California Greenhouse Emissions Up 14 Percent 1990-2004
LOS ANGELES California's polluting greenhouse gas emissions rose more than 14 percent between 1990 and 2004, a report issued this week by the California Energy Commission showed.
That's the wrong direction for a state that has made law and a vow to cut those global warming gases to 1990 levels by 2020, said Dan Kammen of the energy and resources group at the University of California-Berkeley.
"It's going in the wrong direction, but it's considerably less than the national average," which is about double California's rate, Kammen said.
The report is important because for the first time California -- which would be the eighth largest economy in the world and is by far the largest U.S. state -- has accounted emissions in such detail, said Kammen and Michael Prather of the University of California-Irvine.
"This is basic knowledge and without it you're sort of acting in the dark," said Prather.
California along with some Northeast states are in the lead of developing a registry of carbon emissions which will lead to the trading of carbon credits, giving companies financial incentive to cut pollution which will be key.
California has been a bellwether for the rest of the United States in cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions, Prather said.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in late September signed the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which mandates caps on emissions to reduce climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. It also calls for emissions to be at 2000 levels by 2010.
Fossil fuels accounted for 81 percent of greenhouse gas emissions during the 15-year period studied.
Cars, trucks and jets and other parts of the transportation sector were the leading carbon dioxide (CO2) emitters at 40.7 percent, followed by electricity generation at 22.2 percent, industrial emissions at 20.5 percent, agriculture and forestry at 8.3 percent, and other sources also at 8.3 percent.
From 1990 to 2003 showed 83 percent growth in gross state product. The report, written by energy commission staffer Gerry Bemis, said this shows that economic growth doesn't have to mean a comparable increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
California's per-capita CO2 emissions in 2001 were the fourth-lowest among the 50 U.S. states.
If it were a country, California would have been the 16th-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world in 2002. Texas would be the ninth-largest.
California's population is now about 36 million, the most in the United States. In 1990, California's population was about 30 million. Texas is the second-biggest state, with a population estimated now at 23 million, up from 17 million in 1990.