Bumpy road marks odyssey to cut greenhouse gases

In the words of Kermit the Frog, “It ain’t easy being green.”

But new demography reports from the Department of Finance underscore just how difficult it will be to bring the state into compliance with its new greenhouse-gas-emissions law. While the state is trying to cut its emissions from existing levels, it is poised for a population boom, a projected increase in the state’s population to 60 million people by the year 2050.

That population growth is only going to make the state’s new goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions that much more difficult to reach. The state’s population is set to increase by as much as 7 million between now and 2020, the same year Californian must cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by 25 percent.
The basic dilemma is figuring out how to slash by one-fourth the level of greenhouse gases while the population grows 17 percent–all within 13 years. This is hardly the only problem for the California Air Resources Board, the state’s top air-quality regulator, but it is the most visible.

Linda Adams, secretary of the California EPA, says it is a challenge, but not one that can’t be met. “What I’m hearing more is that we’re going to need every possible tool, regulations, voluntary actions, and a market-based approach is part of that,” she said.

“I am keenly aware of the growth numbers, and [they are] a problem,” said Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier, D-Martinez, who served on the Air Resources Board for 10 years. DeSaulnier says the problem is characteristic of many policy areas. “I work a lot on how we plan for growth as a state, and we just don’t enough.

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