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The Air Resources Board (ARB) has approved a plan that will allow California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

"This plan is California's prospectus for a more secure and sustainable economy," says ARB Chairwoman Mary Nichols. "It will guide capital investments into energy efficiency to save us money, into renewable energy to break our dependence on oil and promote a new generation of green jobs for hundreds of thousands of Californians."

A central component of the plan is a cap-and-trade program that will cover 85% of the state's emissions. This program will be developed in conjunction with the Western Climate Initiative. According to the scoping plan document, ARB will, for the purposes of the plan, count emissions avoided by increasing the percentage of renewables in the state’s electricity mix to 33% by 2020 from the current 12% set by California’s renewable portfolio standard.

Additional recommendations of the plan include strategies to enhance and expand energy efficiency programs; implementation of California's clean cars standards; and implementation of a fuel standard.

ARB says it will now begin developing detailed strategies to implement all of the recommended measures that must be in place by 2012.

Development of the scoping plan is a requirement of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif., in September 2006.

SOURCE: Air Resources Board

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