I think everybody is going to have a hard time reaching their energy goals due to the recession, not just California. The Golden State is unique in that it passed, in 2006, the Global Warming Solutions Act which commits the state to reducing greenhouse gas emissions almost in line with those set by the 1997 Kyoto Protocols. This is an ambitious target and no one is quite sure how these reductions are going to be achieved, although there’s been much talk of a “cap and trade” system that may be indepedent of any system developed at the US national level. California’s environmental problems are daunting for a number of unique reasons. For one, they’re a huge consumer of power, with three giant metropolitan areas (San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego) to keep supplied, and the difficulty of doing that has been shown before by the 2000-01 energy crisis and rolling blackouts. California’s transportation infrastructure is a mess. Although new transit systems have taken off some of the load, most of California’s transportation is done via highways, which is a problem from a global warming perspective. Finally, the political situation in California is very chaotic. With large numbers of both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans who usually agree on nothing, the state has been called “ungovernable,” as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has learned. Add to these problems the economic pinch of a recession and you see how difficult the situation is.
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