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Shall we fight climate change the Californian way?

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 05:28 UK time, Saturday, 3 November 2007

Hi everyone. I'm writing on a Saturday because we have a special edition of World Have Your Say today. We've come to San Francisco to make our contribution to the BBC's Taking the Temperature series of programmes and reports. It's aim is to understand the shifting attitudes and policies towards global warming, and that's what we'll try and do...

California has passed a couple of pieces of legislation which have been hailed by some as a blueprint for the developed world. First came AB32 - the Global Warming Solution Act. This sets targets for greenhouse gas emissions that start with a 11% reduction by 2010 and run up to an 80% reduction by 2050.

Second is its establishment of the Low-Carbon Fuel Standard. This demands of fuel producers a new type of petrol which delivers more miles for the carbon dioxide it produces. If companies want to keep on selling fuel in California, they need to hit the criteria which it suspporters suggest is a mjor incentive for companies to ibnvest in fuel development (BP is reported to be investing half a billion dollars a year in research towards this improved fuel).

Questions though remain. Can these targets be met without driving up costs for companies and individuals? Will their be a human cost in lost jobs and economic slow-down that could match some of the problems raised by global warming?

Are Californians prepared to play their part and change their lifestyles, if indeed doing so would have an impact? And if even if there is willing, is it realistic for big business to turn around its production techniques to meet these targets?

And all these questions lead to one larger one... is what's happening here in California a model that the rest of the world should follow?

We're going to have in the region of 200 people gathered at the San Francisco Film Center... if you'd like to email them a comment or messages, the address is worldhaveyoursay@bbc.co.uk or you can post here. With a mere hour on air, I doubt there will be a shortage of people with contributions to make. I'll be one my toes.

Speak to you later.


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