Schwarzenegger Signs Historic Global Warming Legislation, Electricity Emissions Standard Bill, Renewable Energy Bill

As September 2006 drew to a close Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed three pieces of legislation that will reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions. Governor Schwarzenegger signed the most comprehensive of the new laws, the landmark Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) at an official ceremony on September 27. The law caps the state’s greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by 2020. This emissions target is approximately equal to a 25% reduction from current levels and is the first statewide program in the country to mandate an economy-wide emissions cap that includes enforceable penalties. The bill requires the State Air Resources Board to establish a program for statewide greenhouse gas emissions reporting and to monitor and enforce compliance with this program. It also authorizes the state board to adopt market-based compliance mechanisms including emissions cap-and-trade, and allows a one-year extension of the targets under extraordinary circumstances.

Two days later, on September 29, Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 1368, authored by State Senator Don Perata. The new law directs the California Energy Commission to set a greenhouse gas performance standard for electricity procured by local publicly owned utilities, whether it is generated within state borders or imported from plants in other states, and will apply to all new long-term electricity contracts. The standard – to be adopted by June 30, 2007 – will discourage the purchasing of electricity produced from high-emissions sources, whether instate or out-of-state. It will push utilities to rely more on clean sources, including coal with carbon capture and sequestration, and renewables. This will help California to achieve its new economy-wide emissions targets.

Earlier in the same week, on September 26 Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 107, which requires California’s three major utilities – Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric – to produce at least 20 percent of their electricity using renewable sources by 2010.

Press Release
AB 32
SB 1368 (pdf)
SB 107 (pdf)
List of Emissions Reduction Targets Worldwide
Map of States with GHG Emissions Targets