California Senate Leads on Climate

Key California Senate leaders introduced a groundbreaking package of climate action bills this week that would enact and build on Governor Jerry Brown's bold new commitment to set new long-term targets for cutting carbon pollution.

There are four separate bills in the Senate package sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin De León and others:

  • SB 32 would set an overarching climate pollution reduction target of 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The current target, adopted by the legislature in 2006, requires statewide emissions to decline to 1990 levels by 2020.
  • SB 350 would enact Governor Jerry Brown's bold vision of sourcing 50 percent of our electricity from emissions-free renewable power like wind and solar, doubling savings from energy efficiency, and reducing petroleum use in cars and trucks by 50 percent - all by 2030.
  • SB 189 would create a high-level committee to advise state agencies on the allocation of funds and design of policies to help maximize economic growth and job creation.
  • SB 185 would direct the two largest state pension funds - CalPERS and CalSTRS - to divest their portfolios of coal companies.

The introduction of these bills solidifies California's role in the global vanguard in the fight against climate change. They will energize California's ambitious agenda to protect our environment and most vulnerable communities while bolstering our state's growing clean energy economy. Because of the enormous progress over the past decade, no one is better positioned to take this bold step than California. These proposals build on a strong clean energy foundation that includes our successful renewable portfolio standard requiring 33 percent of our electricity to be generated from renewable sources, a robust energy efficiency program, and ongoing leadership on fuel efficient and low carbon transportation.

This announcement also clearly demonstrates a remarkable degree of unity and collaboration. Senator De León was accompanied at the announcement of these bills by many of his colleagues including Senators Fran Pavley, Mark Leno, and Ben Hueso who were all authors of one or more of the bills, as well as a number of other legislators who support these measures. Also joining the legislators were many key stakeholders including business leaders, workers, consumer advocates, community representatives, and environmental advocates. In today's heated political climate, it's particularly gratifying to see California's leadership working together to bring our state's clean energy goals to life.

The bills now enter the legislative process, beginning with Senate committees and the floor, then Assembly committees and the floor, and finally, if successful, to the desk of Governor Brown for his signature. With the strong backing of Senate leadership, there's little doubt they will progress far in the California Legislature and hopefully become law.

Our thanks go out to Senators De León, Pavley, Leno, and Hueso for their leadership to ensure California maintains its path toward a clean energy future and show the world how to avoid the worst effects of climate change.