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State governments, other countries taking action on global warming

WASHINGTON —While President Bush and other world leaders will talk Thursday at the Group of Eight summit in Scotland about slowing global warming, Bush has already made clear that he's not ready to do much about it, so G-8's position is likely to be little more than symbolic.

Meanwhile, many others around the world, including U.S. state governments, are already taking serious action aimed at curbing the warming trend.

_California's legislature was expected to vote Wednesday on a billion-dollar plan by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to install 1 million solar roofs in the state. This comes on the heels of Schwarzenegger's announcement in June of a series of ambitious goals to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions in California—the seventh biggest producer of global warming gases in the world.

_North Carolina's House of Representatives voted Wednesday to create a climate-change commission that could set the state's first greenhouse-gas reduction targets.

_Pennsylvania is in the process of adopting California's tough car-emission rules, environment secretary Kathleen McGinty said Wednesday. Starting in 2009, the rules will require cars to produce fewer global warming gases.

Those rules have been adopted or are about to be adopted by 11 states and Canada, which would constitute 40 percent of the U.S.-Canadian auto market, said Dan Becker, the global warming director for the Sierra Club. The auto industry is fighting the California rules in federal court.

"The debate is over," Schwarzenegger, a Republican, wrote July 3 in the London Independent newspaper. "We know the science. We see the threat posed by changes in our climate. And we know the time for action is now."

It's not just the states. Many countries are working to obey the 1997 Kyoto treaty rejected by the United States, which requires them to cut emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Canada's province of Ottawa, for example, already has shut down one coal-fired power plant and is phasing out the remaining four.

Even leaders of some companies that produce global warming gases are taking action. BP Amoco, DuPont and other companies are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Paul Anderson, chief executive of coal-intensive Duke Energy, called in June for a tax on carbon consumption. Speaking in the oil capital of Houston, Anderson compared current energy-industry leaders to auto-industry heads in the 1970s who were "in denial" and ignored the threat posed by Japanese and European carmakers.

"Global climate change is not an issue that is going away. And if we don't take constructive action, others will," Anderson said. "From a business standpoint it makes more sense to act than react. I'm troubled that our international competitors—motivated by mandatory emissions reductions—have gotten a head start."

Japan leads the world in solar and hybrid cars, and Europe leads in wind power, Anderson noted.

"Doing the right thing and doing good business is converging," said Margaret Bruce, director of environmental programs for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a California business consortium. "In California, I think businesses are keenly aware that they do business on a global scale. ... You don't want to be out of step with either your customers or suppliers."

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(c) 2005, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

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