Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. of California State in the US on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 signed the AB 398 Bill, which extends and improves the state’s world-leading cap-and-trade programme to ensure California continues to meet its ambitious climate change goals.
Introduced by Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), the bill seeks to prolong California’s cap-and-trade programme through 2030.
“California is leading the world in dealing with a principal existential threat that humanity faces,” said Governor Brown at the signing ceremony. “We are a nation-state in a globalising world and we’re having an impact and you’re here witnessing one of the key milestones in turning around this carbonised world into a decarbonised, sustainable future.”
The Governor signed the legislation on Treasure Island, the same location where Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 32 (the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006), which authorised the state’s cap-and-trade programme more than a decade ago.
“Thanks to bipartisan support California was able to extend its historic cap and trade programme which protects our environment and preserves our nation-leading economic growth. Governor Brown and legislative leaders from both parties came together to ensure that California continues to march toward a clean, prosperous future.
“I want to especially thank Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes and his Republican colleagues for following in the footsteps of great Republicans like Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, who both recognised the importance of fighting for clean air and water and natural spaces. I hope politicians around the country can learn from the example set in Sacramento last week. Republicans and Democrats were able to come together to pass legislation that helps clean up our environment for our children while at the same time supporting a booming economy,” said former Governor Schwarzenegger.
AB 398 strengthens and extends the state’s cap-and-trade programme, which would have expired without legislative action. The programme, along with other state carbon reduction measures, ensures California will meet its SB 32 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
“As the Trump Administration seeks to undermine our nation’s climate leadership – the world is looking to California. We are proving that growing an economy and protecting the environment is not an either-or proposition; we can and will continue to do both. Today’s extension of our landmark cap-and-trade programme, coupled with our effective clean energy policies, will move us forward into the future and we plan to take the rest of the world with us,” said Senate President pro Tempore, Kevin de León.
“There’s an old expression, ‘think globally, act locally.’ The cap-and-trade and air quality bills the Governor is signing into law this week do both. With these bills we are continuing California’s global leadership on climate change and, at the same time, bringing direct air quality improvements to local communities that have been most harmed by pollution. California is once again showing you can succeed by being visionary and practical at the same time,” said Assembly Speaker, Anthony Rendon.
“I applaud the great vision of Governor Brown, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin De León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. The passage of AB 398 will accelerate California to the next critical step in our global climate leadership. We are celebrating a historic bipartisan effort that will allow us to achieve our ambitious climate goals, retain industry jobs to sustain our ever growing, clean green economy, all while addressing vital public health and air quality issues. This new statewide mechanism will ensure equitable climate investments in the communities most impacted by pollution,” said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia.
AB 398 passed in both the California State Senate and Assembly last week with support from Democratic and Republican lawmakers and more than 150 environmental; climate; public health; clean energy and technology; agriculture; food processing; business; labor; local government; community; and utility leaders; researchers and economists; and newspaper editorial boards from across California.
This legislation extends the programme by 10 years until 2030 in the most cost-effective way possible, and makes the following improvements based on years of operation, analysis and input:
- Ensures that carbon pollution will decrease as the program’s emissions cap declines.
- Cuts the use of out-of-state carbon offsets and brings those environmental benefits back to California.
- Designates the California Air Resources Board as the statewide regulatory body responsible for ensuring that California meets its statewide carbon pollution reduction targets, while retaining local air districts’ responsibility and authority to curb toxic air contaminants and criteria pollutants from local sources that severely impact public health.
- Decreases free carbon allowances over 40 percent by 2030.
- Prioritises cap-and-trade spending to ensure funds go where they are needed most, including reducing diesel emissions in the most impacted communities.
Extending California’s cap-and-trade programme ensures that billions of dollars in auction proceeds continue flowing to communities across California. To date, these investments have preserved and restored tens of thousands of acres of open space, helped plant thousands of new trees, funded 30,000 energy efficiency improvements in homes, expanded affordable housing, boosted public transit, helped more than 100,000 Californians purchase zero-emission vehicles and supported many other programmes.
AB 617 by Assemblymembers Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) and Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) – part of the legislative package announced with AB 398 – will be signed separately later this week and will establish a groundbreaking program to measure and combat air pollution at the neighborhood level – in the communities most impacted.