Brown signs bills extending California GHG reduction targets

By Erin Voegele | September 08, 2016

On Sept. 8, California Gov. Edmond Brown signed legislation strengthening the state’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The bills, SB 32 and AB 197, require the state to cut emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and invest in communities hardest hit by climate change.

"Climate change is real, and knowing that, California is taking action," Brown said. "SB 32 and AB 197 are far-reaching moves that continue California on its path of vast innovation and environmental resilience."

The law established by SB 32 builds on GHG reduction goals set by the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, or AB 32, which aimed to reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. According to the governor’s office, the new 2030 requirement contained in SB 32 will help make it possible to reach the ultimate goal of reducing emission 80 percent under 1990 levels by 2050.

AB 197 establishes a legislative committee on climate change policies to help continue to ensure the state’s actions to reduce GHG emissions are conducted with transparency and accountability.

The Low Carbon Fuel Standard and cap and trade program are two programs expanded through the news laws. "The LCFS is here to stay and renewable natural gas will continue to be one of its major success stories," said Johannes Escudero, executive director of the RNG Coalition. "We commend Governor Brown, Senator Pavley, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, and the California Legislature for their leadership to assure clean air, green jobs, and low carbon fuel options throughout California for decades to come." 

According to the RNG Coalition, reports earlier this summer indicated the LCFS was at risk for reform or elimination. The coalition said it responded to those concerns by working with other clean fuel groups and environmental advocates to defend the LCFS and extend California’s climate programs.

"We are better organized as an industry than we've ever been—and the results speak for themselves," said Evan Williams, chairman of the RNG Coalition, who attended the bill signing on behalf of the RNG Coalition upon invitation from the governor's office. 

"Above all, the RNG Coalition focused on protecting and promoting RNG in California. We knew that the best things we could do for the industry was restore LCFS market stability and secure that stability long term," said David Cox, operations director for the RNG Coalition. 

"On behalf of the RNG industry, suppliers of ultra-clean RNG transportation fuel, we recognize Gov. Brown and California's lawmakers for their dedication to a healthy and robust market for RNG. Passage of these bills quickly restored stability to LCFS credit prices, and has cemented Gov. Brown's, Senator Pavley's, and Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia's legacies as forward-thinking policy leaders."

The National Biodiesel Board has also spoken out in support of the new laws. “California continues to demonstrate its leadership on climate issues with Governor Brown’s signing of SB 32 today,” said Shelby Neal, director of state governmental affairs at the NBB.  “The bill will ensure that the future of low carbon fuels in California remains bright. Biodiesel and renewable diesel are leading credit generators under the low carbon fuel standard and we expect their presence to continue growing with the expansion of this landmark policy. The Air Resources Board has done a tremendous job implementing the LCFS, and air quality for all Californian’s is better as a result.”

The California Biomass Energy Alliance spoke out in support of AB 32 in late August following passage of the bill by the California legislature. “CBEA applauds the legislature and the governor for their work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Julee Malinowski-Ball, executive director of the CBEA in a statement released in August. “California has always been a leader in protecting the environment and today's actions bolster that position…The biomass industry will continue to be an essential tool in reducing greenhouse by providing clean, green renewable energy.”