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This is definitely worth reading: 
 
Rosenfeld says the past generation’s gains indicate the state can improve its energy intensity (the amount of energy required to produce each dollar of GDP) by about 30 percent every decade. “Efficiency,” he says with a twinkle, “seems to be a renewable resource.” And there is the initial lesson from California’s energy experience: efficiency is the foundation of any effort to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. As California has learned, the most cost-effective way to replace coal or natural gas or petroleum isn’t to rely on solar or wind or biofuels; it’s to squeeze more work out of less energy. …
 
All of this activity points to the second lesson from California’s energy experience: regulations can create markets. “It’s much easier to make a big investment knowing that there will be a market and an opportunity to participate in it,” says Ellen K. Pao, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a leading Silicon Valley venture firm. Initially, neither the utilities nor the investors seemed convinced that state regulators would enforce the renewable standards. But once the legislature and Schwarzenegger sent a clear message by toughening the requirements, the pace of activity enormously accelerated. …
 
The passage of California’s climate-change legislation captured a third major lesson of the state’s experience: just as regulations create markets, markets create constituencies. Much of the state’s business establishment opposed the bill. But the legislation drew countervailing support from the state’s cleantech community, which was growing partly in response to the state’s earlier alternative-energy initiatives. …
 
As a result of the climate-change bill, the state is several years ahead of the country again, this time in exploring what reducing carbon emissions will actually take. “There was no model to work from,” said Mary D. Nichols, the chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, which has been tasked with administering the climate bill. Last December, the board approved a “scoping plan” that offered the most detailed road map any government agency has yet charted for reducing greenhouse emissions. It pointed to a fourth major lesson from the California energy experience: moving toward a low-carbon economy will require attacking the problem from almost every conceivable angle. …
 
Yet, for now, the key to energy politics in California is that the state has transcended the assumption, common in many other regions, that sustainability requires scarcity. …
 
The big lessons of the California energy experience—rely on efficiency first, use regulation to create markets, use markets to create constituencies, attack the problem from all angles—might be implemented in different ways, but their basic principles can be applied everywhere. California’s experience says the evolution to a lower-carbon, more energy-efficient economy is possible and compatible with economic growth, but that the change requires endurance, consistency, and flexibility.
 
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200910/california-energy
 
Dr. Stephen R. Humphrey, Director,
School of Natural Resources and Environment,
Box 116455, 103 Black Hall, University of Florida
Gainesville, FL  32611-6455  USA
Tel. 352-392-9230, Fax 352-392-9748
http://snre.ufl.edu