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Air Quality

Congressional Resource Service: California Better Than Most on GHG Density

4:28 PM PST on December 13, 2007

A new report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the non-partisan research branch of the legislative branch of government, ranks each state in terms of their Greenhouse Gas emissions per capita (called GHG Intensity Levels) and releases a dire warning about how far we have to go to even come close to meet the goals set in the Kyoto protocol.

First, the good news. California compares well to other states when looking at GHG Intensity ranking 4th being Vermont, New York and Connecticut. However, before we start putting up the streamers we should note that temperature has a lot to do with GHG emissions as the states with the highest GHG Intensity are
Wyoming, West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana and Alaska.

All that being said, the report concludes we're a long way away from even being on the path to meeting the goals of the Kyoto Protocol or Governor Scharzenegger's emission reduction goals we're going to have to each reduce our personal emissions at a much faster rate than we already are.

Reducing GHG emissions in the United States would necessitate further declines in GHG intensity. Several legislative proposals in the 110th Congress would require GHG emissions to return to 1990 levels by 2020.40 To meet this objective, national GHG intensity would need to decline annually (starting in 2010) by 5.0%. As of 2003, the most recent data used by CRS, Californians were reducing their GHG Intenstiy by 1.9% per year.

Compounding the problem, California isn't maximizing its transportation resources. When government officials are promoting the newest popular road capacity enhancement project they often claim it will reduce congestion and thus reduce the amount of GHG's in the atmosphere. However, the CRS doesn't seem to think so. A search for the word congestion will have no hits in the report.

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