Yesterday the California Supreme Court denied a petition for review of the cap-and-trade lawsuits brought by a coalition of business interests, headed by the California Chamber of Commerce and Morning Star Packing Company. The Court of Appeal decision issued in April 2017, which upheld the legality of California’s cap-and-trade auctions in the related cases California
Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 32 into law, extending and expanding California’s 10-year old greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions mandate under Assembly Bill (AB) 32. SB 32 provides for a 40% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2030. This builds on AB 32’s existing mandate to reduce statewide emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In negotiations to pass SB 32 in the final weeks of the state legislative session, the bill was trimmed to add only one sentence to existing statute, to insert the 2030 target. Left unaddressed was one question of the moment, can the cap and trade program authorized by AB 32 legally continue past 2020? The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has its own answer to the question, the subject of this earlier post. The courts will no doubt end up as the final arbiter. Whether post-2020 GHG emissions reductions are met through a cap and trade program or other screws and hammers in ARB’s toolbox, the 2030 target is now written into law, rather than just Executive Order B-30-15.
The vital component of the compromise to pass SB 32 was companion bill AB 197. AB 197 establishes legislative oversight of ARB’s actions to implement AB 32 and SB 32, by creating a Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies and adding two ex officio nonvoting members to the Board. AB 197 also puts a new twist on ARB’s broad authority to adopt rules and regulations to achieve emissions reductions. AB 32 requires ARB to achieve maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective emissions reductions from sources or categories of sources. AB 197 further requires ARB to prioritize direct emissions reductions, including from large stationary sources and mobile sources, when adopting rules and regulations to achieve reductions.
In addition to headliner SB 32, the Legislature passed one additional bill with direct emissions reduction mandates, SB 1383.…
Late Tuesday, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) released draft amendments to California’s cap and trade regulation, including revisions to the current program in place through 2020, an extension of the program through 2030, and setting the stage for continued emissions reductions under the program through 2050. ARB’s proposed amendments come in the middle of a recent milieu of uncertainty: pending litigation challenging the legality of the existing program, an opinion from the state Office of Legislative Counsel that ARB lacks authority under AB 32 to continue cap and trade past 2020, unprecedented weak demand at the most recent allowance auction, and legislation proposed in the California Senate to establish a statutory emissions reductions mandate for 2030 still in process this session. With all of these balls in the air, ARB has doubled down and drafted regulations dropping the program’s emissions cap from 334.2 million metric tons (MMT) of CO2e in 2020 to 200.5 MMT in 2030, with major elements of the cap and trade regulation continuing in effect past 2020 to achieve the emissions reductions. …
Continue Reading What You Need to Know about the Proposed Revisions to California’s Cap and Trade Program
Last Friday, September 11, 2015 was the final day for California legislators to pass bills out of the Legislature and on to Governor Jerry Brown for consideration. This year’s crop of bills included something for both sides of the aisle on energy and climate change issues: from the proposed repeal of AB 32, the California law mandating greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions, to bills to set a higher GHG reduction target for 2050 and cut petroleum use in half, and from a proposed leap in the state renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 50% and incentives for geothermal, biomethane, and alternative fuels, to the repeal of solar water heating loan incentives. Some big ticket items passed, most failed to pass out of the Legislature before the deadline and can be considered in 2016 during for the second half of the two-year California legislative session. Time for the post-mortem.
Continue Reading California Legislative Session Wrap-up
This morning, California Governor Jerry Brown announced Executive Order B-30-15, setting a target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the state to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. The 2030 target acts as an interim goal on the way to achieving reductions of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, a goal set by former Governor Schwarzenegger in 2005 with Executive Order S-3-05. In starting his fourth term in 2015, Governor Brown has not been shy in laying out ambitious carbon reduction goals. In his inaugural address, the Governor called for increasing the state renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 50%, reducing petroleum use in cars and trucks in California by 50%, and doubling building energy efficiency, all by 2030.
State legislators have also introduced bills this session to increase the RPS to 50% and amend AB 32 to reach 80% below 1990 GHG levels by 2050. AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, established the current statutory target of reducing GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The fate of the legislative proposals will be decided later this year, but in the meantime, Governor Brown has directed state agencies to implement measures to achieve the 2030 and 2050 goals under existing statutory authority. The Executive Order also specifically directed the California Air Resources Board to update its Climate Change Scoping Plan to incorporate the 2030 target.
Continue Reading Governor Brown Announces New 2030 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target for California
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 here. SB 350…
The U.S. Supreme Court has delivered a stunner with its decision this morning in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency. The Supreme Court has curtailed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation of stationary source greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under two Clean Air Act permitting programs – New Source Review Prevention of Significant …
My colleague, Daniel Lee, followed oral argument yesterday in the U.S. Supreme Court’s consideration of federal greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, and provides this analysis:
This week the California Air Resources Board (ARB) released a draft of its AB 32 Climate Change Scoping Plan Update. The original Scoping Plan was adopted in 2008 and must be updated every five years. The Scoping Plan serves as a blueprint for achieving AB 32’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
The draft Update summarizes programs implemented over the last five years under AB 32 and outlines actions necessary to continue California’s progress toward the 2020 emissions reduction goal. The draft Update shows that California is on track to meet the 2020 emissions reduction goal and inventories the progress made across different economic sectors and programs like cap and trade. With the Update, ARB continues its strategy of achieving AB 32 goals through a mix of emissions reduction measures, including regulatory programs, incentives, and market-based approaches.…
Today President Obama released his Climate Action Plan and highlighted the key components of the Plan at a speech at Georgetown University. The Plan has three primary goals: (i) cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S., (ii) preparing the United States for the effects of climate change, and (iii) leading international efforts to mitigate climate change. During his speech, President Obama listed three measures to address the first two goals: use more clean energy, waste less energy, and cut carbon emissions. The Plan includes some important new directives from the President, it incorporates some initiatives that are already underway and outlines some of the Administration’s intentions, without providing hard timelines or goals.
The Climate Action Plan is limited to initiatives that the President can implement without Congressional approval. Nevertheless, it has the potential to significantly affect a broad range of energy sector interests. A summary of the Plan’s key components follows.
Using more clean energy:
- The Interior Department is directed to support deployment of 10,000 MW of renewable energy on public lands by 2020.
- The Department of Defense (DoD) is directed to build 3,000 MW of renewable energy at military installations by 2025.
- Federal agencies will aim to install 100 MW of rooftop solar on federally-subsidized housing by 2020.
- The federal government commits to obtain 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
- The Red Rock Hydroelectric Plant, on the Des Moines River in Iowa, will be placed on the federal Infrastructure "Permitting Dashboard" for high-priority projects.
- Federal agencies will streamline the siting, permitting, and review process for transmission projects.
- The U.S. will seek a global agreement in the World Trade Organization modeled after the 2011 agreement among 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economies to reduce tariffs to 5% or less by 2015 on 54 environmental goods, including solar panels and wind turbines.
- The FY2014 budget will include $7.9 billion for clean energy research and development.
- The Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America program will provide renewable energy and energy efficiency grants and loan guarantees directly to agricultural producers and rural small business.
- Natural gas will continue to be relied upon as a “transition fuel” while America works to develop an “even cleaner” energy economy.