California’s Air Resources Board voted to approve a mandate requiring low-carbon fuels. In a strong move toward progress, the rules call for reducing the carbon content of fuels sold in the state by 10 percent by 2020, a plan that includes counting all the emissions required to deliver gasoline and diesel to California consumers — from drilling a new oil well or planting corn to transporting it to gas stations. Life-cycle costs of every fuel and energy source we consume needs to be reflected in their use.
Critics of the plan say that the Board didn’t listen to enough perspectives; that the new calculations aren’t done well enough and that putting them in place by 2011 is too fast. To which I say: perhaps (so keep the lines of communication open); develop and publicize better models; and b.s. If it were up to many people, zero progress would be made – rules and regulations would be too harsh or be implemented too quickly. Look: marketplaces for goods aren’t collapsing like the doomsdayers say they will.
The consumers in California’s fuel market have spoken through their duly-elected representatives and their off-shoots. They want fuels to contain less carbon in order to start reducing their impact on the environment. Thankfully, those rules will likely make their way across the U.S. eventually.