(This post is part of a series.)

I don’t know much about this, really, but the headline alone seems pretty auspicious:

Breakthrough plan to cut greenhouse gases
Goal is to reduce carbon dioxide 25% by 2020

Apparently, advisors to Governor Schwarzenegger—with the backing of California legislators—just came out with a 1,300 page report that details more than 50 strategies for reducing the state’s climate-warming emissions. Included among the strategies is a CO2 cap-and-trade system, similar to the European Union’s carbon market.

It’s hard to overstate how huge a step that would be: without a hard cap, any individual steps to reduce emissions might be offset by increases somewhere else in the state. Plus, tradeable credits help ensure that the least expensive greenhouse gas reductions come first—which is the smartest way to sequence those kinds of investments, since the early steps wind up saving money in short order, which in turn helps finance deeper cuts later on. Of course, if neighboring states don’t follow suit, some major CO2 emissions—particularly for generating electricity—may just be pushed into a state with no such caps. Still, it’s a start.

This is still just a proposal, obviously—there’s a lot of work left to be done before any of it becomes reality. But it’s definitely good news.