Schwarzenegger Signs Bill Limiting Greenhouse Gas Emissions

California became the first U.S. state to impose limits on gases suspected in global warming on Sept. 27 as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a historic bill. "We begin a bold new era of environmental protection here in California that will change the course of history," Schwarzenegger said at a press conference on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. "This is something that we owe our children and we owe our grandchildren. We can save our planet and boost our economy at the same time," he said.

Scwharzenegger said the state would create a thriving clean technology industry that would "pump up" the economy while protecting the environment."

Under the plan, California will aim to slash the state's carbon dioxide emissions by 2% by the year 2020.

California's initiative was welcomed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a live satellite link-up. "This will echo right around the world," Blair said. Blair called on the U.S. and other countries not signed-on with the Kyoto Accord to join the momentum and get on board when time came to renew the environmental pact in 2020.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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