Assembly bill proposes new GHG emissions cap for buildings with stealth electrification mandate

By Michael Shaw

Capitol Update, April 13, 2018 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

AB 3232 by Assemblymember Laura Friedman establishes yet another greenhouse gas (GHG) emission limit and mandate to reduce emissions on top of existing limits already imposed on the California economy. The underlying goal of the bill is to reduce the use of natural gas as an affordable, accessible energy source in the state.

By imposing a new GHG emission limit that forces a move away from affordable natural gas as an energy source, AB 3232 will result in higher natural gas prices for manufacturers that use natural gas and may not have an electric alternative technology. The resulting reduction in the number of ratepayers will mean that those left behind are forced to pay more for maintaining the system as those costs will not decrease in a commensurate manner. Fewer customers to share the cost equals a bigger share for everyone else.

Additionally, this bill is not necessary as GHG emissions from energy sources, including natural gas and electricity, are already covered under California’s cap-and-trade program and existing law requires energy efficiency improvements that significantly reduce electricity needs of the current building stock. Combined these existing laws put California on track to reach the goals of AB 3232.

Unfortunately, AB 3232 could have significant economic impacts for California as higher energy prices force manufacturers to increase investments and create jobs outside of California. With average prices for electricity and natural gas prices that are already around 100 percent higher than the national average, the Legislature should not impose new laws that increase energy costs and reduce energy options.

A CMTA-led coalition opposes AB 3232 that will next be heard in the Assembly Utilities  and Energy Committee on April 25th. See our letter here.

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