Get to Know California’s Climate Policies


California has implemented several key climate policies to address the challenges of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Here are some of the notable policies:

California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32): Also known as AB 32, this landmark legislation was enacted in 2006 and set ambitious goals to reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. It established a cap-and-trade program, requiring major emitters to obtain permits for their emissions.
SB1383 refers to a California state legislative bill that was passed into law. It is officially known as the Short-Lived Climate Pollutants Reduction Act, and it aims to reduce emissions of potent greenhouse gases known as short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs). The bill was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2016 and went into effect on January 1, 2017.

The key objective of SB1383 is to mitigate the impact of SLCPs, which include methane, black carbon, and fluorinated gases, on climate change. These pollutants have a significant warming effect on the atmosphere and contribute to the acceleration of global warming.

SB1383 sets ambitious targets for the reduction of SLCPs in California. By 2030, the law mandates a 40% reduction in methane emissions, a 40% reduction in hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions, and a 50% reduction in human-caused black carbon emissions compared to 2013 levels. These targets are intended to be achieved through a range of measures and strategies implemented at both the state and local levels.

The legislation places specific responsibilities on various sectors, including agriculture, waste management, and energy. It requires the implementation of strategies to reduce methane emissions from livestock and dairy operations, as well as the diversion of organic waste from landfills to reduce methane generation. The law also encourages the deployment of low-emission vehicles and equipment and promotes the development of renewable natural gas.

To ensure compliance with the law, SB1383 empowers the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to adopt regulations, set targets, and monitor progress. Local jurisdictions, such as cities and counties, are also required to develop and implement organic waste recycling programs to meet the diversion targets.

SB1383 represents a significant step in California's efforts to combat climate change by addressing short-lived climate pollutants. The legislation aligns with the state's broader climate goals and commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a more sustainable and environmentally responsible economy.

Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS): California's RPS requires utilities to source a specific percentage of their electricity from renewable energy sources. The state has set a target of 100% clean energy by 2045, with interim goals along the way.

Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS): The LCFS aims to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by promoting the use of low-carbon alternatives, such as biofuels, electricity, and hydrogen. It sets specific standards for the carbon content of transportation fuels and encourages innovation in the sector.

Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (SB 375): SB 375 promotes sustainable land use and transportation planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. It encourages compact development, transit-oriented communities, and the integration of land use and transportation policies.

Electric Vehicle Initiatives: California has been a leader in promoting electric vehicles (EVs) to reduce reliance on fossil fuel-powered vehicles. The state provides various incentives, grants, and rebates for EV purchases, supports the development of charging infrastructure, and has set a target of 5 million zero-emission vehicles on California roads by 2030.

Energy Efficiency Standards: California has implemented rigorous energy efficiency standards for appliances, buildings, and vehicles. These standards aim to reduce energy consumption, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and promote the use of energy-efficient technologies.

Carbon Pricing: In addition to the cap-and-trade program under AB 32, California has explored other carbon pricing mechanisms, such as a carbon tax or a carbon fee and dividend approach, to further incentivize emissions reductions.

These are just a few examples of California's key climate policies. The state has been at the forefront of climate action in the United States, striving to transition to a low-carbon economy and combat the impacts of climate change.