Aired Tuesday April 20th, 2010 at 7:00 pm on KUED HD Ch. 7.1
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger leads a controversial program to cut carbon dioxide emissions and enforce energy efficiency. NOVA explores the pros and cons of the bold approach in "The Big Energy Gamble," airing on KUED Tuesday, April 20 at 7:00 p.m., as part of KUED's Earth Day programming.
Probing the California initiative in unprecedented detail, "The Big Energy Gamble" conducts in-depth interviews with Governor Schwarzenegger, skeptics and supporters of the plan, and ordinary citizens and business people whose lives will change with the new regulations.
Known as AB 32, the law mandates a statewide rollback of carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 - a goal shared by President Obama. California officials argue that the state is susceptible to climate change and drought resulting in wildfires, water shortages and rising sea levels that threaten major cities along the state's coast. If the plan is implemented in full, California's effort will be the most ambitious to address global warming by any political entity in the world.
"The Big Energy Gamble" details the approach Governor Schwarzenegger is promoting, which calls for improvements in energy efficiency in homes and commercial buildings; increased reliance on renewable power sources, (primarily solar and wind); and capping the amount of car emissions.
The program features actor Ed Begley Jr. and science educator Bill Nye - aka "Bill Nye the Science Guy." The two Los Angeles neighbors are captured in the midst of a friendly, technology-fueled competition to see who can have the lowest carbon footprint.
The film details gadgets to-be-seen in the future of California, (compact fluorescent bulbs, low-energy appliances, solar power cells and electric vehicles) and explores how the new "tech toys" are too expensive for many Californians, who will be subsidized by the state to comply with the new law.
The program includes counter viewpoints, including Marlo Lewis of Competitive Enterprise Institute. Lewis believes the initiative will be disastrous for California's economy, as businesses move out of state to escape the inevitable increase of energy costs.
"The Big Energy Gamble" investigation also takes an in-depth look at the claim that new energy efficient technologies will stimulate economic growth and will eventually pay off in savings. "What power we have to push the United States and the whole world forward!" says Governer Schwarzenegger.
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