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California outlined for the first time the largest U.S. attempt to regulate greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, calling for the creation of a new emissions- trading program and increased renewable-energy production.
All parts of the $1.6 trillion economy, the largest of the U.S. states, would be affected. Utilities, refiners, carmakers, farmers, manufacturers and forest managers would be called on to cut pollution under the draft plan released today by the state Air Resources Board.
The blueprint comes 18 months after Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law requiring the country's most populous state to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The law is the most far-reaching of any climate-change plan in the U.S., where President George W. Bush's administration and Congress have resisted mandatory caps on greenhouse gases.
But is it too late?
When polar bears start suffering from heat stroke, you know something is wrong.
The plight of the polar bear is not just hinged on global warming. In Iceland, polar bears are being shot dead.
Icelandic authorities said they were forced to shoot a polar bear found wandering on the island in order to protect the public after a plan to anaesthetize the animal was abandoned.
The bear, an adult male weighing around 250 kg (500 lbs), was presumed to have swum to shore from drifting ice. The last time a polar bear came ashore in Iceland was in 1988.
"There was a lot of fog in the area and the bear was moving into the fog. We couldn't risk losing him and there was no time to wait for anaesthetics, so we had to shoot him. It was for the safety of the public," Police Superintendent Stefan Vagn Stefansson told Icelandic national radio on Wednesday.
In response to a public outcry at the shooting, the environmental ministry said it would review the incident to see if it could avoid shooting the next bear that lands in the country.
The world's largest land-based predator lives in the Arctic, depending largely on sea ice to hunt seals.
And of course, oil companies are given full permission to harass polar bears.
It's just over a month since the US government designated the polar bear as an endangered species. Now the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) stands accused of giving oil companies a "blank cheque to harass polar bears".
The row revolves around the seven oil companies that paid $2.6 billion in February for the rights to look for oil in the Chukchi Sea, off the coast of Alaska. Some 2000 polar bears live in the region - a significant chunk of the estimated 20,000 to 25,000 bears worldwide, and the companies were worried that environmental groups might take legal action to prevent the animals being disturbed.
But the FWS issued regulations last week permitting firms to disturb "small numbers" of bears and walruses without fear of prosecution as long as they report each incident and take steps to minimise the animals' stress. If underwater sonar is being used, for instance, engineers must stop surveying should a bear swim close by.