California: GW Initiative

Not being real policy wonkish myself I wasn’t sure it was time to blow the party horns over the California initiative on Global Warming. Schwarzenegger got it hammered out on his backside by the Dems in the Calif Senate and Assembly. He’ll sign it. His winning the governorship because of his percieved greenness may be just one of the small sacrifices we have to make to get this survival show on the road.


From Union of Concerned Scientists

After years of hard work, AB 32—the bill to cap California’s global warming emissions at 1990 levels by 2020—has been passed by the state legislature, and Governor Schwarzenegger has committed to sign the bill into law!

Thank you to everyone who helped pass the most comprehensive global warming policy in the country! From the scientists who explored how global warming could impact California, to the grassroots activists who convinced their legislators to vote for the bill, to business leaders and economists who educated policy makers about the economic benefits of reducing global warming emissions—it took a massive effort, but we did it!

With continued lack of climate action at the federal level, this new law marks a national turning point in the fight against global warming and shows the world that Americans recognize our responsibility to reduce global warming emissions and are finding ways to fight global warming at local and regional levels. We encourage you take time to celebrate this historic moment!

AB 32 sets in place the nation’s most comprehensive, economy-wide global warming emissions reduction program. The new law requires the state’s global warming emissions to be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020. This reduction will be accomplished through an enforceable statewide cap on all of the state’s global warming emissions that will be phased in starting in 2012. The bill does include language on an “escape hatch” that reflects a compromise between the legislature and the governor. The language could be more tightly worded to use the escape hatch only in extreme conditions, but political accountability will make it hard for future governors to abuse the provision. We hope to narrow, if not close, this loophole through the regulatory implementation process.

We invite you to join us in preparing for the regulatory process that will create a detailed plan for exactly how the emissions reductions will be made. Stay tuned for future alerts on the issue. UCS intends to invest considerable time and resources in working with scientists, economists, state agency staff and officials, community members, and other key stakeholders to make sure that the implementation plans developed by the state most effectively achieve the needed reductions.

See a fact sheet on the bill, as passed, here (PDF).

Thanks for all your help,

Erin Rogers
California Outreach Coordinator

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