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California Governor signs 2030 climate change legislation

9 September 2016

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed two bills that extend California GHG emission reduction targets to 2030. The Senate Bill 32 (SB 32) by Senator Fran Pavley requires the state to reduce emissions at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. The Assembly Bill 197 (AB 197) by Assembly member Eduardo Garcia 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. The two bills were adopted by the California Legislature on August 24, 2016.

With SB 32 signed into law, the 40% GHG emission reduction target adopted by Governor Brown in April 2015 through an executive order (B-30-15) is now formally codified in the California legislation.

SB 32 requires the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to develop technologically feasible and cost effective regulations to achieve the targeted 40% GHG emission reduction. AB 197 directs the ARB to prioritize regulations to protect disadvantaged communities, adds a definition for the social costs of GHG emissions for the ARB to include in evaluating the cost effectiveness of the developed GHG reduction measures, and adds accountability and transparency provisions to guarantee greater public oversight of state climate programs. In particular, AB 197 requires the creation of a Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Policies to conduct an ongoing review of policies, and the designation of a senator and Assembly member to serve as nonvoting, ex officio members of the Air Resources Board. SB 32 and AB 197 are “joined”—neither bill can take effect unless the other is also enacted.

California GHG reduction goals were first set in the Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), which was also co-authored by Fran Pavley. Under AB 32, the state is required to reduce its GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. California is on track to meet or exceed the 2020 target. The new 2030 requirement in SB 32 will help make it possible to reach the ultimate goal of reducing emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

SB 32 was supported by a number of environmental groups, as well as by alternative energy and automotive industries, including the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, General Motors, and Ford. The bill was opposed by petroleum, cement, and manufacturing industries, as well as by Republicans in the Legislature, who argued that the bill puts too much authority in the ARB.

Source: Governor Brown