Ground-breaking bill to reduce emissions
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
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.