Craig Noble, NRDC: 415/601.8235 (mobile) or 415/875.6100 (office); Jennifer Witherspoon, Environmental Defense: 415/216-9598 (mobile) or 510/457.2250 (office)
Legislation Announced Today Would Turn Key Recommendations into Law
SACRAMENTO (April 3, 2006) -- Today's final report of the California Climate Action Team (CAT), a high-level task force appointed by Gov. Schwarzenegger, recommends an "emissions cap" and other wide-ranging solutions for the state to reduce global warming pollution. Conservation groups applauded the team and said the next step is for the Legislature to pass The Global Warming Solutions Act (A.B. 32), also announced today by Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblymember Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills).
"The Governor gets it and the legislative leadership gets it. Today's announcements set the stage for California to take global warming by the horns and implement meaningful policies to curb this serious issue," said Karen Douglas, director of the California Climate Initiative at Environmental Defense. "Let's put a lid on global warming pollution in California. That will provide California's venture capitalists, academic institutions and industries with a clear market signal to innovate and invest in clean technologies."
"The next step is for the Legislature to pass A.B. 32, The Global Warming Solutions Act. Bipartisan cooperation from the Legislature and the Schwarzenegger administration will put California on the cutting edge of a new energy economy," said Devra Wang, director of NRDC's California energy program. "Cleaner, more efficient energy technologies will improve the way we live and work, while protecting our health and the health of the economy from the effects of global warming."
Last June 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," he said in an event announcing the targets. "We know the science. We see the threat, and we know the time for action is now."
The targets are to reduce emissions to 2000 levels by 2010, to 1990 levels by 2020 and to reduce emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The order required the Climate Action Team, a multi-agency team coordinated by Cal/EPA, to develop a report on how to meet the targets.
The CAT report is available online.
The Climate Action Team Report outlines methods for curbing carbon dioxide and other global warming pollutants. The recommendations include 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' make from agricultural products. They also called for improved transit alternatives, and recommended bolstering water conservation measures in order to reduce the energy needed for water treatment and transport. (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.)
According to the Climate Action Team report, meeting the governor's goal of reducing global warming emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 will increase Californians' income by about $4 billion and create about 83,000 new jobs.
Two independent economic studies by the University of California at Berkeley and the Center for Clean Air Policy confirm the CAT's findings that meeting the governor's targets will boost the state's economy and generate jobs.
California, the sixth largest economy in the world, is already a global leader in cutting-edge energy technologies. Clean technologies are an emerging multi-billion dollar industry in the manufacturing and transportation sectors, as well as in the primary infrastructure areas of energy and water.
The governor, his Climate Action Team, lawmakers, scientists and conservationists all agree that global warming threatens California's economy, environment and way of life. Rising temperatures will shrink the Sierra snow pack, the largest source of California's drinking water, by 30 to 90 percent. In a warmer climate sea levels are expected to rise, and heat waves, smoggy days and wildfires would become more common. Demand for electricity would soar.