California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Tuesday signed into law an extension of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions cap and trade program.
AB 398, authored by Assembly member Eduardo Garcia (D), extends the program for 10 years, to 2030.
- The law establishes the California Air Resources Board as the statewide agency responsible for ensuring that California meets its carbon pollution reduction targets, while retaining local air districts' responsibility and authority to curb toxic air contaminants and criteria pollutants.
California’s GHG cap-and-trade program was in danger of expiring and was under threat from opponents who argued it was a tax, and therefore illegal, because it was passed into law without the required two-thirds majority to approve new taxes.
The law narrowly garnered a super majority in the legislature last week. It passed in the Senate with 28 votes, one more than necessary and with 55 votes in the Assembly, also one more than required.
The cap-and-trade program is part of California’s wider effort to reduce GHG emissions 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. A bill now before the legislature, SB 100, would create a 100% renewable energy target for California by 2045. The bill passed the Senate 25-13 in May, but now faces a tougher battle in the Assembly.
Proceeds from the cap-and-trade program are channeled into programs designed to improve the state’s environment, and to date have been used to preserve and restore tens of thousands of acres of open space, to help plant thousands of trees, and funded 30,000 energy efficiency improvements, the state says.
"You're here witnessing one of the key milestones in turning around this carbonized world into a decarbonized sustainable future," Gov. Brown said at the signing ceremony.