Chip Makers Must Reduce Greenhouse Emissions

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    People generally think of the computer industry -- or at least computer geeks -- as earth-friendly or "green."

    But California air regulators deflating that assumption and are implementing new rules that would cut greenhouse gas emissions from semiconductor plants.

    The California Air Resources Board voted Thursday to regulate some of the most potent gases produced by the semiconductor industry, which makes chips for cell phones, computers and cars.

    By Jan. 1, 2012, more than a dozen of California's chip manufacturers must reduce their use of fluorinated gases. Scientists say such emissions trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere at a rate 23,000 times higher than carbon dioxide.

    Industry officials testified that the regulations will cost businesses some $37 million at a time when the chip industry is grappling with falling global sales.

    They also argued that fluorinated gases already are being addressed under voluntary global agreements, although those targets are much weaker than the new California limits.