- E&E Publishing reports California legislators have proposed an ambitious package of bills to extend greenhouse targets, expand cleaner power, and cut fossil fuel use, all while boosting employment in the state.
- The proposals call for California to get 50% of its energy from renewables by 2030 and cut its greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. They would also require existing commercial buildings to double their efficiency and direct state employee pension funds to divest from any coal holdings.
- One bill would create a committee to advise state agencies on the most effective way to implement clean energy policies while creating more employment opportunities.
The package of bills proposed this week in the California legislature may be one of the most ambitious legislative actions on climate change in the nation's history. Among other requirements, the bills would extend greenhouse gas targets out to 2050 and slash petroleum use in half.
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D) pitched the energy platform as a way to boost jobs, and California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) issued a statement supporting the bills.
"The Pro Tem and I share a strong commitment to dealing with climate change in an aggressive and imaginative way," Brown said. "I look forward to working with the legislature to hammer out the details."
Senator Ben Hueso (D) introduced a bill that calls for the creation of the Committee on Maximizing Jobs and Economic Development, which would advise state agencies on how to implement clean energy goals while also boosting employment.
“Senate Bill 189 will tap into California’s leading innovators to assist in creating jobs through environmental stewardship,” Hueso said. “We will develop a model that will benefit Californians and future generations.”
SB 189 would call upon experts in economics, finances, and policy aspects of clean energy and economic growth to provide feedback on environmental policy. State departments and policy makers could then evaluate climate policies, their impact on economic development, and how to maximize economic growth.
Republicans and fossil fuel interests have indicated their strong opposition to the bills, but given a strong Democratic majority and a supportive governor, passage of at least some of the legislation looks likely.