Friday, September 01, 2006

California to Enact Cap on Greenhouse Gas Emissions - 25% Reduction by 2020

[From Green Car Congress:]

California legislative leaders and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger reached agreement on a compromise version of an assembly bill (AB 32—the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006) that is intended to bring statewide emissions of greenhouse gases back down to 1990 levels by 2020—an estimated cut of 25%.

The California Senate approved the measure on Wednesday; it now is in the Assembly, where final approval is expected.

[Terminating Global Warming? The Governator takes the lead on climate change solutions]

The bill, which would make California the first state in the country to legislate a cap on greenhouse gas emissions, requires the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to:

  • Adopt a statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit equivalent to the statewide greenhouse gas emissions levels in 1990 to be achieved by 2020.

  • Adopt regulations on or before 1 January 2008 to require the reporting and verification of statewide greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Adopt a schedule of fees to be paid by the sources of greenhouse gas emissions to cover the actual cost of the monitoring and reporting program regulations.

  • Adopt rules and regulations in an open public process to achieve the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective greenhouse gas emission reductions.

  • Adopt market-based compliance mechanisms meeting specified requirements. The bill would require the state board to monitor compliance with and enforce any rule, regulation, order, emission limitation, emissions reduction measure, or market-based compliance mechanism adopted by the state board, pursuant to specified provisions of existing law.

  • Adopt a schedule of fees to be paid by regulated sources of greenhouse gas emissions, as specified. Because the bill would require the state board to establish emissions limits and other requirements, the violation of which would be a crime, this bill would create a state-mandated local program.

  • The greenhouse gases covered by AB 32 are: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexaflouride. The bill does not address vehicles as a source. California had already passed a bill limiting the emissions of greenhouse gases from new vehicles - a bill currently under challenge by the auto industry in Federal court [see previous post].

    The basic implementation timeline is as follows:

  • On or before 30 June 2007, ARB will publish a list of discrete early action greenhouse gas emission reduction measures that can be implemented prior to the measures of AB 32.

  • On or before 1 January 2008, ARB will require the reporting and verification of statewide greenhouse gas emissions.

  • On or before 1 January 2009, ARB shall prepare and approve a scoping plan for achieving the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

  • On or before 1 January 2010, ARB shall adopt the greenhouse gas regulations and measures.

  • On or before 1 January 2011, ARB shall adopt greenhouse gas emission limits and emission reduction measures by regulation to achieve the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

  • On 1 January 2012, the statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit goes into effect.


  • Governor Schwarzeneggar had this to say:
    "The state is the 12th largest carbon emitter in the world despite leading the nation in energy efficiency standards and its lead role in protecting its environment. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is an issue we must show leadership on.
    Last month, Governor Schwarzenegger signed a climate change pact with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.

    Resources:

  • AB 32: California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006


  • Once again, California and the Northeast are pushing things forward on climate change solutions in the absence of any meaningful action at the federal level.

    With the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative on the right coast and the California carbon cap on the left coast, greenhouse gas emissions caps will fall on a good chunk of the United States' economic activity. These state/regional initiatives will also go a long way towards driving action at a national level by building political momentum for federal action. Additionally, industries doing business in states with carbon caps will likely push for a nationwide cap in order to level the playing field, and ease the regulatory mess of dealing with multiple state or regional caps. Industrial leaders are already expecting a cap in the near future, and the sooner they know what they are dealing with, the sooner the uncertainty and risk posed by an impending but unknown carbon cap can be mitigated.

    Bravo to California for moving forward. Let's hope this galvanizes action throughout the nation.

    1 comment:

    Heiko said...

    "On or before 1 January 2009, ARB shall prepare and approve a scoping plan for achieving the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gas emissions."

    Sounds good to me. As far as I understand it the target is entirely aspirational and they'll take a few years to work out how much of it can be achieved cost effectively.