Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Emissions Cuts Order from America's Favorite Liberal

America's favorite foreign governor, Ahnold, with his latest endeavor - ordering cuts in California emissions.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tuesday that he would ask regulators to require the state’s petroleum refiners and gasoline sellers to cut by 10 percent the emissions of heat-trapping gases associated with the production and use of their products.

The order for cuts, which the governor wants completed by 2020, follows California’s trademark pattern of hitching its environmental aspirations to its market muscle. It also represents one of the first examples of a state or a national government regulating the fuel in its passenger vehicles as part of a strategy to reduce both emissions that contribute to climate change and dependence on foreign oil.

The executive order asks state air regulators to take up the governor’s challenge. The California Air Resources Board will be responsible for drawing the blueprints to carry out the order, with the help of advisers from the University of California, Berkeley.
There's actually a lot here for the alternative fuels sector.
The 10 percent cut in emissions would be accomplished, experts said, largely through the use of alternative fuels, like ethanol and other gasoline blends, which would be provided by the refineries and other producers.

Environmentalists expected the order to turbocharge the market demand for corn-based ethanol and biodiesel fuels, and for natural gas, and to jump-start the introduction of experimental fuels like cellulosic ethanol, which is made from plant waste or nonfood crops like switch grass or wood chips.

The contemporary environmental movement links clear air goals to potential profits, and Mr. Schwarzenegger’s order, with input and support from lobbyists from Environmental Defense, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Hewlett Foundation, mirrors that approach. The companies or industries that stand to benefit financially from his plan include producers of corn-based ethanol, biodiesel and other, more experimental forms of renewable fuels.
One especially interesting aspect involves the understanding of "cradle-to-the-grave" concepts, so typically absent from non-sustainable manufacturing processes:
The unusual in its focus on the so-called cradle-to-grave emissions associated with each fuel. In the case of ethanol, this can mean carbon emissions generated in the production of fertilizer, in the planting and harvesting of corn, in distilling the fuel and, finally, in transporting it to the distributor and burning it in a car. Thus, two otherwise identical gallons of ethanol could have different greenhouse-gas ratings, if one were refined using carbon-intensive coal-fired electricity, while the other was refined using relatively carbon-light electricity from natural gas.

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