005). ?It?s important that California utilities, as well as businesses in general, demonstrate leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,? stated Mike Peevey, CPUC president. Executives from Pacific Gas & Electric, Calpine, and other businesses touted the environmental and financial benefits of cutting CO2 emissions and increasing energy efficiency, also as part of the United Nations event. Peter Cartwright, Calpine CEO, said pursuing a 5 percent emissions cut would save $300 million a year and reduce CO2 emissions by 400 million tons a year. He noted that Calpine is working to make its power plants more efficient by reducing their heat rates. Roger Peters, PG&E senior vice-president and general counsel, said the utility filed a proposal this week with the CPUC to increase its energy-efficiency funds over the next three years to $936 million, up from $380 million. ?Let?s hope Washington will take note,? said Stephen Schneider, a Stanford University climate scientist. President George Bush has refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol and has given anemic backing to voluntary programs to reduce the threat of global warming. <b>Climate Change and Solar Bills Passed<\/b> The Assembly, on a 48-30 vote, passed legislation that would make it a state priority to cut greenhouse gas pollution by at least 7 percent by 2010 and 10 percent by 2020 from the 1990 CO2 levels. That threshold is lower than the year-2000 emissions levels used by the governor in his executive order. AB 1365 by Ira Ruskin (D-Los Altos) requires the Governor?s Office of Planning and Research to include this specific strategy in its Environmental Goals and Policy Report. Doing nothing on the climate-change front could cause California?s summer temperatures to soar by 10 degrees in many regions, dealing a serious blow to the state?s environment and economy, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. The governor?s office would not say whether Schwarzenegger would support the bill, stating it does not comment on pending legislation not sponsored by the state?s chief. Also moving in the Legislature this week was the Million Solar Roofs Initiative, backed by the governor. SB 1 by Senators Kevin Murray (D-Los Angeles) and John Campbell (R-Irvine), which aims to create 3,000 MW of new solar power over the next 13 years, was approved by the Senate on a 28-3 vote June 1.