California shows what Real Climate Progress is

arnold.jpg Returning greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 is the essential first step to avoiding catastrophic warming. California has agreed to do just that in “a compromise between Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic legislators.”

This bipartisan effort is likely to be a model for other states. Of course, it should also be a model for the entire country, but, sadly, as ABC News explained, we have “a president who doesn’t acknowledge the virtually universal consensus among scientists that mankind is dangerously overheating its home planet.”

The big question is–How much is this going to cost Californians? An L. A. Times piece oversold the costs of action, I thought, but unlike most media coverage of the story, at least took the time to explain the enormous costs of inaction:

[T]emperatures in California would increase by 7 to 10 degrees by 2070, and heat waves in Los Angeles would become six to eight times more frequent…. Sierra Nevada snowpack, important to supplying water to Southern California, would decline by 73% to 90%.

PBS’s Newshour ran a more balanced story, though I was disappointed they gave so much time to David Montgomery of CRA, who rehashed the standard lines by Global Warming Deniers and Delayers that we must wait for “breakthrough” technologies or else the costs will be severe. Still, its worth listening to hear the compelling arguments of NRDC’s Dan Lashof.

Interestingly, I did not see a single story explaining that Californians already use far less electricity–and far less polluting electricity–than other Americans without paying higher electricity bills. How California achieved that and why it means greenhouse gas emissions are likely to be far less costly than most people believe is a subject Climate Progress will focus on in later posts.

One Response to California shows what Real Climate Progress is

  1. converger says:

    This is good.

    However, Schwarzenegger has also signed onto the Frontier transmission line, which despite the cloud of hype surrounding it is essentially designed to facilitate the construction of dozens of new coal plants with zero actual plans (though a lot of bluster) for carbon mitigation. Some the people involed in this little catastrophe-in-the-making re the same individuals who nearly bankrupted the Pacific Northwest in the early 1980’s with an insane nuclear powerplant construction scheme, which catastrophically failed.

    Someone needs to ask Schwarzenegger, in public,, to choose between a serious climate emissions reduction commitment, and the Frontier line. He cannot be allowed to pretend that he can have both.