In spite of all the concerns about the economy, Election Day seems to have turned out well for the environment. California voters have rejected a proposition to suspend the Golden State's global-warming law, which requires the state to scale back carbon emissions 25% to 1990 levels by 2020.
The "No on 23" campaign -- including California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- has already started celebrating the presumed defeat, with Environmental Defense Fund's political director Wade Crowfoot calling it "overwhelming." The proposition would have frozen the state's global-warming law, which Schwarzenegger signed into law four years ago, until state unemployment dropped below 5.5% for four consecutive years.
Meanwhile, New Mexico on Tuesday passed its own measure to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, but not at the polls. The new policy, approved by the state's Environmental Improvement Board in a 4-3 vote, calls for large coal- and gas-fired power plants, as well as oil and gas operators, to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 2% per year. The measure is intended to open the door for a regional cap-and-trade system, and won't take effect unless other U.S. states and Canadian provinces follow suit, the New Mexico Environment Department says.
"We're thrilled," John Fogarty, president of carbon-reduction advocacy group New Energy Economy, said in a statement. "This regulation sends a clear signal: New Mexico is open for business in the new energy economy. It will attract new investment to the state and create good, high-paying jobs in the solar and wind energy industries."
California regulators also released a cap-and-trade proposal Tuesday. But the plan – along with many other state measures to reduce global warming -- would likely have gone nowhere if voters had approved Proposition 23.
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