California: Going Green, Going Gold

by Sarah Cox

Widener University Political Science Major

California wants to lead America to a greener future, and they are well on their way in doing so. California once suffered from smog attacks in Los Angeles which led to the first state wide air protection laws. With California’s Environmental Quality Act, greenhouse gas emissions are being cut, cap and trade emissions are being cut, renewable energy must account for 1/3 of California’s electricity, and low carbon fuel standards must fall by 10% by 2020.

It is inspiring to other states the measures that California is taking toward a cleaner, healthier environment. The way California handles their environmental issues is the way more states should, head on. Improving the environment doesn’t mean compromising your way of life or even your gas guzzling car. Arnold Schwarzenegger loves the environment as much as he loves his Hummers. He took the initiative to improve the environment while not taking away from luxury.

The model California sets may seem scary to some industries, but it shouldn’t be. The cap-and-trade system will go through three phases. First it will gradually expand its reach, lower the carbon cap and auctioning and allow a growing proportion of emission permits. This will allow companies to buy allowances of how much emissions they can produce. This will set a new wave for the future of industry and environmental health.

Another strong influence states should follow is the law which requires carmakers to slash vehicle emissions. Bottom up tactics such as this are effective because manufactures agreed to higher national fuel efficiency standards.

Nine other states are already following in California’s model and more should as well.  Fewer voices are raised against the state’s environmental approach, hinting towards a higher approval rating and a higher quality of air, land, and life.


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