Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006
|Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006|
|California State Legislation|
|Full name||Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006|
|Introduced||April 3, 2006|
|Assembly voted||August 31, 2006|
|Senate voted||August 30, 2006|
|Signed into law||September 27, 2006|
|Sponsor(s)||Fabian Nunez and Fran Pavley|
|Code||Health and Safety Code|
|Section||38500, 38501, 28510, 38530, etc.|
|Resolution||AB32 (2005-2006 Session)|
The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, or Assembly Bill (AB) 32, is a California State Law that fights climate change by establishing a comprehensive program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all sources throughout the state. AB 32 was authored by then-Assemblymember Fran Pavley and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) and signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on September 27, 2006.
AB 32 requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB or ARB) to develop regulations and market mechanisms to reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, representing a 25% reduction statewide, with mandatory caps beginning in 2012 for significant emissions sources. The bill also allows the Governor to suspend the emissions caps for up to a year in case of emergency or significant economic harm.
The State of California leads the nation in energy efficiency standards and plays a lead role in environmental protection, but is also the 12th largest emitter of carbon worldwide. Greenhouse gas emissions are defined in the bill to include all of the following: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons. These are the same greenhouse gases listed in Annex A of the Kyoto Protocol.
AB 32 includes several specific requirements of the California Air Resources Board:
- Prepare and approve a scoping plan for achieving the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gas emissions
- Identify the statewide level of greenhouse gas emissions in 1990 to serve as the emissions limit to be achieved by 2020
- Adopt a regulation requiring the mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions
- Identify and adopt regulations for discrete early actions that could be enforceable on or before January 1, 2010
- Ensure early voluntary reductions receive appropriate credit in the implementation of AB 32
- Convene an Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (EJAC) to advise the Board in developing the Scoping Plan and any other pertinent matter in implementing AB 32
- Appoint an Economic and Technology Advancement Advisory Committee (ETAAC) to provide recommendations for technologies, research and greenhouse gas emission reduction measures
AB 32 stipulates the following timeline:
|By Jan 1, 2009||ARB adopts plan indicating how emission reductions will be achieved from significant sources of GHGs via regulations, market mechanisms and other actions|
|During 2009||ARB staff drafts rule language to implement its plan and holds a series of public workshop on each measure (including market mechanisms)|
|By Jan 1, 2010||Early action measures take effect|
|During 2010||ARB conducts series of rulemakings, after workshops and public hearings, to adopt GHG regulations including rules governing market mechanisms|
|By Jan 1, 2011||ARB completes major rulemakings for reducing GHGs including market mechanisms. ARB may revise the rules and adopt new ones after 1/1/2011 in furtherance of the 2020 cap|
|By Jan 1, 2012||GHG rules and market mechanisms adopted by ARB take effect and are legally enforceable|
|December 31, 2020||Deadline for achieving 2020 GHG emissions cap.|
|This article is outdated. (January 2012)|
|December 2007||ARB approves a limit of 427 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2E) of greenhouse gas emissions in 2020|
|December 2007||ARB adopts a regulation requiring the largest industrial sources to report and verify their greenhouse gas emissions.|
|February 2008||ARB approves a policy statement encouraging voluntary early actions for emissions reductions and establishing a procedure for project proponents to submit quantification methods to be evaluated by ARB.|
|December 12, 2008||Scoping plan approved and adopted by ARB, providing an outline of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from significant sources in California via regulations, market mechanisms and other actions.|
To date, ARB has identified nine discrete early action measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including regulations affecting landfills, motor vehicle fuels, refrigerants in cars, tire pressure, port operations and other sources. Regulatory development for additional measures is ongoing.
The Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (EJAC) has met 12 times since early 2007 and submitted comments and recommendations on the scoping plan in October 2008. The Economic and Technology Advancement Advisory Committee (ETAAC) submitted a report of their recommendations to the Board in February 2008. The ETAAC also reviewed and provided comments on the scoping plan.
- Cap-and-Trade Program: Firm limit on total greenhouse gas emissions. Covers 85% of all emissions statewide; includes participation in the Western Climate Initiative
- Electricity and Energy: Improved appliance efficiency standards and other energy efficiency measures; goal is for 33% of energy to come from renewable sources by 2020;
- High Global Warming Potential Gases: reduce emissions and use of refrigerants and certain other gases that have much higher impact, per molecule than carbon dioxide
- Agriculture: more efficient agricultural equipment, fuel use and water use
- Transportation: adherence to "Pavley Standards" to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles
- Industry: audit and regulate emissions from 800 largest industrial sources statewide, including the cement industry
- Forestry: preserve forest sequestration and other voluntary programs
- Waste and Recycling: reduce methane emissions from landfills; reduce waste and increase recycling/reuse
On December 17, 2010 ARB adopted a cap-and-trade program to place an upper limit on statewide greenhouse gas emissions. This is the first program of its kind on this scale in the United States, though in the northeastern United States, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) works on a similar principle. Through the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), California is working to link its cap and trade system to other states and provinces, such as Quebec. The program had a soft start in 2012, with the first required compliance period to start 2013. Emissions are to be reduced by two percent each year through 2015 and three percent each year from 2015 to 2020. The rules apply first to utilities and large industrial plants, and in 2015 will begin to be applied to fuel distributors as well, eventually totaling 360 businesses at 600 locations throughout the State of California. Free credits will be distributed to businesses to account for about 90 percent of overall emissions in their sector, but they must buy allowances (credits) at auction, to account for additional emissions. The auction format used will be single round, sealed bid auction. A preliminary auction was held August 30, 2012 with the first actual quarterly auction to take place November 14, 2012.
In addition to emission allowances, CCAs. Compliance entities may also use a certain percentage of offset credits in the system. Offsets credits are generated by projects that reduce emissions or act as sinks for green house gasses. Currently the Air Resources Board allows for different types of offset projects to generate offset credits: U.S. Forest and Urban Forest Project Resources, Livestock Projects (methane emission control), Ozone Depleting Substances Projects, and Urban Forest Projects.
Offset provisions in the cap and trade scheme are however controversial and have been challenged in court. In March 2012, Citizens Climate Lobby und Our Children’s Earth Foundation, two California environmental groups, sued the California Air Resources Board for the inclusion of its offset provisions.
Economic impacts 
According to ARB, AB 32 is "generating jobs, promoting a growing, clean-energy economy and a healthy environment for California at the same time."
- AB 32 supports efficiency-driven job growth
- California gets more clean energy venture capital investment than all states combined
- Green technologies produce new jobs faster
- Venture capital investment produces thousands of new jobs
- Green jobs are growing faster than any other industry
- California leads the nation in clean technology
- California’s economic powerhouses support AB 32
Political challenges 
The bill was challenged by Proposition 23 on the November 2010 ballot, which aimed to suspend AB 32 until state unemployment stayed below 5.5% for four consecutive quarters. The proposition was defeated by a wide margin.
See also 
- Climate Change
- Kyoto Protocol
- Regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act
- Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008
- Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. - Home
- Kyoto Protocol
- Assembly Bill 32 - California Global Warming Solutions Act
- California Climate Plan
- California Air Resources Board, Auction information
- California Air Resources Board, Compliance Offset Program
- Citizens Climate Lobby und Our Children’s Earth Foundation vs. California Air Resources Board
- Governor's press release
- Legal documentation
- California - Global Warming
- California State Government Climate Change Portal
- AB32 News Coverage
- Meeting AB 32 targets
- Update on carbon markets