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If Proposition 23 passes, will other greenhouse-gas laws fall?

California's 2008 law to limit greenhouse-gas emissions is seen as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's biggest achievement. If it is undone by Proposition 23, other similar laws could follow, experts say.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger talks in front of a map showing what areas might be affected by global warming in San Francisco, Dec. 2, 2009. The passage of a global-warming law (also called Assembly Bill 32) in 2008 was seen to be perhaps the greatest accomplishment of Governor Schwarzenegger's regime and the centerpiece of his legacy.

Kim White/Reuters/File

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The results of California's governor's race, its Senate race, and Proposition 19 to legalize marijuana will have reverberations nationwide. But another issue to be decided Nov. 2 in California could have global implications.

Proposition 23 would suspend the state’s world-renowned global warming law, which requires that by 2020 the state's greenhouse-gas emissions be reduced to 1990 levels – a roughly 25 percent reduction from current estimated emissions.

Its passage in 2008 was seen to be perhaps the greatest accomplishment of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's regime and the centerpiece of his legacy. It brought British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and other world leaders to California.

“It’s not just the perception of a single initiative that’s at stake here, but rather a key vote that could affect the perception of this generation’s top environmental issue around the world,” says Nabil Nasr, director of the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies (CIMS) at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.

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