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Legislature Approves Bill Extending California Climate Goals to 2030

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August 29, 2016

California is about to make history again. On Wednesday, state legislators passed a climate change bill, SB 32, that extends the state’s aggressive goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 2030. In a press conference, Gov. Jerry Brown said he will sign the bill, along with its companion, AB 197.

“This sweeping set of rules indicates that California is committed to reducing greenhouse gases 40 percent below 1990 levels,” said Brown. “The world in which we live is becoming decentralized and sustainable.”

He emphasized that SB 32 will affect the oil, agriculture, manufacturing, and utility industries in California. He also predicted that the state will become a significant part of the U.S. auto industry in the near future, when electric car manufacturers outcompete fossil fuel car manufacturers.

“It’s a powerful restructuring of California’s economy,” said Brown. “It’s about reducing carbon and growing the economy—let’s put people to work and clean up our air.”

Last year, SB 32 failed to gain enough votes in the Assembly. This year, however, several Assembly members were swayed by AB 197, a companion bill that gives the Legislature more authority over CARB and requires the board to prioritize emission reductions projects in disadvantaged, highly polluted communities. On Tuesday, SB 32 passed the Assembly 42–29.

“Today, the Assembly speaker, most Democrats, and one brave Republican passed SB 32, rejecting the brazen deception of the oil lobby and their Trump-inspired allies who deny science and fight every reasonable effort to curb global warming,” Brown said in a statement.

On Wednesday, the Assembly version of SB 32 passed the Senate 25–13, and AB 197 passed the Assembly 45–30, again largely along party lines, just hours after the Assembly Natural Resources Committee endorsed it. Coalition President Thomas Lawson testified at the Natural Resources Committee hearing in favor of the bill.

“We believe that a vote for this bill is a vote for transparency, accountability, and reform,” said Lawson.

Even with California’s aggressive climate goals extended to 2030, the future of the cap-and-trade program remains in doubt. Brown continued to stump for it, saying that businesses “will look for a flexible way to comply [with the regulations]—and that’s called cap and trade.”

Brown declined to reveal his strategy for extending the cap-and-trade program during his press conference, choosing instead to appreciate Wednesday’s “important victory.”

Advocates for the cap-and-trade program—which suffered another blow when the August auction yielded just $8 million—continue to work on separate legislation, such as AB 2722, that would continue the program and extend emissions reduction goals to 2030.

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