SB 32 and AB 197: Future GHG Reduction Targets and Oversight

The Legislature enrolled SB 32 and AB 197 on August 25, 2016.  These bills create both the future target that will govern GHG emission reduction programs and a higher level of legislative oversight over the California Air Resources Board (CARB).  These bills must both become law for either to take effect next January and are expected to be signed by Governor Brown in the near term.  This post will examine these bills to provide the reader with an overview of the where California is and intends to move in the future.

SB 32 would add Section 38566 to the Health and Safety Code.  If signed by the Governor, this language authorizes CARB to ensure that statewide GHG emission are reduced to at least 40% below the statewide GHG emission limit no later than December 31, 2030 when adopting its rules and regulations.  This would codify the interim target created by Executive Order B-30-15 for 2030.  However, SB 32 does not authorize the Cap-and-Trade (C&T) program to extend C&T emission reductions beyond the existing 2020 targets.  Whether existing legislation or constitutional authority in the form of an Executive Order authorizes C&T beyond 2020 remains a matter of contention between the Legislative Counsel and the Governor (Read more about this issue here). Reauthorization of C&T remains a priority of the Governor’s and future legislation is expected next session.

Despite the ongoing issues over the future of the C&T program, the 2030 GHG emissions reduction target provides a similar time horizon as AB 32.  AB 32 was chaptered in 2006 creating emission reduction targets for 2020.  If SB 32 becomes law, it will provide the same time horizon for GHG emission reductions out to 2030 maintaining regulatory consistency and building on existing programs and the experiences of the past ten years.

AB 197 accompanies SB 32 to expand legislative oversight over CARB and climate change activities in general.  AB 197 would amend existing Health and Safety Code sections and chapter new statutory language.  The changes are divided by legislative committee oversight, CARB board membership, CARB regulation and rulemaking, and information disclosures.

Legislative Committee Oversight:

  • Add Health and Safety Code Section 9147.10 creating a six member (three from each house) Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies to ascertain facts and make recommendations to the Legislature. The Chair of CARB would be required to annually appear before this committee to present annual information on GHG emissions, criteria pollutants, and toxic air contaminants from all sectors covered by CARB’s Scoping Plan.  This committee would be authorized to establish a panel of experts to provide independent analysis on the state’s policies.

CARB Board Membership and Qualification:

  • Amend Health and Safety Code Section 38510 to:
    • Define the 14 CARB board members as voting members subject to six year staggered terms;
    • Disqualify board members if that board member no longer holds the membership that qualified that person to serve on the board; and
    • Add two Members of Legislature as ex officio, nonvoting members of the board (one member appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules and one member appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly).

CARB Rules and Regulations:

  • Add Health and Safety Code Section 38506 that defines “social costs” to mean “an estimate of the economic damages, including, but not limited to, changes in net agricultural productivity; impacts to public health; climate adaptation impacts, such as property damages from increased flood risk; and changes in energy system costs, per metric ton of greenhouse gas emission per year” affecting the new language found in Health and Safety Code Sections 38562.5 and 38562.7, explained below;
  • Add Health and Safety Code Section 38562.5 requiring CARB, when adopting rules and regulations that achieve emission reductions beyond statewide GHG emission limits, to follow the requirements of Section 38562, consider the social cost (as defined), and prioritize:
    • Emission reduction rules and regulations that result in direct emission reductions at large stationary sources of greenhouse gas emissions sources and direct emission reductions from mobile sources; and
    • (b) Emission reduction rules and regulations that result in direct emission reductions from sources other than those specified in the relevant subdivision.
  • Add Health and Safety Code Section 38562.7 requiring:
    • Each scoping plan update developed pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 38561 to identify for each emissions reduction measure, including each alternative compliance mechanism, market-based compliance mechanism, and potential monetary and nonmonetary incentive for the following information:
      • The range of projected greenhouse gas emissions reductions that result from the measure.
      • The range of projected air pollution reductions that result from the measure.
      • The cost-effectiveness, including avoided social costs, of the measure.

Information Disclosure and Additional Obligations to the Legislature:

  • Add Health and Safety Code Section 38531 requiring CARB to, among other things:
    • Make GHG emissions, criteria pollutants, and toxic air containment (no later than January 1, 2018) information available online, and updated at least annually, from each facility that reports to CARB; and
    • Present to the Joint Legislative Committed on Climate Change Policies on these reported emissions from all sectors covered by the Scoping Plan evaluating trends and making recommendations for legislative action.
  • Amend Health and Safety Code Section 39607 requiring CARB to make available on its website information on GHG emissions, criteria pollutants, and toxic air containment broken down to a local level for stationary sources and subcounty level for mobile sources. This information would be displayed graphically and updated at least once a year.

These bills represent the ongoing legislative process to continue California’s policies.  We expect to continue to see additional legislation in these areas.

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About Joe Kaatz

Staff Attorney at the Energy Policy Initiatives Center, University of San Diego School of Law.
This entry was posted in Energy, Greenhouse Gas, Legislation and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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