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State Assembly signs bill to fight global warming

California lawmakers have sealed a groundbreaking deal to combat global warming. The Assembly signed off on a bill yesterday that would make the state the first in the nation to force its major industries to cut their carbon emissions. The bill now goes to Governor Schwarzenegger who says he'll sign it. The legislation could impact jobs and utility costs in the San Diego region. But economists say any effects may be years away. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has more.

Setting limits for greenhouse gas emissions may not have an immediate impact on the region. University of San Diego Economics Professor Alan Gin:

Gin: We'll be less affected than other regions in the state of California in the sense that we don't have a lot of heavy manufacturing type of industries that would be subject to big cutbacks in terms of their emissions.

Gin says residents will feel a ripple effect from the rules.

Gin: We've got firms here that supply products to other firms that are outside of the region and to the extent that there would be cutbacks in terms of these other firms than San Diego companies could be affected.

Gin thinks any negative effects may be offset by new businesses that spring up to develop alternative energy solutions. But the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce believes the global warming rules could cost the state new jobs. Chamber spokesman Scott Alevy:

Alvey: The excellent efforts that have been made in the state to try to attract alternative energy sources to our state, I'm hoping that that industry doesn't look at legislation like this and say 'wait a minute, I'm going to do that in Nevada, I'm going to do that in Arizona or someplace else because it'll cost so much more money to do it here.'

Sempra Energy spokesman Art Larson says it's too soon to know whether the rules will have any affect on the price we pay for electricity. Sempra is the parent company of San Diego Gas and Electric. The rules don't kick in for at least two years, when the state Air Resources Board will require the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions by the biggest polluters. Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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