When a state represents 10% of the automobile market, and is the 8th largest economy in the world, it is in a unique position to steer the US's policy, through leadership, or simply through being an obstinate customer in the capitalist-market system. As is pointed out by California assemblywoman Fran Pavley, companies generally aren't going to make a product for one state and a different product for the other 49 states.
Specific areas that the episode points out where California has or is making a difference are automobile emissions standards, in-state smoke stack emissions, and out of state energy emissions. Wondering how that last one will work? California has passed legislation that requires that electricity used in the state be generated cleanly, which is going to force power providers to find solutions.
The episode also spends some time focused on the disconnect between what California is doing and federal policies and leaves the viewer with the question: Does what California is doing matter? Is it simply an idiosyncrasy, or is it a meaningful campaign that will affect not only the US, but the world, by showing the way and what can be achieved when there is a political will?
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