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    California Cracks Down on Emissions

    Governor Schwarzenegger reveals plan to kick "dirty oil" habit. Meanwhile Exxon changes its tune on global warming.

    SACREMENTO -- State Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled plans that calls for California's 26 million vehicles to be switched from petroleum-based fuels to alternative fuels, in a measure that would reduce greenhouse gases and lower global warming pollution, the Daily Review reported.

    The new greenhouse-gas standard for transportation fuels "leads us away from fossil fuel" and would move "the entire country beyond debate, denial and inaction," concerning global warming, Gov. Schwarzenegger said.

    "Our cars have been running on dirty fuel for too long. We have been dependant on foreign oil for too long, so I ask you to free us from dirty oil and OPEC," he continued.

    The details of the greenhouse-gas standard have yet to be finalized, and will be developed over the next 18 months. The policy is expected to limit the amount of greenhouse-gases released for a specified quantity of energy derived from fuel, increasing the limitations until greenhouse-gas emissions have decreased by 10 percent by 2020, the report stated.

    Fuel manufacturers will have a choice in the way it meets the standards, either by blending in additional home-grown fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel or biobutanol, or by purchasing credits from lower-carbon fuel producers such as electricity for plug-in electric hybrids, the report stated.

    The policy reaches beyond the emissions of individual vehicles to the gas stations that provide fuel and the refineries that produce it, the report stated. The policy is being praised by environmentalists and inspected closely by policymakers looking to institute similar laws in their areas.

    "We're encouraged that this looks like a target that allows for creative solutions," said Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the chief operating officer of the Western States Petroleum Association. "If I understand correctly, we're looking at a market-based approach." This approach would allow fuel producers to find their own means of achieving the emissions limit, rather than a prescriptive approach, she noted.

    "This is a big deal. This is the world's first greenhouse-gas standard for transportation fuels," Eric Heitz, president of the non-profit Energy Foundation, told the Review. "This policy will be noticed worldwide."

    The new policy has gotten the attention of ExxonMobil, which recently updated its stance on global warming and the greenhouse gases that cause them, according to a report on CNNMoney.com.

    The company is discussing the potential structure of such laws that restrict emissions, in response to the new standard on greenhouse-gases, the report stated.

    Its views on global warming was also updated. ExxonMobil stated "We recognize that the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere poses risks that may prove significant for society and ecosystems. We believe that these risks justify actions now, but the selection of actions must consider the uncertainties that remain," according to CNNMoney.com, citing a statement by the company.

    In addition, after receiving heated criticism from the Union of Concerned Scientists the company also stopped funding the Competitive Edge Institute -- a group that questioned the idea that humans are responsible for global warming -- that runs ad campaigns such as "Carbon Dioxide: they call it pollution, we call it life," the report stated.

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