CLEAN, GREEN, AND...

CLEAN, GREEN, AND POPULAR. Let's just take a moment to enjoy this description of Big Business´┐Ż reaction to this major piece of legislation in the glorious Golden State:

Business interests, especially oil companies, were irate and said they felt abandoned by the Republican governor, who had pledged to work for a bill they could support. They accused Schwarzenegger and Democrats of cobbling together behind closed doors a haphazard bill that could create unintended economic chaos.

Ahhh. What a difference a few years makes. Remember when it was Cheney and the Big Business interests working behind closed doors to cobble together an energy bill that padded their pockets and accelerated our ecological decline? Yeah, me too.

Anyway, this a Schwarzenegger film, top to bottom. Conscious of the perils of running for reelection in California, he's playing up the issue area where his progressive impulses appear genuine: environmentalism. In recent weeks, he's sought a compact with Tony Blair on global warming, and in recent days he's crossed California's extractive industry's to mandate a 25 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020. It should be said here that California is actually rather green already, with our vehicle requirements rendering the exhaust out my auto's tail pipe cleaner than the L.A. air it mingles with, and so our state, with the sixth largest economy in the world, accounts for a mere two percent of carbon emissions.

Nevertheless, this is a model for what other states can do, and if, as looks likely, it sinks the final nail into the incompetent campaign of Phil Angelides, it'll serve as a template for other governors seeking to burnish the popular aspects of their progressivism. If the federal government insists on ignoring emissions, the states needn't emulate its irresponsibility. Schwarzenegger, whom I've no particular love for, deserves credit for getting this done.

--Ezra Klein

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