COVER STORY

A Partnership for California's Climate Future

GDP soars; GHG emissions drop
  (Next10, http://next10.org/2016-gii)

California has long been a leader in combatting climate change. Ten years ago, when I was in the State Assembly, I was the joint author of AB 32, which committed the state to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.

Now, after 10 years of progress, we are on track to meet our 2020 goals. Along the way, programs implemented by the state to curb emissions have generated over $3 billion in revenue for the state that has been reinvested in our communities. This revenue funds clean transportation, supports sustainable housing projects for low-income residents and veterans, and makes it possible for thousands of Californians to acquire low-emission vehicles.

Our climate policies have also spurred investment and innovation in the private sector. Since 2006, we’ve received over $30 billion in clean energy venture capital, created hundreds of thousands of new jobs in clean technology, and become the undisputed nationwide leader in this field. State programs have sent a clear signal to the market: California is the place to do business in clean energy.

But as 2020 approaches, it is imperative that we look to the future of our climate policy, not just for our economy, but also to safeguard the health and safety of our future generations. My bill, SB 32, extends our work into the future by setting a 2030 greenhouse gas emissions target of 40% below 1990 levels.

I am proud to be partnering with Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia to protect our environment and our constituents. Asm. Garcia’s AB 197, now joined to SB 32, will provide essential legislative oversight of the California Air Resources Board, which is largely responsible for implementation of the state’s climate policies. This month, SB 32 will likely come before the Assembly floor, and AB 197 before the Senate.

The people of California overwhelmingly support SB 32: recent polling done by the PPIC suggests that 68 percent are supportive. Business, health, and environmental justice groups also support the bill. Now the Legislature will decide if it, too, supports long-term measures to fight climate change.