California adopts lowcarbon fuel standard

On 23 April the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted a regulation that will implement a new and unique lowcarbon fuel standard.
   Proposed by Governor Schwarzenegger in early 1997, this new legislation is designed to reduce carbon emissions from California’s transportation by requiring refineries, producers and importers of motor fuels sold in California to reduce the carbon footprint of their products by 10 per cent by 2020, with greater cuts thereafter.

“California’s first-in-the world lowcarbon fuel standard will not only reduce global warming pollution, it will reward innovation, expand consumer choice and encourage the private investment we need to transform our energy infrastructure,” Governor Schwarzenegger said in a statement.
   The rule is supposed to lower California’s carbon emissions by 16 million tonnes over the next decade, and replace 20 per cent of the state’s fossil fuels used by road transport with cleaner options, such as electricity, hydrogen, natural gas and biofuels.

To produce the more than 1.5 billion gallons of biofuels needed, more than 25 new biofuel facilities will have to be built which will create more than 3,000 new jobs, mostly in the state’s rural areas.   The regulation requires providers, refiners, importers and blenders to ensure that the fuels they provide for the California market meet an average declining standard of carbon intensity, which is determined by the sum of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production, transportation and consumption of a fuel.
   The standard is also expected to drive the availability of plug-in hybrid, battery electric and fuel-cell powered cars while promoting investment in electric charging stations and hydrogen fuelling stations.

Sources: Environmental News Service and Reuters, 23 April 2009

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