Bill would charge ratepayers for Climate Change Institute

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Aug. 27, 2008 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

A bill recently amended, SB 1762 (Senate President pro Tempore Don Perata, D-Oakland), would increase costs to California ratepayers for the creation of a Climate Change Institute.
This major proposal, which calls for 870 million dollars in ratepayer funds, is being considered in the last few days of the legislative session.  Before we create a climate change institute, the California Air Resources Board should host a comprehensive discussion about the need for an institute, how it should be funded, how the monies should be spent, who should administer the funds and who should oversee institute activities.  However, CARB has not yet completed the scoping plan or this level of analysis. AB 32 grants broad authority to the CARB to determine an appropriate implementation plan for AB 32, including research and technology development strategies.  SB 1762 would jump ahead of CARB and prejudge what they may recommend for technology advancement.
AB 32 sets the greenhouse gas emission reduction goal for the state, an aggressive 30% reduction by 2020.  In the scoping plan CARB recommends major new energy efficiency programs and a 33% renewable portfolio standard, all of which would be paid for by ratepayers. Until we know the scope of those costs, we shouldn’t impose new ones on ratepayers as proposed in SB 1762.
CMTA believes that any ratepayer funds dedicated to climate change should be directed at technologies and strategies to meet the AB 32 emission reduction goal.  SB 1762 goes beyond the CARB plan by using electric and natural gas ratepayer funds to support climate change mitigation technologies and strategies.  Mitigation of climate change effects, arguably water shortages and rising sea levels, would divert ratepayer funds for a purpose unrelated to emission reductions. Imposing this additional burden on ratepayers already paying the highest rates in the nation will hurt consumers and businesses. 
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