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State Action on Global Warming, MD Acts as CA Wavers

Last week, the state of Maryland joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a consortium of states -- now eight with Maryland's membership -- that have committed to reduce emissions on four pollutants and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 10 percent by 2019.

Given the failure of leadership on global warming in D.C., the multi-state "compact" has been adopted by these Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states as a way to set joint goals and establish implementation tools, including a "cap-and-trade" program for administering a system of emission permits. The idea is that as each state sets limits on emissions, companies able to reduce pollution below those levels would be free to sell excess permits to other businesses, thereby encouraging innovation in pollution-reducing technologies.

In California, Governor Schwarzenegger announced this week that he supported action to curb greenhouse gases, but hedged on whether he would sign bills moving through the legislature that would cap the total amount of global warming emissions. Instead, he pushed for waiting until 2010 for more studies to be completed, a position that environmentalists derided as "punting" action down the road.

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