California is set to extend its historic greenhouse gas emissions targets after the state Senate on Wednesday sent a reauthorization bill to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has vociferously championed policies to combat climate change during his final term in office.
Senate Bill 32 would place in statute his executive order to reduce emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, an expansion of current law that mandates California reach 1990 levels by 2020. It passed the Senate 25-13, largely along party lines, to a round of applause on the floor.
Sen. Fran Pavley, a Democrat from Agoura Hills who authored the original regulation a decade ago, said the success of that law proved there was “not a false choice between a healthy environment and a sound economy.”
She urged colleagues to vote for SB 32 as a “market signal” of California’s commitment to its climate change strategy. The state’s cap-and-trade market, one of its signatures programs for meeting the reduction targets, has been sputtering in recent months as its future looked increasingly uncertain.
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“What California does matters,” Pavley said.
Though they had little chance of stopping the measure, SB 32 still drew intense opposition from Republicans, who warned that it would only lead to higher energy costs and a further exodus of business out of the state.
Senate Republican Leader Jean Fuller said her Bakersfield-area district had lost hundreds of oil and gas jobs in the past decade, while few new clean energy positions were created.
“Come visit me in my county,” she said. “My sky is falling.”