Commentary: Power From the People

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, June 15, 2007

California officials now face some tough questions in implementing the state’s global warming law. Which industries will be affected? And how will the state go about reducing emissions 25 percent in 13 years?

These are important questions. But for most of us, they seem remote from our day-to-day lives. And that’s the problem. Many Californians want to do something about global warming. But, so far, state officials haven’t tapped into that energy. And that, in my view, is a missed opportunity.

During the energy crisis, Californians were asked to reduce their power consumption. In just a few days, a third of all households cut their energy use by more than 20 percent.

Now we need to Flex Our Power for a different cause. The governor could lead this effort. Schwarzenegger could tape TV ads helping people understand how to conserve energy. Even better, he could offer them rebates if they took documented steps to cut their use of fuels and electricity.

Regulations are important. But don’t underestimate the power of personal choice. Give us the right incentives, and we can accomplish a lot.


Stuart Leavenworth writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.