November 13, 2007

AG Brown continues global warming drive

California must reduce current emissions by at least 25 percent to meet goal

Daily Press [Victorville CA]

OAKLAND — Attorney General Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown Jr. challenged supervisors Tuesday from all 58 counties to combat global warming, which he compelled San Bernardino County to do in April by filing a lawsuit.

“California is committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels,” said Brown at the annual meeting of California State Association of Counties.

In April, Brown sued San Bernardino County for not properly addressing the issue of global warming in its general plan update.

To avoid lengthy and costly litigation, the county reached a global warming agreement with Brown that calls for a 30-month public process to cut greenhouse gas emissions attributable to land-use decisions and government operations.

“This lawsuit tactic
is harassment...
It’s mere grand standing..."

Using San Bernardino County as an example, other jurisdictions such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica and Chula Vista are initiating their own measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“I believe the attorney general’s actions in filing this lawsuit were wrong” wrote San Bernardino County 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt in an op-ed in the Daily Press.

“Climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, as a matter of policy, is more appropriately addressed through international treaties, federal legislation and regulations, and state legislation and regulations,” he wrote.

Mitzelfelt is the only county supervisor to vote against the settlement.

County spokesman David Wert said they would have preferred not to be sued but the outcome was good for everyone.

Brown also recently partnered with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sue the Bush administration to allow California to set a stricter tailpipe emission standards than the federal government.

“This lawsuit tactic is harassment,” said James Taylor, managing editor of Environment and Climate News. “There are no legal basis for these suits. It’s mere grand standing and has no place in the judicial system.”

Under California law, the state is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and then reducing 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

To achieve the state’s 2020 target, California must reduce current emissions by at least 25 percent.

“This radical change in our fossil fuel economy demands imagination, massive investment and extraordinary ingenuity,” Brown said.

Brown didn’t mention how California’s increasing population may affect the emission goals.

In 2050, the goal is to have emissions reduced to 80 percent below 1990 levels. The California Department of Finance expects there to be almost 60 million living in the state, a 101 percent increase from 1990.

“What he’s asking for is all pain and no gain,” said Taylor, who called Brown’s plan nothing more than a costly symbolic statement.

He said that even if the entire nation was in line with the Kyoto Protocol calling for lower emissions, it would have no measurable effect on temperatures for 100 years.