A federal judge in California has dismissed a suit from automakers that challenged the state’s limits on greenhouse gas emissions from cars. The Dec. 12 ruling comes in response to a 2004 lawsuit filed by auto industry trade organizations.

Sixteen states have adopted California’s greenhouse gas emissions regulations, and if the laws go forward automakers providing cars to those states–which represent nearly half the country’s population–would have to cut emissions from cars starting with 2009 models.

Vermont, one of the states to adopt California’s regulations, fought off a similar suit from automakers in September. In April, the Supreme Court ruled that under the Clean Air Act, the EPA has authority to limit greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles.

The law would be enforced only if the EPA approves a waiver that would allow California to pre-empt federal clean-air requirements. President Bush has rejected a nationwide standard for greenhouse gas emissions and backs voluntary efforts from automakers.

“Today’s decision marks another important victory in the fight against global warming,” said California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a Dec. 12 statement. “California and other states will prevail in our goal to take aggressive action on climate change.”

Last year Schwarzenegger signed the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which calls for the reduction of carbon emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020 and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050.