California governor signs latest bills to address climate change

Ten years after California adopted the toughest greenhouse gas emission reduction goals in the nation, Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 8 signed SB 32, which require the state to cut emissions at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and invest in the communities hardest hit by climate change.

“Climate change is real, and knowing that, California is taking action,” said Brown. “SB 32 and AB 197 are far-reaching moves that continue California on its path of vast innovation and environmental resilience.”

California is on track to meet or exceed the current target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, as established in the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32). The new 2030 requirement in SB 32 will help make it possible to reach the ultimate goal of reducing emissions 80% under 1990 levels by 2050.

“With its Clean Car Law in 2002 and the Global Warming Solutions Act in 2006, California took a global lead in adopting policies to clear the air, transition to clean energy and reduce climate pollution,” said state Sen. Fran Pavley. “Those policies have fueled billions of dollars in private investment and spawned a thriving clean-energy sector. SB 32 sends an unmistakable message that California is resolute in its commitment to remain on that healthy and prosperous course.”

AB 197 establishes a legislative committee on climate change policies to help continue to ensure the state’s actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are conducted with transparency and accountability.

“SB 32 extends California’s landmark greenhouse gas reduction goals. AB 197 changes the game on how we make sure those goals are reached,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. “The successful effort behind these two bills is the latest sign of a growing consensus that protecting the environment and improving public health are inextricably linked and that maintaining that link is key to advancing future environmental actions. The Assembly – where AB 32 was passed 10 years ago – will be vigilant and vigorous in making sure California’s climate change goals are met, and are met as we all intended.”

While California emits around 1% of the world’s greenhouse gases, the state is playing a leading role in broadening collaboration among subnational leaders. These efforts include spearheading the Under2Coalition, a global climate pact among cities, states and countries to limit the increase in the world’s average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius. A total of 135 jurisdictions representing 32 countries and six continents have now signed or endorsed the agreement.

In the past year, Gov. Brown has traveled to the United Nations headquarters in New York, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, the Vatican in Italy and the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto, Canada to call on other leaders to join California in the fight against climate change. Brown also joined an unprecedented alliance of heads of state, city and state leaders – convened by the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund – to urge countries and companies around the globe to put a price on carbon.

Last October, Gov. Brown signed landmark legislation – SB 350 – to double the rate of energy efficiency savings in California buildings and generate half of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Brown also committed to reduce today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50% within the next 15 years. Additionally, he issued an executive order last year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, a goal which is now codified by SB 32.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.