California Dreams

The Golden State launches a controversial, influential new effort to fight climate change

It's a depressing time to be an environmentalist. Climate change hit home last year with brutal force: 2012's historic drought singed much of the Midwest, turning farms to dust and withering the corn crop. Other parts of the U.S. suffered through storms like Sandy and massive wildfires. And average annual temperatures in the continental U.S. beat the previous recorded high by a full 1°F — a landslide in meteorological terms.

So, logically, 2013 would be the year when the U.S. finally gets serious about dealing with the man-made greenhouse-gas emissions that drive warming. That's not quite how it has turned out....

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