AB 32: Putting the brakes on global warming (2006)

 

Landmark Law Puts California in the Lead

Background

California is the tenth largest emitter of carbon dioxide pollution in the world. Scientific consensus tells us that global warming gases, including carbon dioxide from human sources, will devastate the environment, the economy, and public health.

In 2002, California led the nation by passing AB 1493 (Pavley) into law, mandating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from mobile sources such as cars and light-duty trucks. Still, stationary sources such as power plants, oil refineries, and landfills have remained unregulated for greenhouse gas emissions. Assembly Bill 32 (Nuñez, Pavley) puts California back in the lead in the fight against global warming by requiring Cal/EPA to set a statewide cap on greenhouse gas emissions, reduce these emissions from major stationary sources, and develop a mandatory reporting system for these emissions

The specific effects of global warming in California could include:

  • Rising sea levels that could damage coastal communities and coastal wetlands
  • Air quality degradation, resulting in an increase in respiratory illness
  • Increased death from heat and insect-borne diseases
  • Loss of the Sierra snow pack, resulting in potentially drastic water supply problems
  • A dramatic increase in state energy needs

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and expanding renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies will:

  • Help forestall the catastrophic effects of global warming
  • Reduce the pollutants that cause smog, soot and toxic air pollution
  • Lead to economic benefits for California by creating new jobs and protecting the state from fluctuations in the price of oil

Economic analysts say that adoption of low-carbon policies by west coast states could save the region $40 billion by 2020.

Time is of the essence. California is leading the fight against global warming and setting an example for the rest of the world by passing AB 32 into law.

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