Yesterday, California legislators publicly announced a suite of bills to push forward the state’s ambitious clean energy and carbon reduction goals.  California Climate Leadership, a coalition of state senators, including Kevin De León, Ben Hueso, Mark Leno, Fran Pavley, and Bob Wieckowski, discussed the legislation at a press conference shown hereSB 350, SB 185, SB 189, and SB 32 form the core of California Climate Leadership’s legislative initiative.

SB 350, not yet formally introduced in the Senate, proposes the “Golden State Standards”:  a 50% renewable portfolio standard, a 50% reduction in petroleum use and a 50% increase in energy efficiency in buildings – all by 2030.  These standards parallel Governor Jerry Brown’s call in his inaugural address for a 50% RPS, 50% reduction in petroleum use, and doubling of energy efficiency of existing buildings by 2030.  See our report on the inaugural address here.  SB 350 will be the second bill this year that provides a 50% RPS; AB 197, summarized by Renewable + Law here, was introduced on January 28 by Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia.

SB 185 would create the Public Divestiture of Thermal Coal Companies Act.  The Act would require the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPRS) and the State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) to divest public employee retirement funds of any investments in thermal coal companies and prohibit new investments in such companies.  Senator De León previewed his plans for SB 185 in early December, spurring a backlash from CalPERS and CalSTRS. 

SB 189, introduced by Senator Ben Hueso, would create the Clean Energy and Low-Carbon Economic and Jobs Growth Blue Ribbon Committee.  The Committee would be comprised of seven members, with the mission of advising state agencies on the most effective ways to allocate clean energy and greenhouse gas related funds and implement policies in order to maximize California’s economic and employment benefits.

These three bills join SB 32, introduced by Senator Fran Pavley on December 1, 2014, to amend AB 32 (the California Global Warming Solutions Act) to bring California’s greenhouse gas reduction goal from reaching 1990 greenhouse gas levels by 2020, to a target of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Stay tuned – we don’t expect these bills to be the last legislative initiatives this session to address these issues.