Published on:

California Legislature Adopts Expanded Climate Change Law

The Governor of California is  expected to sign a Bill adopted by the California Legislature that further expands what has been called the Country’s most aggressive climate change legislation aimed at reducing Greenhouse Gases (GHGs). The new Act calls for a significant reduction in GHGs by 2030. The Act is also tied to another Bill just passed by the Legislature, Assembly Bill 197 of 2015-2016, that modifies the authority of the State Air Resources Board.

The legislation is administered by a State Air Resources Board. The companion Bill 197 would implement a legislative oversight committee to ensure the Air Resources Board acts in a manner that, among other things, ensures that plans ” …identify for each emissions reduction measure, including each alternative compliance mechanism, market-based compliance mechanism, and potential monetary and nonmonetary incentive the following information:

(a) The range of projected greenhouse gas emissions reductions that result from the measure.
(b) The range of projected air pollution reductions that result from the measure.
(c) The cost-effectiveness, including avoided social costs, of the measure.”

The new Act will change the goal of California’s landmark 2006 Climate Change legislation, called the “California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006”. The 2006 legislation required reduction of GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The new Act requires that GHG emission levels be reduced to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.

The text of the legislation follows:

“SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Division 25.5 (commencing with Section 38500) of the Health and Safety Code) authorizes the State Air Resources Board to adopt regulations to achieve the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
(b) The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Division 25.5 (commencing with Section 38500) of the Health and Safety Code) requires the State Air Resources Board to reduce statewide emissions of greenhouse gases to at least the 1990 emissions level by 2020 and to maintain and continue reductions thereafter.
(c) Continuing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is critical for the protection of all areas of the state, but especially for the state’s most disadvantaged communities, as those communities are affected first, and, most frequently, by the adverse impacts of climate change, including an increased frequency of extreme weather events, such as drought, heat, and flooding. The state’s most disadvantaged communities also are disproportionately impacted by the deleterious effects of climate change on public health.
(d) The State Air Resources Board shall achieve the state’s more stringent greenhouse gas emission reductions in a manner that benefits the state’s most disadvantaged communities and is transparent and accountable to the public and the Legislature.
SEC. 2. Section 38566 is added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:
38566. In adopting rules and regulations to achieve the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective greenhouse gas emissions reductions authorized by this division, the state board shall ensure that statewide greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to at least 40 percent below the statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit no later than December 31, 2030.
SEC. 3. This act shall become operative only if Assembly Bill 197 of the 2015–16 Regular Session is enacted and becomes effective on or before January 1, 2017.”

Steven Silverberg