When President Trump made the decision to exit the Paris climate accord California was among the states that threatened to take efforts into its own hands.
State legislators have kept that promise.
A bipartisan coalition of California lawmakers this week passed AB 398, legislation that extends the state’s cap-and-trade program, and its inherent compliance demands, to 2030.
Governor Jerry Brown said the legislative package “will launch a landmark program to measure and combat air pollution at the neighborhood level… and extend and improve the state's world-leading cap-and-trade program to ensure California continues to meet its ambitious climate change goals.”
"The legislature is taking action to curb climate change and protect vulnerable communities from industrial poisons," he said in a statement.
"These measures represent California's leadership on climate and air quality. Extending California's cap and trade program will protect consumers and businesses alike from high energy costs, while reducing the greenhouse gasses and air pollutants choking our communities throughout the state," said Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León.
The legislative package establishes a comprehensive, statewide program to improve air quality in local communities through neighborhood air monitoring and targeted action plans that require pollution reductions from mobile and stationary sources with strong enforcement and timetables.
The legislation also mandates that large industrial facilities, including oil refineries, in California's most polluted communities upgrade old equipment with cleaner, more modern technology by December 2023 at the latest. The legislation also increases the penalties against polluters that the Legislature has not been able to increase in more than 35 years.
In addition to improving air quality in California's most impacted communities, the package strengthens and extends the state's existing cap-and-trade program, which would have expired without legislative action.
The program, along with other state carbon reduction measures, “ensures that California will meet its target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030,” a statement from the Governor’s office said.
The legislation extends the program by 10 years. It also: cuts the use of out-of-state carbon offsets; decreases free carbon allowances over 40 percent by 2030; and prioritizes cap-and-trade spending to ensure funds go where they are needed most, including reducing diesel emissions in the most impacted communities.
A statement issued through the Governor’s office said the law “solidifies California as a global model for climate action.”
“It shows how states can step up and lead on climate as the federal administration retreats, and it shows the power of the economic case for smart climate policy,” it said.