July 24, 2002

California law regulating greenhouse emissions faces stiff opposition

Los Angeles, California – On Monday, the governer of California, Gray Davis, signed a new law that would regulate vehicle carbon dioxide emissions, or so-called ‘greenhouse gases’. The new ‘greenhouse emissions’ legislation is the first of its kind in the world. Current vehicle emissions regulations apply only to harmful exhaust emissions, including hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, sulphur, and carbon monoxide.

The new regulations won’t take effect until January 1, 2006, but provide vehicle manufacturers until 2009 to develop the technological changes needed to comply with the new standards.

“This is the first law in America to substantively address the greatest environmental challenge of the 21st century,” Davis said. “In time, every state – and hopefully every country – will act to protect future generations from the threat of global warming. For California, that time is now.”

While Davis’ supporters applauded the new regulations, Republican legislators, automakers, and consumer groups vehemently opposed the laws. “Federal law and common sense prohibit each state from developing its own fuel economy standards,” said Josephine Cooper, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, in a prepared statement. “We expect to challenge successfully the implementation of this law in federal court.”

California, the United States’ largest auto market, has been a pioneer in clean air legislation since the 1960’s. California formed its own Air Resources Board before the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was formed under the Clean Air Act of 1970, and its laws helped develop the catalytic converter and unleaded gasoline.

“Clearly there will be resistance to this bill and opponents will say the sky is falling,” Davis said on Monday. “They said the sky was falling about unleaded gasoline. They said it about the catalytic converter. They even said it about seat belts and airbags. My friends, the sky is not falling. It is just getting a lot clearer.”

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