- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Enjoy your SUV while you can. Gov. Gray Davis, California Democrat, on Monday signed landmark legislation mandating reductions in carbon dioxide "emissions" beginning with model year 2009 new cars and trucks sold in the state. Since the only way to decrease the amount of carbon dioxide produced by an internal combustion engine is to burn less fuel, the automakers will have no choice but to decrease the size of vehicles and the engines used to power them. Consider it an end-run around federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards that some on the loony left are furious haven't been raised to 40 mpg from the current 27.5 mpg. Or, perhaps a new way to impose the tenets of the never-ratified U.N. global warming treaty the so-called Kyoto Protocol that was a special favorite of former Vice President Al Gore. It, too, demanded radical cutbacks in carbon dioxide output, but has been steadfastly rejected because of the immense harm it would do to the U.S. economy, as well the shoddy science behind it.

Carbon dioxide is a harmless, inert gas that plays no role in the formation of smog. Nor does it contribute to pollution. And it is not something that can be "cleaned-up" via chemical exhaust scrubbers (e.g., catalytic converters ) and other traditional forms of emissions control. It is, however, the trump card of people like Mr. Gore.

Large sport-utility vehicles and trucks will be first in the bull's-eye, but even mid-sized passenger cars with V-6 engines will be affected. The larger the vehicle, or the bigger its engine, the more carbon dioxide it produces. Therefore, the more subject those vehicles will be to onerous regulations and restrictions. And, since it is impractical for automakers to build two sets of vehicles one for the California market, the other for the rest of the country it is a certainty that Mr. Davis' noxious law will impact the entire country.

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