Gov. Signs Low-Carbon Transportation Fuel Order

By Published On: January 22, 2007

Nine days after announcing that he would require a 10 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions from vehicle fuels by 2020, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger executed an order creating the world’s first low-carbon fuel standard. He touted his order as being market driven and one that he expects to drive technical innovation. “It is good for the environment and great for the economy and our security,” Schwarzenegger said January 18. “Reducing the carbon content of transportation fuels sold in California by just 10 percent means we will replace 20 percent of our gasoline consumption with lower-carbon fuels, more than triple the size of the state’s renewable fuels market, and add 7 million alternative-fuel vehicles to our roads.” Referring to California’s centuries-old mining economy driven by gold, Assembly speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles) added that low-polluting and clean-energy technologies are this age’s green version of gold mines. The governor said he issued an executive order because it goes into effect immediately, unlike legislation. The order requires the California Air Resources Board to develop and implement low-carbon performance standards no later than December 2008 (Circuit, Jan 12, 2007). The standards are part of the state’s global warming reduction package, the most significant element of which is AB 32, requiring California’s greenhouse gas emissions to fall one-fifth below 1990 levels by 2020. California Environmental Protection Agency secretary Linda Adams said the state has set ambitious goals for ameliorating global warming, calling the governor the “terminator of greenhouse gas emissions.” Southern California Edison president John Fielder promoted electricity as a low-carbon fuel along with hybrid and electric vehicles. He said that electricity infrastructure is in place and ready to deliver the fuel, specifically noting that there is surplus capacity available at night to power alternative-fuel vehicles.

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