Good. The California Air Resources Board has adopted the nation’s first mandate to lower the carbon in fuel. As these things go, it’s pretty mild: a 10% reduction in carbon footprint by 2020.
That hasn’t stopped the oil industry from complaining, of course, stating that CARB is “moving too fast.” When will it not be moving too fast? When the Gulf Coast is underwater?
I expect that there will be lawsuits, but at first blush, pre-emption does not seem to be a problem: the Clean Air Act does forbid states from enacting more stringent fuel standards than the federal government, but section 211(c)(1)(B) specifically exempts California from this provision, for the sensible reason that California can create its own auto standards.
Right now, I’m just waiting for Dick Cheney to claim that secret documents demonstrate that high-carbon fuel helps prevent terror attacks.
UPDATE: A reader wonders this is really such a good thing, because as Mike O’Hare has pointed out, ethanol may actually emit more carbon due to deforestation. My response was that if that is actually the case, then ethanol wouldn’t count as a low-carbon fuel. That is my reading of the official CARB statement. If CARB has actually allowed greater emissions through this, then it would be one of the great policy deceptions of our time. But I suspect that the CARB folks are smarter than that.
UPDATE 2 (from MO’H): Yes, they are. More here.