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“The environmental and economic consequences of climate change and our dependency on fossil fuels compel both California and the United Kingdom to commit to urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote low carbon technologies,” said Britain and California in a joint statement.
The British Consulate-General in Los Angeles said Blair and Schwarzenegger were not sidestepping the Bush Administration on Global Warming. “That's explicitly not what we're doing,” said a consulate spokesman, adding that the meeting mostly focused on boosting alternative energy.
In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was signed by President Clinton and later rejected via resolution in the U.S. Senate by a 95 to 0 vote. In 2001, President Bush withdrew the U. S. from the by-then revised agreement by refusing to send it to Congress. In 2003, the Senate rejected a bi-partisan bill that would have forced the EPA to curb CO2 emissions from industrial smoke stacks by a vote of 55 to 43.
Emissions trading schemes, such as the European Union's, work by placing mandatory limits on the production of greenhouse gases. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has endorsed measures to reduce industrial emissions of greenhouse gases, but has stopped short of calling for a hard cap on them.
The goal of the agreement was to fix a price on carbon pollution, an unwanted byproduct of burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gasoline. The plan sets overall caps for carbon and endeavors to reward businesses that find a profitable way to minimize their carbon emissions, thereby encouraging new, greener technologies.