California Urgently Needs Action on Climate Change; Legislature and Governor Should Pass SB 32 This Year

Statement by Adrienne Alvord, Western States Director, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Aug 5, 2016

OAKLAND, Calif. (August 5, 2016)—In recent days, legislative leadership and Gov. Jerry Brown have been sending mixed signals on whether they will consider SB 32 (Pavley), a bill to require lowering climate pollution to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, during this legislative session. The governor’s announcement of a possible ballot initiative to address the issue has further complicated when and how California will move forward in its pioneering efforts to reduce the risks of climate change. This uncertainty could result in a lost opportunity to extend and improve California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) this year. The landmark law has been a stunning 10-year success, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Since passage of AB 32, California has lowered climate pollution, built a robust clean energy and clean fuels sector and lowered our oil consumption, while its economy grew at a pace that is leading the nation.

Below is a statement by Adrienne Alvord, UCS Western States Director.

“UCS believes California lawmakers should codify more rigorous climate goals this year. We respectfully urge the Legislature and Governor Brown to show the resolve and leadership we need to make this happen in the next few weeks, before the end of session on August 31st. At a time when a bipartisan 68 percent super-majority of Californians want to see these policies enacted, according to recent polling, it is baffling that the Legislature would not heed the will of the people to continue to address climate change.

“We believe Governor Brown has been a sincere climate champion and applaud his work as a global messenger for strong action, but progress can and must begin at home. His legacy depends not just on executive action and introducing initiatives for the voters to decide, but also on putting his leadership on the line to pass his own policies into law.  

“After 10 years of lowering heat-trapping pollution, during which time the state grew from the 8th to the 6th largest economy in the world, California has proved we can lower climate pollution while building a thriving economy. But we need to move much further, and quickly. Science clearly shows that the disastrous wildfires, drought and heat waves that California has been experiencing are being influenced by climate change. The rest of the country and the world are feeling additional impacts, including sea-level rise, more powerful storms and flooding. California’s leadership has helped propel the nation and world to take decisive steps in the fight against climate change. Inaction this year would send the wrong signal and impede progress toward meeting our international obligations and preventing the worst effects of the greatest environmental threat of our time. We urgently need to do much more.

“We urge the governor and Legislature to work together this year to adopt into law the governor’s targets of reducing global warming pollution to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.”