California, EU Advance Climate Change Agendas

California, EU Advance Climate Change Agendas

California's Air Resources Board approved on Thursday an ambitious playbook that will guide efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change.

The agency's draft scoping plan, first introduced in July, sets the stage for an array of aggressive programs that will cut emissions in the state to 1900 levels by 2020 as required under the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, also known as AB32.  

It's the most comprehensive greenhouse gas reduction plan in the country, the centerpiece of which is a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program. The plan also includes a mandate forcing utilities to source a third of their energy from renewables, a low-carbon fuel standard, anti-sprawl measure, new building codes and increased fuel standards for vehicles, the last of which has been blocked by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Bush administration.

Meanwhile, on Friday, the European Union approved a climate change package that will aim for a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2020.

The 27-member bloc went ahead with the deal even though several nations held deep reservations about the cost of implementing the plan. It calls for the EU to source 20 percent of its energy from natural sources and, if the international community reaches a climate deal that will succeed Kyoto, the EU will cut emissions by 30 percent.