the Golden State, cont'd...
or Environmentally Preferable Purchasing, is another focus of the
Governor’s Green Building Initiative. EPP products are high quality,
less toxic, reusable and easy to recycle. They use less materials,
water and energy.
California law requires state government
to practice EPP, and in recent months the California Integrated
Waste Management Board and the DGS have completed, and posted
online, 32 chapters of an EPP Best Practices Manual. The publication
offers guidance to thousands of state purchasing agents.
Almost a million tons of old carpet end up in landfills
every year – almost two percent of California’s waste stream.
California purchases about 12 million square feet of new carpeting a
year with 5.3 million square feet a year hauled off to landfills. To
help alleviate the problem, the Department of General Services has
established a wide-ranging new sustainable carpet standard. It
mandates that all carpet purchases meet requirements for recycled
content, low toxic emissions, and end-of-life recycling.
Other environmentally friendly purchasing regulations have
also been put in place, including slashing by roughly two-thirds the
amount of toxic mercury in replacement fluorescent lamps going into
state buildings. Every year, the State replaces some 175,000
fluorescent tubes in thousands of state buildings.
California recently achieved its goal of recycling, or
otherwise diverting from landfills, more than half its waste
products. This is due in no small measure to the outreach, education
and programs put in place by the CIWMB. E-waste recycling for old
computers, fluorescent lamps, batteries, TV’s and other electronic
equipment and supplies has meant big business for private companies
throughout the state, who are specializing in its handling and
disposal. In fact, Electronic Recyclers, California's largest
recycler of electronic waste, in August became the first
organization in California's history to recycle five million pounds
of electronic waste in a one-month period.
California is the world’s 12th largest emitter of
greenhouse gases. A year ago, the Governor set the goal of cutting
California’s greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent, to 1990 levels,
by 2020 and reduction to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
Executive Order S-3-05, the Global Warming Bill, which established
these targets, also called for the creation of a Climate Action Team
led by the Secretary of CalEPA, Linda Adams.
During the signing
ceremony, British Prime Minister Tony Blair addressed the audience
via satellite. “This will echo right round the rest of the world,”
he said. “You are showing brilliant leadership that will inspire a
lot of people worldwide.”
Recent legislation has given the
governor’s 2020 target some teeth. As of September, California
became the first state in the nation to impose a cap on the amount
of carbon dioxide and other gases it puts into the atmosphere.
Calling it “a historic agreement…to combat global warming,” the
Governor signed the Global Warming Solutions Act, which mandates
that major industries cut their output of greenhouses gases in a
plan to trade emissions credits.
This furthers an accord
with British Prime Minister Tony Blair that was signed in August,
establishing joint research into cleaner-burning fuels and
technologies. In the absence of an active national program to reduce
emissions, California’s efforts have global significance.
Climate Action Team is made up of high level representatives from
key state agencies, such as the California Air Resources Board
(ARB), the California energy Commission (CEC), California Public
Utilities Commission (CPUC) and other state agencies. In a small
sampling of the steps being considered or implemented, the Air
Resources Board has approved motor vehicle regulations that by 2016
will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles sold in the
state by about 30 percent. The CPUC is investigating the creation of
a “carbon cap” on each regulated utility. A Climate Action Registry
will encourage companies, government agencies and other
organizations to measure and report their greenhouse gas
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