Most Important Climate Bill in 20 Years Awaits Gov. Davis' Signature

July 1, 2002
(1 July, 2002 — Oakland, CA) Environmental Defense hailed today’s passage of the California Climate Bill (AB 1493) in the State Assembly, calling it the most important climate bill passed anywhere in the U.S. in the past two decades. As the bill moves to the Governor’s desk, California now has an unprecedented opportunity to enact serious legislation on climate change. Environmental Defense, a leading member of a broad coalition of environmental, religious and consumer groups that have pushed for AB 1493’s passage, strongly encourages Gov. Davis to sign it into law.

“Assembly Speaker Wesson, Senator Burton and many of their fellow legislators showed tremendous leadership in moving this bill through the Assembly in the face of a relentless campaign of misinformation and scare tactics from its opponents,” said Environmental Defense California regional director Tom Graff. “We now hope Governor Davis will exercise the same leadership and sign this groundbreaking bill into law. The future of our water supply, our snowpack and our overall climate in California depend on it.”

Because the federal Clean Air Act gives California the unique ability to set its own standards on auto emissions - standards that can then be followed by the rest of the nation - California has the opportunity to ensure that other states will have the choice to break from the federal government’s policy of inaction on climate change issues.

“In the wake of the ratification of the Kyoto protocol on climate change by the European Union and Japan, we think California is sending a powerful message to the global environmental community - Americans care about climate change and are willing to take meaningful steps to address it,” said Fred Krupp, executive director of Environmental Defense.

The newly amended bill forges a consensus on climate change by addressing the concerns of all stakeholders in California from vehicle manufacturers to consumers. AB 1493 will empower the California Air Resources Board to set standards for California’s passenger vehicles to achieve the maximum feasible and cost-effective reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by January 1, 2005. The new regulations would go into effect for the 2009 model year. The act will expand consumer choice by assuring that less polluting SUVs and other models of cars and trucks will be available for purchase, while specifying that no taxes can be imposed on any specific vehicle choice. AB 1493 sets a practical standard for emissions that can be achieved using technology that is available today.