California tests the waters on greenhouse gas emissions


California has long been a laboratory for legislation that later is adopted by other states, or the federal government. Just as Broadway producers often refine their plays in San Francisco before taking them to New York, California has been a springboard for policy on its way to the limelight. The latest legislation of this kind is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The state passed a pair of laws that outline some big changes: dialing greenhouse gas emissions back, not just to the amount we were spewing in 1990, but to 80 percent below 1990 levels. This will continue for the next four decades.

In Washington D.C., attempts to pass a climate-change bill have stalled, and last winter in Copenhagen, international leaders couldn’t agree on how to cope with greenhouse gases. So people around the nation and the world are watching California with interest as the eighth largest economy in the world tries to wean itself off fossil fuel. We brought in reporter Nathanael Johnson to find out how it’s working so far.