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November 2006

Ground-breaking bill to reduce emissions signed

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 32 by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles), California’s landmark bill that establishes a first-in-the-world comprehensive program of regulatory and market mechanisms to achieve cost-effective reductions of greenhouse gases.

“When I campaigned for governor three years ago, I said I wanted to make California No. 1 in the fight against global warming. This is something we owe our children and our grandchildren,” said Gov. Schwarzenegger at signing ceremonies in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

AB 32 requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to develop regulations and market mechanisms that will ultimately reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. Mandatory caps will begin in 2012 for significant sources and ratchet down to meet the 2020 goals.

In the interim, CARB will begin to measure the greenhouse gas emissions of the industries it determines as significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The bill also provides the Governor the ability to invoke a safety valve and suspend the emissions caps for up to one year in the case of an emergency or significant economic harm.

Specifically, AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, requires CARB to:

  • Establish a statewide greenhouse gas emissions cap for 2020, based on 1990 emissions by January 1, 2008.
  • Adopt mandatory reporting rules for significant sources of greenhouse gases by January 1, 2009.
  • Adopt a plan by January 1, 2009 indicating how emission reductions will be achieved from significant greenhouse gas sources via regulations, market mechanisms and other actions.
  • Adopt regulations by January 1, 2011 to achieve the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gas, including provisions for using both market mechanisms and alternative compliance mechanisms.
  • Convene an Environmental Justice Advisory Committee and an Economic and Technology Advancement Advisory Committee to advise CARB.
  • Ensure public notice and opportunity for comment for all CARB actions.

Prior to imposing any mandates or authorizing market mechanisms, CARB must evaluate several factors, including but not limited to impacts on California’s economy, the environment and public health; equity between regulated entities; electricity reliability, conformance with other environmental laws and ensure that the rules do not disproportionately impact low-income communities.

Because of California’s massive and growing economy, the state is the 12th largest emitter of carbon in the world despite leading the nation in energy efficiency standards and lead role in protecting its environment.


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