California lawmakers advance aggressive climate change plans

Jun 3, 2015, 4:24 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers on Wednesday pushed through an ambitious climate change package to further reduce the state’s carbon footprint and boost the use of renewable energy to 50 percent in 15 years.

The state Senate passed proposals to enact Gov. Jerry Brown’s call to curb greenhouse gas emissions by setting what the administration calls the most aggressive benchmark in North America over the objection of Republicans who characterized such regulation as coastal elitism that would kill working-class jobs.

California aims to boost statewide renewable electricity use to 50 percent, have drivers use half as much gasoline and make buildings twice as efficient under the proposal by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles. His bill, SB350, advanced to the Assembly on a 24-14 vote.

“California has demonstrated our global climate leadership over the last decade,” de Leon said, adding, “These policies will further cement our leadership, further strengthen our economy while protect the health of our communities.”

Senate Democrats also approved an overarching proposal to further reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

The goal is a mile marker on the way to cutting emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 that was set by Brown’s predecessor, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

SB32 by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, passed the Senate on a 22-15 vote.

“It is a big number — science-based number, however,” Pavley said, “what we have to do without reaching the tipping point regarding global climate change.”

California, which already has an aggressive plan to combat global warming, currently is on track to meet a goal of cutting carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, partly by forcing companies to pay for their pollution.

The state’s cap-and-trade program, launched nearly three years ago, offers one of the few real-world laboratories on how to reduce heat-trapping emissions. It expanded this year to fine companies that produce gasoline and other fuels, prompting predictions that consumers will see a spike in prices to cover the costs.

Pavley’s bill incorporates an executive order Brown issued in April to further emissions reductions — the equivalent of taking 36 million cars off the road, more than all the vehicles registered in California last year.

While the executive order lacked details, state officials have said it would require accelerated development of renewable energy and alternative fuel sources, and getting more electric cars and zero-emission heavy-duty trucks on the road.

GOP members said the package would mean the government will pick economic winners and losers, raise utility and gasoline prices, and drive out good-paying jobs just so California can feel good about leading an environmental fight.

They also said there is inadequate oversight of the rule-setting process.

“This is really a stab in the dark, and it’s unknown,” said Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar. “Every new technology that has driven California has been when government got out of the way.”

Democrats argued that it’s not a choice between jobs and the environment. Rather, they say fostering clean-energy jobs will mean more people will drive electric vehicles and have solar panels on their homes.

Pavley, who authored the state’s 2006 global warming law, said more than $30 billion in venture capital has flowed into California as a result of establishing a marketplace for the private sector to compete.

The California Assembly also moved Wednesday on two climate change bills that are narrower in scope.

One bill, AB1288, would allow the state Air Resources Board to continue conducting market-based regulations beyond its 2020 authority, while the other, AB645, called for the state to require at least half of all energy come from wind, solar and other renewable sources by 2050.

___

Associated Press writer Julia Horowitz contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

United States News

(Arizona Department of Transportation photo)...
Associated Press

Should federal grants be in favor of highway repair over expansion?

Advocates for highway construction are concerned their projects are getting shortchanged in the competition for grant money under the new infrastructure law.
1 day ago
Demonstrators block traffic protesting the death of Tyre Nichols on January 27, 2023 in Memphis, Te...
Associated Press

Memphis police chief disbands unit responsible in beating of Tyre Nichols

The unit is composed of three teams of about 30 officers and had been inactive since Tyre Nichols' Jan. 7 arrest.
2 days ago
The image from video released on Jan. 27, 2023, by the City of Memphis, shows Tyre Nichols on the g...
Associated Press

Memphis authorities release video in Tyre Nichols’ death

Video showing Memphis officers beating a Black man was made public Friday after they were charged with murder in the death of Tyre Nichols.
3 days ago
Demonstrators stage a rally in front of the White House to celebrate President Joe Biden's plan to ...
Kevin Stone

Lawsuits keeping over 300,000 Arizonans from getting student loan relief

Lawsuits are preventing more than 300,000 Arizonans from having some or all of their student debt dismissed, the Biden administration said Friday.
3 days ago
FILE -  A Goodyear tire sits on display at a tire shop on Feb. 12, 2014, in South Euclid, Ohio. A f...
Associated Press

Arizona lawyer subpoenaed in criminal investigation of Goodyear tires

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles is gathering evidence in a criminal investigation of Goodyear recreational vehicle tires.
4 days ago
Following days of rain, floodwaters cover streets in the Planada community of Merced County, Calif....
Associated Press

Atmospheric rivers in California boost water allocation for cities

Public water agencies in California will be getting more water from the state because of recent heavy rain.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
California lawmakers advance aggressive climate change plans