California's air-quality bureaucrats are eager to set America's policy on global warming. As of midweek last week, the California Air Resources Board was just a governor's signature away from deciding how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Washington is the right place to decide that issue. But Congress and the auto industry provoked California when they defeated a significant increase in corporate average fuel economy standards in March.
Federal regulators still are likely to order a modest increase, and automakers will be able to claim they are doing their part. But Sacramento says it will make maximum feasible cuts in carbon dioxide emissions without creating a de facto CAFE standard for California. We doubt that's possible.