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CALIFORNIA GLOBAL WARMING FIGHT GAINS STEAM, SETS NATIONAL PRECEDENT
First of-its-kind bill would set statewide limits on heat-trapping pollution, stimulate new jobs and growth in California's clean energy economy
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (April 3, 2006) -- Signaling strong political support for California action to solve the world's most pressing environmental problem, Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblymember Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) today jointly introduced an historic bill to set concrete new limits on global warming pollution. Assembly Bill 32 -- The Global Warming Solutions Act -- would set the nation's first statewide limit on emissions of the heat-trapping gases that cause global warming, and spur a clean energy boom in the state, supporters say.
"California's legislative leaders get it, and so does the governor," said Karen Douglas, director of the California Climate Initiative at Environmental Defense. "Today's announcement will put teeth into Governor's Schwarzenegger's Executive Order, dramatically curbing California's global warming emissions across all energy sectors and jump-starting a new energy economy."
In addition to limiting pollution, the Global Warming Solutions Act would send a market signal that spurs investments in California's fast-growing clean technology sector, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Environmental Defense. It would require state agencies to coordinate investments and programs to reduce global warming pollution, and to promote economic growth by encouraging the deployment of emissions reduction technologies.
"These new standards build on California's world leadership in clean air and clean energy solutions. We will create a clean technology boom in California that breaks our addiction to fossil fuels and protects our health and economy from the effects of global warming," said Devra Wang, director of NRDC's California energy program. "Innovation will stimulate business investments in advanced energy alternatives and generate new 'clean-tech' jobs."
Reductions in global warming pollution can be achieved at a net benefit to state industry and consumers. The California Climate Change Center at the University of California at Berkeley found that California could achieve almost half of the governor's 2020 targets while increasing Gross State Product by about $60 billion and creating more than 20,000 new jobs. The full report is available here.
"The Global Warming Solutions Act will draw the investment capital, companies and jobs needed to establish California as a leader in the competitive clean technology market," said Bob Epstein, co-founder of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) and a trustee of NRDC.
The California Environmental Protection Agency estimates that worldwide demand for new technologies developed to reduce global warming emissions will create a global market potential of more than $180 billion annually.
Global warming threatens California's economy, environment and way of life. Scientists say rising temperatures will shrink the Sierra snow pack, the largest source of California's drinking and irrigation water, by 30 to 90 percent. In a warmer climate, sea levels are expected to rise and heat waves, smoggy days and wildfires will become more common, while demand for electricity soars during peak summer demand.
"Global warming is not only a scientific problem--but the most important moral issue of our time," said Reverend Sally Bingham, a trustee of Environmental Defense and Episcopal Diocese of California. "It directly affects the survival of future generations."
In June 2005, Gov. Schwarzenegger set ambitious targets for reducing global warming pollution in California by executive order EO S-3-05. "I say, the debate is over," said the governor at an event announcing his plan. "We know the science. We see the threat, and we know the time for action is now."
The governor set targets to reduce global warming emissions to 2000 levels by 2010, to 1990 levels by 2020 and to reduce emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. He directed a high level task force of officials from state agencies to develop recommendations for how to meet his executive order. The Climate Action Team then released a draft set of recommendations in December 2005. A final report is expected this month. See the draft report. The Global Warming Solutions Act would put teeth in the governor's Executive Order by establishing a binding statewide limit on global warming emissions. It also would set reporting requirements for industry to ensure that the 2020 targets are achieved.
The emission reductions needed to meet the limit set by the Global Warming Solutions Act and the governor's goals can be achieved with strategies such as increasing California's renewable energy supply to 33 percent by 2020; creating new energy efficiency performance standards; cleaning up motor vehicle emissions; and using more 'biofuels' made from agricultural products. Other strategies include improving transit alternatives and bolstering water conservation measures in order to reduce the energy needed for water transport and treatment. (California's State Water Project is the state's largest single energy user, consuming an average of 5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year.)
AB 32 is part of a package of bills that will reduce global warming pollution and put California on the path to a new energy economy. Other bills introduced in the Legislature include: Senate Bill 1368 (Perata), which will require any new commitments to electric generation serving California to meet a minimum standard in terms of global warming emission levels; SB 1250 (Perata) to authorize continuing state investments in renewable energy and research and development; AB 2021 (Levine) to ensure that all electric utilities maximize cost-effective energy efficiency; and AB 2791 (Ruskin) to encourage purchases of new cars that emit less global warming and smog pollution.
The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Environmental Defense, a leading national nonprofit organization, represents more than 400,000 members. Since 1967, Environmental Defense has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems. www.environmentaldefense.org
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