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Arnold Schwarzenegger Blamed for Backtracking in the Fight Against Carbon Emission

on climate change, to a leader.

Fabian Nunez, the speaker of California's state parliament, says that was exactly the intention.

"If you look at Congress and the White House you would think that climate change is not a big issue with Americans, but that is false. The growing awareness about climate change across America has been incredible," he says.

"The intent for us when we passed AB32 was not only our commitment to California."

"There is a sense of state activism.

"When you look around and see that our president has essentially turned a blind eye to the issue of climate change, it raises a lot of concerns. So we wanted to help put the pressure on the federal government, and we think that's worked quite well thus far."

Indeed, the dominoes have started falling across the country.

Nine north-eastern states have committed to their own carbon trading scheme, and more than 400 mayors have pledged their cities to reduce emissions.

And the green tide is now rising in Washington too, where Nunez's Democratic colleagues gained control of Congress in November.

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has pulled together a raft of different measures, being considered by 11 different congressional committees, under the banner of "energy independence".

Many of the measures - which include new energy efficiency standards for appliances, increased use of ethanol to power vehicles, and long-term financial incentives for renewable power - tie in with President Bush's call to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.

But before one gets carried away, here is the reality check.

Dr. Margo Thorning, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist for the American Council for Capital Formation has warned, "AB 32 is likely to cause "leakage" of industry to states and countries with no mandatory emission
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