The new law, to be signed today by Gov. Gray Davis (D), is the first in the United States to directly affect consumers and to enlist American drivers in reducing the potential of global warming. The law addresses not the gases that cause smog but the invisible, odorless emissions that scientists say appear to be contributing to slow but risky heating of the planet.
The bitterly fought legislation represents a clear victory for environmentalists over the auto and oil industries. Davis sat on the fence during the debates and lobbying campaigns of the spring and summer, which saw an advertising blitz by the auto and oil industries warning consumers that the faceless bureaucrats were going to take away their SUVs.
Davis said that warming could have profound impacts upon a state dependent on such things as snow fall in the Sierra mountains, which melts and then pours into the aqueducts that irrigate farmland and fills the taps of water-hungry cities. Davis also said that every coastal state should be worried about projections for sea level rise caused by melting glaciers at the north and south poles.
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