Gino DiCaro

Climate change bills move along

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, June 9, 2006 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

The Legislature continues its headlong march toward enacting major legislation this session on climate change, come what may.

This year, a number of measures have been introduced dealing with global warming and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction. Most of the bills would be difficult and costly to implement, and would harm California’s economy and cost jobs. And yet the bills move along in the legislative process, propelled more than anything else by the clamor to pass major legislation this year – to do something – on climate change.

AB 32 (Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles), which codifies the GHG reduction targets from Governor Schwarzenegger’s 2005 executive order, caps GHG emissions and requires the California Air Resources Board to institute a mandatory GHG emission reporting and tracking system, awaits a hearing in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. (Last year, the Governor issued an executive order that establishes GHG reduction targets for the state, as follows: reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 2000 levels by 2010; 1990 levels by 2020; and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.)

SB 1368 (Don Perata, D-Oakland), to prevent utilities from entering into long term contracts for out-of-state coal plants, recently passed the Senate and is now in the Assembly. The approach proposed in SB 1368 would limit the ability of utilities to make long-term purchases, discriminate against low-cost coal resources, increase costs to businesses and retail-end customers and threaten the reliability of the state’s electric grid, particularly during peak hours.

For CMTA and the other members of the "Sustainable Environment and Economy for California Coalition" (SEE California), our top priority is to ensure that efforts to reduce GHG emissions in California are accomplished in a manner that will not jeopardize our state's economy, jobs and energy supply.

While the focus this year is mostly defensive, CMTA supports a few bills that could help business reduce GHG emissions without hurting the economy. One such bill is AB 1925 (Sam Blakeslee, R- San Luis Obispo) which requires the California Energy Commission to report to the legislature on how the state can provide incentives for cost-effective strategies to reduce or sequester carbon dioxide that is created by the generation of electricity. AB 1925, which recently passed the Assembly and is now in the Senate, is an important step in expanding the use of known processes such as carbon sequestration, as well as encouraging the development of new technologies and processes to capture and contain carbon. The ultimate result will be a reduction in GHG emissions, without risking the state’s energy supply or sources, or harming the economy.

*Read CMTA president's opinion piece submitted to LA Times this week on greenhouse gas cap.
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