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California Pulls Out the Stops
Jamais Cascio, 7 Feb 05

Since taking on the entire auto industry was clearly an insufficient challenge for the government of California, the state's public utilities commission has now decided to embark on a project to change the way it regulates utilities in order to address climate disruption and greenhouse gas emissions:

The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) today announced it is gearing up for its groundbreaking Feb. 23 en banc to address climate change and greenhouse gas emissions by identifying best practices for all PUC regulated companies (electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, and transportation). Presenters include representatives from the academic, research, business, insurance, shareholder activist, and state government organizations.

"We are the first PUC in the nation to squarely address the issue of climate change, as it relates to all of our regulated utilities.  This is an unprecedented and much needed step in the United States, and I am pleased that, working with Governor Schwarzenegger and his administration, we are leading the charge on this important issue," said PUC President Michael R. Peevey. [...]

Opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to business operations include power plant operation, fleet vehicle efficiency, building efficiencies, and overall reduction of energy consumption.

If you thought the lawsuits came fast when California started pushing for reduced vehicle greenhouse gas emissions, just wait. The power, telecom and transportation companies officially regulated by the CPUC include some pretty mammoth corporations. It will be interesting to see if any of them have the foresight to work with the CPUC on this instead of against it.

The first meeting of the project will be Wednesday, February 23, in San Francisco. I'm going to try to attend. Interested parties are encouraged to read the CPUC climate change background paper, which goes into some detail about why they've decided to take this step. Unfortunately, they've only made the background paper available as a Word document. When I found that the paper was little more than text and a single table, I used Word's HTML conversion utility to produce an HTML version of the CPUC climate change paper.

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Potentially good stuff!

I hope that the worldchangers living in California will find some ways to show their support for the measures, and make sure that they are not castrated by the industry. If that passes in California, other states will probably follow and it could be the beginning of big things in the US. Who knows?

Posted by: Mikhail Capone on 7 Feb 05



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