Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006

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The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 is an environmental law in California, signed into law by Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger on September 27, 2006. The bill establishes a timetable to bring California into near compliance with the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol. In signing the bill, Schwarzenegger declared, "We simply must do everything we can in power to slow down global warming before it's too late..."[1]


The law requires that by 2020 the state's greenhouse gas emissions be reduced to 1990 levels, a roughly 25% reduction under business as usual estimates. The California Air Resources Board, under the California Environmental Protection Agency, is to prepare plans to achieve the objectives stated in the Act.

As defined in the bill, “greenhouse gases” include all of the following gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). These are the same gases listed as Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) in the Kyoto Protocol.

History of the Bill

On June 26, 2006, the California Senate Environmental Quality Committee approved AB32[2] with a vote of 4-2. The bill, authored by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Member Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), was agreed between Schwarzenegger and Democratic legislators on August 30, 2006. On September 27, the Governor signed it into law.

Implementation Timeline

  • December 31, 2006
    • Last day to join California Climate Action Registry to receive recognition of voluntary GHG reporting and verification and be grandfathered into ARB’s reporting and verification program.
  • January 1, 2007
    • California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 becomes effective.
  • June 30, 2007
    • ARB will publish the list of discrete early action GHG reduction measures that can be implemented until 2011.
  • January 1, 2008
    • ARB will adopt regulations to establish the state’s mandatory GHG reporting and verification program.
    • ARB will determine the statewide 1990 baseline and set the statewide 2020 GHG emissions limit.
  • January 1, 2009
    • ARB will prepare and approve the scoping plan for achieving 2020 statewide GHG emissions limit.
  • January 1, 2010
    • ARB will implement early action emission reduction measures (identified in June 2007), effective immediately.
  • January 1, 2011
    • ARB will adopt GHG emissions limits and emission reduction measures based on January 2009 scoping plan, effective in one year.
    • ARB may adopt a market-based cap & trade system with associated limits on state’s GHG sources applicable from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2020.
  • January 1, 2012
    • Regulations based on January 2009 scoping plan will become effective.
    • Market-based “cap-and-trade” regulations may become effective. 2020 Deadline for state to achieve 1990 levels of GHG emissions.

Renewable Portfolio Standard

On November 17, 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed executive order S-14-08 which mandated a California Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 33% by 2020.[3]

On August 31, 2010, the California legislature failed to pass Senate Bill 722—the 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard legislation—by the close of the legislative session. The bill would have increased California's RPS to 33% for both investor-owned and publicly owned utilities, and would have placed limits on the use of renewable resources located out-of-state to meet California's RPS. In 2009, California also failed to enact a 33% RPS bill, similar to SB 722, although the process proceeded farther: the legislature passed the bill, but it was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger due to concerns about the limits placed on the use of out-of-state generation. Despite his concern about limits on out-of-state generation, Governor Schwarzenegger supports increasing California's RPS to 33%. Following his veto of the 2009 legislation, he issued an executive order directing the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to develop regulations to implement a 33% RPS under authority the ARB had under AB 32, California's Global Warming Solutions Act. Pursuant to the executive order, the ARB was to enact those regulations by July 2010. Shortly before the ARB considered those regulations, the Governor requested via letter to the ARB that it postpone consideration of those regulations while the legislature attempted to pass a 33% RPS bill. ARB therefore moved the hearing on those regulations to September 22, 2010. With the failure of SB 722, ARB may now move forward with those regulations under AB 32, although there are questions regarding the extent to which those regulations would be implemented by the new Governor of California.[4]


Suspend AB 32 Initiative

For more information, go to Suspend AB 32

The AB 32 Implementation Group is a coalition representing some of California's biggest carbon polluters working to alter the law.

California Assemblyman Dan Logue is part of an effort to get a "Suspend AB 32" initiative - Prop 23 - onto California's November 2010 ballot.

In mid-December 2009, the conservative advocacy group People's Advocate and California Republican Assemblymen Dan Logue and Congressman Tom McClintock announced that they were launching what they call the California Jobs Initiative, but which state Attorney General Jerry Brown has given the official title Suspends Air Pollution Control Laws Requiring Major Polluters to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Cause Global Warming Until Unemployment Drops Below Specified Level for Full Year.[5] The initiative aims to suspend California's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) until "such a time as California’s unemployment gets under 5.5%". In a letter to California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, CEO of People's Advocate Ted Costa asked that the legislation be suspended until the initiative could be placed on the ballot.[6]

AB 32 requires that the state reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020.[7] The state is currently negotiating legislation that would mandate an 80 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.[8] The ballot initiative would halt enforcement of the law until California unemployment, now at over 12 percent, sinks to 5.5 percent for at least a year, effectively stopping state efforts at reducing emissions.[9]

Now known as Prop 23: the California Jobs Initiative, it is also backed by manufacturers and Texas oil companies Valero Energy and Tesoro. Records from California's secretary of state show more than $3 million has been spent to qualify the initiative, with eighty percent of that money from special interests outside of California, and 78 percent oil money. On June 23, 2010, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Sierra Club Chairman Carl Pope, and Bay Area environmental leaders held a press conference calling on Valero and Tesoro to stop “bankrolling a deceptive, special interest effort to repeal California's clean air and clean energy laws.”[9]

States vow to sue CA if Suspend AB 32 fails

In September 2010, the attorneys general of at least four states said they are preparing to sue California if AB 32 survives the Prop 23 challenge. The attorneys general of Alabama, Nebraska, Texas, and North Dakota have been devising a legal strategy to challenge the California act on the grounds that it "interferes with the right to freely conduct interstate commerce" and thus violates the U.S. Constitution, according to attorney general of North Dakota Wayne Stenehjem.[10]

A precedent for any interstate commerce lawsuit against California is likely to come first from a case involving Minnesota and North Dakota. North Dakota supplies 60 percent of Minnesota's energy, much of it from a massive lignite coal mine. Shortly after Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed a law mandating a 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants by 2012 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050, the North Dakota legislature appropriated $500,000 to finance preparation of a legal challenge by Stenehjem, the attorney general. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases, but it has yet to do so, leaving California, much like Minnesota, confronting a national electrical grid subject to varying standards governing greenhouse gas emissions. California obtains 30 percent of its power from beyond its borders, most of it from states in the Pacific Northwest and Southwest. The California Energy Commission did not immediately provide a state-by-state breakdown of all energy suppliers to the Golden State, but North Dakota does not appear to be one of them.[10]

Stenehjem's fellow attorneys general are already using the courts to slow climate regulations. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sued the EPA in federal court earlier this year, hoping to overturn the agency's "endangerment finding" that greenhouse gases pose a threat to the environment and public health - a finding which triggered the agency's ability to regulate CO2 emissions. Alabama Attorney General Troy King filed a brief in support of the effort by the Tennessee Valley Authority to overturn North Carolina's regulation of greenhouse gases as a "public nuisance" - North Carolina v. TVA - which was decided in favor of TVA by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and could limit the legal leverage available to states to restrict CO2 emissions.[10]

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles


  1. Gov. Schwarzenegger Signs Landmark Legislation to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions (2006-09-27). Retrieved on 2010-03-01. “"When I campaigned for governor three years ago, I said I wanted to make California No. 1 in the fight against global warming. This is something we owe our children and our grandchildren," said Gov. Schwarzenegger at signing ceremonies in San Francisco and Los Angeles. "Some have challenged whether AB 32 is good for businesses. I say unquestionably it is good for businesses. ..."Using market-based incentives, we will reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. That's a 25 percent reduction. And by 2050, we will reduce emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels. We simply must do everything in our power to slow down global warming before it's too late."”
  2. CA Legislature Moves On Global Warming - Environmental Defense Fund
  3. "EXECUTIVE ORDER S-14-08" Office of the Governor of CA, November 17, 2008.
  4. "Renewable Energy Law Alert: California Legislature Fails to Pass 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard" Stoel Rives, September 1, 2010.
  5. Margot Roosevelt (2010-02-06). Effort underway to suspend California's global-warming law. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2010-03-04. “Sponsors of the California initiative, including Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Granite Bay), Ted Costa of the People's Advocate, a Sacramento-based anti-tax group, and Thomas Hiltachk, an attorney with Republican Party ties, have dubbed the measure the California Jobs Initiative. The official wording of the initiative, however, lies in the hands of Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown, an outspoken advocate of AB 32 and a presumptive Democratic candidate for governor. On Wednesday, his office discarded the "jobs initiative" title in favor of the unwieldy: "Suspends Air Pollution Control Laws Requiring Major Polluters to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Cause Global Warming Until Unemployment Drops Below Specified Level for Full Year."”
  6. People's Advocate, "Ted Costa calls on the Governor to suspend AB 32", Media Release, December 10, 2009.
  7. "California legislature moves on global warming," Environmental Defense Fund, June 27, 2006.
  8. California's Greenhouse Gas Law: Who Will Pay?, Christian Science Monitor, March 10, 2008.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Daniel Wood, "Texas Oil Firms Behind California Greenhouse Gas Initiative" truthout, June 24, 2010.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Mark Schapiro, "4 States Prepare Legal Assault On California's Climate Law" HuffPo, September 9, 2010.

External resources

External articles

Wikipedia also has an article on Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.