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Cal Joins Northeast Global Warming Fight

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

NEW YORK —  After visiting a"green"high-rise apartment in Manhattan, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that California will join seven northeastern states in an alliance to combat global warming.

Schwarzenegger and New York Gov. George Pataki on Monday toured the 27-story Solaire, touted as the country's largest environmentally sensitive residential building.

Schwarzenegger then said he would sign an executive order on Tuesday that calls for a program allowing his state to work with the Northeast's Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

The goal of the initiative is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions at power plants, beginning in 2009.

Under the program, power plants in participating states will be granted a limited number of carbon credits, equal to the amount of carbon dioxide they are allowed to emit. Those that exceed their limits must purchase credits to cover the difference, while those that produce less carbon dioxide can sell the surplus credits.

By joining the Northeast program, California could help its industries and utilities comply with the state's new environmental regulations. Such companies must cut their greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 25 percent by 2020 as part of the state's landmark global warming law.

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"Our cooperation can be a model to the rest of the states and to other countries actually,"Schwarzenegger said.

Pataki said that a"market-driven cap and trade system"would benefit both the environment and industry.

Participants in the Northeast system are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont. Maryland is expected to join in June 2007.

The executive order is Schwarzenegger's latest move to address global warming _ an issue that has often put the Republican governor at odds with the Bush administration. Up for re-election in November, Schwarzenegger has urged the governors of Western states to join California in a regional trading system and signed an agreement with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to develop new technologies to combat global warming.

Pataki helped craft the Northeast system after President Bush withdrew from the 160-nation Kyoto Protocol on global warming in 2001, saying it would hurt the U.S. economy.

California's global warming law imposes the country's first mandatory statewide cap on greenhouse gas emissions, a move that has been criticized by manufacturers and cement makers _ two of the largest emitters of the greenhouse gases that scientists blame for rising temperatures in many parts of the world.

The emissions-trading approach to fighting global warming gained adherents in the past few years but has critics as well.

"There are concerns about whether such programs actually achieve the planned reductions,"said Bill Magavern, a lobbyist for the Sierra Club in Sacramento."There are concerns among California community groups that pollution trading will increase air pollution in the low-income and minority communities that already bear a disproportionate burden."


Associated Press Writer Samantha Young in Sacramento contributed to this story.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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