California legislature to reconsider GHG bill

Published 06:14 on September 10, 2015  /  Last updated at 20:07 on September 11, 2015  /  Americas, US  /  No Comments

A California bill to reduce state greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 is being reconsidered by lawmakers and will be heard again ahead of Friday’s voting deadline, after it was rejected by the state’s Assembly earlier this week.

(Updated with details of removal of oil amendment from SB 350)

A California bill to reduce state greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 is being reconsidered by lawmakers and will be heard again ahead of Friday’s voting deadline, after it was rejected by the state’s Assembly earlier this week.

“Rather than rush ahead before members could review amendments, SB 32 will be reconsidered later this week,” tweeted Democratic state Senator Fran Pavley, a sponsor of the bill, earlier this week.

Among those amendments is a provision providing the legislature the power to alter or reject any emission reduction plans drafted by California’s Air Resources Board (ARB).

It was included to placate lawmakers concerned that the bill would give the agency unchecked power in drawing up proposals that could have widespread impact on the state’s economy.

The state Assembly rejected SB 32 on a vote of 30 to 35, with 15 members abstaining – mostly Democrats.

SB 32 aims to extend the CO2 limits set under the state’s 2006 AB 32 bill.

OIL INDUSTRY WIN

A related bill – SB 350 – is also moving through the legislature this week and meeting more heavy opposition by industry and some lawmakers.

An amendment in that bill, aimed at reducing California’s petroleum use 50% by 2030, was scrapped late on Wednesday after it became apparent that California Gov. Jerry Brown and senior Democrats did not have the votes needed to pass it.

Proponents of that bill accuse the oil industry of financing a last-minute campaign to derail it, in part by targeting Democrats representing low-income – and heavily Latino – districts. Those lawmakers said they are concerned that the costs of reducing petroleum use will fall heavily on their constituents.

“We’ve seen the millions of dollars the petroleum industry has used to instil fear in Democratic politicians is working,” Arturo Carmona, executive director of Latino advocacy group Presente, told Vice News.

“Oil has won a skirmish,” Governor Brown said.

SB 350 also calls for 50% of the state’s power supply to come from renewables and for a doubling of energy efficiency in buildings, both by 2030.

The twin bills were conceived to codify executive orders issued by Brown earlier this year. Brown hopes California’s efforts will help spur an international agreement to drastically curb carbon emissions during UN climate talks in Paris later this year.

By Robert Mullin and Mike Szabo – news@carbon-pulse.com

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