Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

California is introducing a monitoring systen of greenhouse gas emissions

euinside, February 4, 2010

The state of California is preparing to introduce the first statewide system of monitoring devices to detect global-warming emissions, installing them on towers throughout the state, the New York Times reports. The network will initially focus on pinpointing the sources and concentrations of methane, which is not included in the greenhouse gases but is considered as a potent contributor to climate change. According to Jorn Dinh Herner, a scientist with the California Air Resources Board, this will be the first system of its kind in the world.

There are monitoring stations around the world which detect carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases, but they are deliberately placed in remote locations and are generally intended to measure average global concentrations of greenhouse gases rather than local emissions.

The California network of devices is meant to help the state find specific sources of emissions, as well as to verify the state’s overall compliance with a plan it adopted to limit greenhouse gases. The state’s global warming law requires that greenhouse gas emissions be cut to 1990 levels by 2020. To achieve such reductions, the state is planning an emissions-trading market whose integrity will depend on accurate measurement of the gases from oil refineries, power plants and other industrial facilities.

So far the state has bought seven portable analyzers made by a company in Silicon Valley. The price of one analyzer is $50,000. The device is about the size of a desktop PC and takes precise, real-time measurements of greenhouse gases, the newspaper reports.