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Florida Tackles Global Warming

With a single vote on Dec. 2, Florida took real leadership in the fight against global warming.

After years of head-in-the-sand policy making, this is a welcome change. We have Gov. Charlie Crist to thank: he proposed that Florida adopt clean car standards patterned after those in California.

And on Dec. 2, after six hours of public testimony, the panel that sets state pollution limits approved Florida's new clean car standards. The Environmental Regulation Commission's vote was a resounding 6-1, despite a considerable political push by automobile manufacturing lobbyists. Now, the proposal heads to the Florida Legislature in March, where the political battle begins anew.

We are thrilled to be living in this new, environmentally progressive Florida. Not only did the state reject a giant coal plant in the Everglades, but now leaders are actually supporting alternative energy and paying attention to cutting the global warming gasses spewing from millions of car tailpipes.

We may not find ourselves sinking under rising seas after all.

Under the new proposed clean car standards, emissions from new cars sold or leased in Florida would be cut by nearly 25 percent in the next four years and 30 percent by 2016. If approved by the Legislature, Florida would be the 13th state to voluntarily adopt automobile emission standards that are stricter than the existing federal requirements.

Like Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in California, Gov. Crist is taking forward-thinking steps to help solve the greatest threats to our planet. It's pretty clear that when our leaders demand cleaner-running cars, automobile manufacturers will build them. Now it is up to the Obama administration to approve California's emission standard under the Clean Air Act.

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