Think Global, Legislate Local

Emboldened states and cities are taking action on a range of issues.

In an unlikely alliance between a foreign country and a U.S. state, U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair aligned with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in late July to develop an international system for purchasing and selling carbon dioxide emissions.

The two politicians shared a stage in Long Beach, CA, for a high-profile announcement of their agreement. “California will not wait for our federal government to take strong action on global warming,” said Schwarzenegger, a Republican. “International partnerships are needed in the fight against global warming.”

Only a few weeks later, Schwarzenegger signed a law to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 25 percent by 2020, making California the first state to enforce a limit on greenhouse gas emissions. Frances Beinecke, President of the Washington, DC-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), said, “The whole world has been watching to see whether California passes this bill, and now the whole world will watch as California takes the lead in developing a clean energy market.

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