Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Quick Hit: California’s Low-Carbon Fuels Mandate

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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.


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