Never one to miss out on a trend, California’s political establishment has reacted swiftly to the latest heightened concerns about global warming.

With the sizzle barely off from one of the hottest summers on record, elected officials were busy working up a sweat over how to solve the problem.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California Legislature announced a historic agreement on Aug. 30, when temperatures were still hovering around the century mark in the state capital of Sacramento. Assembly Bill 32, the so-called “Global Warming Solutions Act,” requires California’s utilities, oil refineries, chemical manufacturers and other industries to reduce their greenhouse emissions by 25 percent by the year 2020. The reduction would effectively lower emissions to their 1990 levels.

Only a week before, Schwarzenegger fulfilled his campaign promise to make California a national leader in solar energy, when he signed legislation implementing his “Million Solar Roofs Plan.” Senate Bill 1 will implement a number of provisions to help lead to 1 million solar roofs in the state by the year 2018. Among other things, it requires developers of more than 50 new single family homes to offer the option of a solar energy system to all customers beginning Jan. 1, 2011.

Meanwhile, half of California’s Senate delegation has also taken steps to address the problem. In a speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Sen. Dianne Feinstein announced that she will introduce three new bills next year.

The first bill would introduce a sound mandatory cap and trade program for carbon dioxide emissions, which would reduce emissions by 10 percent or more by the year 2025. The second piece of legislation would impose a mandatory requirement that all passenger vehicles have increased mileage of 10 mpg within the next 10 years. The third and final bill would create a national energy-efficiency program that would include strict appliance and building standards and requirements for utilities to use energy-efficiency measures to meet a portion of their demand. The proposal is modeled after a successful program already in place in California.            EC