California's Landmark Global Warming Legislation Poised for Passage
August 30, 2006
(Sacramento, August 30, 2006) Assembly Bill 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act, cleared a major milestone today when the Governor issued a statement saying, “Today, I am happy to announce we have reached a historic agreement on legislation to combat global warming.”
The Governor’s statement continues, “We can now move forward with developing a market-based system that makes California a world leader in the effort to reduce carbon emissions. The success of our system will be an example for other states and nation to follow as the fight against climate change continues. AB 32 strengthens our economy, cleans our environment and once again, establishes California as the leader in environmental protections.”
“Today California’s leaders showed that global warming is so important that addressing it rises above personal differences, partisan politics and special interests,” said Tom Graff, California regional director of Environmental Defense. “California is filling a void created by inaction and gridlock in Washington. Its bipartisan elected leaders struck a historic deal that will jump-start America’s fight against global warming. Californians should be proud of Governor Schwarzenegger, Speaker Nùñez, Assemblywoman Pavley and Senate President Pro Tem Perata.”
While AB 32 must still be approved in both houses of the California Legislature and signed by Governor Schwarzenegger, the agreement struck today between the California leaders is a positive indication that the legislation will move forward.
“This is history in the making,” said Ann Notthoff, California advocacy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “The Global Warming Solutions Act is the mostly closely watched environmental bill in the nation for good reason: where California goes, others follow. We’re at a turning point in the fight against global warming.”
AB 32 is expected to pass out of the Legislature by this Thursday, August 31 as the bill has sufficient Assembly cosponsors (42) to assure its passage. Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) are cosponsors of the legislation and have worked along side the Assembly authors, Speaker Fabián Núñez (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblywoman Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), to craft and pass the historic global warming legislation.
“We commend California’s legislators for leading in the fight on global warming, especially Assembly Speaker Fabián Nùñez, Assemblywoman Fran Pavley and Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland),” said Virgil Welch California climate coordinator of Environmental Defense. “This legislation gives Governor Schwarzenegger a clear path to market incentives to reduce global warming pollution while protecting California’s communities and environment.”
AB 32 would limit the state’s global warming emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and institute a mandatory emissions reporting system to monitor compliance. It also would allow for market mechanisms to provide incentives to businesses to reduce emissions while safeguarding local communities.
Momentum and support from clean companies, venture capitalists, faith-based leaders and the public have been strong. The bill’s opponents – representing old, polluting industries – have been sidelined by the steady drumbeat of scientific consensus that global warming is the world’s most pressing environmental problem and that reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollution is a feasible, cost-effective solution.
“The Global Warming Solutions Act paves the way for our state to take the lead in building its clean-tech industry,” said Bob Epstein, co-founder of Environmental Entrepreneurs and a board trustee of NRDC. “Leading economists have found that emissions reductions technologies will save money and provide tens of thousands of jobs, putting California at the forefront of a new energy economy. Venture capitalists and entrepreneurs are waiting for the market signal that now is the time to invest and innovate.”
If passed and signed into law, the bill would protect the state’s economy by making it more efficient and less dependent on fossil fuels. Today, California sends $30 billion out of state every year to buy fossil fuels. Just as important, the emissions limit will stimulate new business opportunities, and provide new “clean-tech” jobs. A new University of California, Berkeley, study released on August 16, found that returning California’s global warming emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, as envisioned by AB 32, can boost the annual Gross State Product (GSP) by $74 billion and create 89,000 new jobs by 2020.
“There are increasingly visible impacts of global warming in California,” said Rafael Aguilera of Environmental Defense. “The threat of more wildfires, heat waves, and damage to our water supply is now well documented. We can’t delay on passage of AB 32. It is the right bill at the right time.”