Major new cuts eyed for greenhouse gases

The power plant in El Segundo, Calif. (Photo: Don Solomon, via Shutterstock)

Nearly a decade after California’s landmark law curbing greenhouse gases was signed, a key author of AB 32 wants to dramatically boost the crackdown on climate-changing carbon emissions over the next 35 years.

The principal author of that legislation, Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, has introduced a new bill, SB 32, requiring greenhouse gases to be cut to 80 percent below the 1990 levels by 2050. The plan would come under the jurisdiction of the Air Resources Board.

California current law requires the emissions to be cut to 1990 levels by 2020. The law was signed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, in 2006, following years of discussion. The measure passed the Legislature mostly along partisan lines, with Democrats in support and Republicans opposing. The final law carried the name of then-Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, although Pavley was its original author. The final Assembly vote can be seen here, while the Senate vote is here.

The new bill increases the targets set by AB 32 and, like the latter, is all but certain to draw national attention. The new bill remains in its formative stages and is the subject of negotiations in the Capitol.

SB 32 sets 2050 as the final target date and would authorize state air quality regulators to establish interim benchmarks in 2030 and 2040 to make sure the reductions are actually taking place.

The new bill by Pavley, who served in the Assembly at the time the original legislation was signed, also requires the state to adopt policies that further the goals of cutting greenhouse gases.

Gov. Brown has not taken a position on the bill, although he has publicly stated that curbing greenhouse gases is a priority for his administration. The series of environmental legislation, including proposals from the Senate leadership to reduce dependency on oil, expand the use of power from renewable energy and improve insulation in buildings.

“While we generally do not comment on pending legislation, we continue to support strong, sustained action on climate change,” Brown spokesman Evan Westrup wrote in an email.

Ed’s Note: Adds word “mostly” in 3rd graf to make it clear that vote on AB 32 was mostly along partisan lines, but not completely partisan.


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