Schwarzenegger signs landmark climate law


The governor of California yesterday penned a global warming initiative imposing America's first cap on greenhouse gas emissions.

Arnold Schwarzenegger described the moment as setting in train "a bold new era of environmental protection that will change the course of history".

He said the fight against global warming was one of the most important contemporary issues.

In an address before signing off the bill, Mr Schwarzenegger said: "We simply must do everything we can in our power to slow down global warming before it is too late."

Tony Blair joined the ceremony via video link.

Also present were San Francisco's mayor Gavin Newsom and his New York counterpart George Pataki.

Mr Blair described the bill signing as "a proud day for political leadership" and "a historic day for the rest of the world, as well".

Californian politicians last month agreed to support the Democrat-backed bill to cut greenhouse gases.

The Republican governor, Mr Schwarzenegger, said he expected other states, the federal government and even other nations to follow suit.

The new "first-in-the-world" AB 32 law imposes an emissions cap on utilities, refineries and manufacturing plants.

California aims to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, an estimated 25 per cent cut.

Mr Schwarzenegger said by 2050 he wanted to see emissions reduced to 80 per cent below 1990 levels.

"We simply must do everything in our power to slow down global warming before it's too late," he said.

California is the world's 12th largest producer of greenhouse gases.

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