By Dan Shapley
It was three years ago that California told the Environmental Protection Agency that global warming poses a serious problem for the coastal state, and that it intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles as part of its strategy to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The rule -- which 11 states have vowed to follow if California wins approval -- will reach a potentially dramatic point in its tortuous journey toward reality tomorrow, when the EPA holds hearings on the subject. Those hearings, a simple bureaucratic step in the process, had been put off until the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the states this spring, telling the EPA to, essentially, get on with it. California, because of its historically bad air quality, was granted the right to set air quality rules that are more stringent than Clean Air Act requirements, and if it wins approval for such waivers, other states can follow suit. It was just revealed that emissions of carbon dioxide -- the leading greenhouse gas -- are increasing at a faster rate
in the early part of this century than it did even in the 1990s. Three years after California, and its allies at the state level, vowed to do something about it, the people will finally get a say,
according to a story in the May 29 Christian Science Monitor.