California Takes Stronger Steps to Curb Climate Change

Two new bills amp up GHG reduction goals and air pollution control

Two California legislative bills that were passed during the 2015-16 session and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in early September will have lasting impacts on the state’s march toward lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and controlling air pollution.

In signing the bills, SB 32 and AB 197, Gov. Brown said, “What we’re doing here is farsighted, as well as far-reaching,” and went on to say, “California is doing something that no other state has done.”

Perhaps the session’s most prominent environmental bill, SB 32 builds on the previous AB 32 – The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Authored by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Los Angeles), SB 32 requires the state to slash GHG emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, a much more ambitious target than the SB 32 goal of hitting 1990 levels by 2020.

AB 197, a companion bill to SB 32, authored by Assembly member Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), increases transparency, equity and reporting for the California Air Resources Board (ARB) and establishes a Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies. The bill pushes the state to take stronger steps to curb local pollution in addition to seeking statewide reductions in emissions.

Together, SB 32 and AB 197 create a two-part policy package that will reduce climate pollution and ensure that communities that have been most harmed by poor air quality will benefit from a healthier environment, and should lead to increased job opportunities throughout the state’s clean energy sector.

CSE was a supporter of SB 32 through the legislative process and views this legislation as a critical path to meeting California’s robust GHG reduction goals. It’s a tremendous victory and should serve as a step toward securing the future of cap and trade as a market-based mechanism to cut emissions.

We applaud Senator Pavley for her strong leadership and commitment to accelerating the adoption of clean energy technologies to meet the state’s climate goals. And, we are honored to host her as the keynote speaker at CSE’s 20th Anniversary Celebration on October 27. We hope you will join us to mark this milestone and meet one of California’s truly committed environmentally minded legislators.

About Sumeeta Ghai

Sumeeta works on policy analysis and regulatory affairs to support local and state clean energy policies.