Terminator goes pale green

Schwarzenegger’s welcome but unimpressive plan to curb greenhouse emissions.

Governor Schwarzenegger’s plan for California to go it alone on climate change is welcome. But it’s unimpressive by any standards except those of Republican ostriches, let alone those of climate realists like me who reckon Kyoto doesn’t go nearly far enough (link added).

The target of capping greenhouse emissions at 1990 levels by 2020 is lower than Kyoto’s, which mandates a 5% reduction below 1990. But the main difference is in the timetable.


The broad requirements of agreement stipulate that, by January 2008, the [California Air Resources Board] start requiring the state’s major greenhouse-gas producers to report their greenhouse-gas output. By January 2009, the air board is to develop a plan outlining how to achieve the emissions cuts. By January 2011, the air board is to adopt actual rules to take effect a year later.

The Kyoto targets are for 2008-2012 (though they aren’t being met.) The EU has been actually running emissions trading since January 2005; there’s already a thriving market in London. This is how it works in Britain. Arnie’s plan is seven to twelve years behind.

Kevin Drum sees it differently: “And if other states follow, maybe other countries will too.” Come off it.

It will be interesting to see if California allows international emissions trading in the London market, which businesses will press for to save money and Washington hate as a usurpation of federal competence. The state would need a bilateral deal with a Kyoto party to gain access.

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web

3 thoughts on “Terminator goes pale green”

  1. If it took seven years for the Europeans to set up trading after Kyoto in 1998, I can't cricize the California timetable too much. The state is fighting against a serious headwind in the form of federal, Republican, and business resistance.
    You're right that we Californians can't lead the European countries on this, but maybe we can provide leadership for other non-Kyoto signatories.
    OTOH, the state's regulation of car and industrial emissions leaves out residential emissions (I'll bet it leaves out farming and logging too, but I haven't checked).

  2. Chris O: I junked the spam as soon as a kind reader drew it to my attention. At RBC, each blogger is responsible for moderating his own threads. I live several time zones away fron California and don't check continually, so it's very helpful to warn me by mail.

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