California governor signs climate change bill

Claudine Rigal
Juillet 26, 2017

It was a picture-perfect day on San Francisco's Treasure Island - the same site where former Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed California's first significant climate change bill more than a decade ago.

When Schwarzenegger was the governor of California, he backed environmental legislation that's become one of the world's most closely watched initiatives in the fight against global warming. The program puts a cap and a price on carbon emissions, creating an incentive for polluters to reduce emissions.

Brown and Schwarzenegger have enthusiastically picked fights with President Donald Trump on climate change since Trump announced he was pulling the US out of the Paris climate accord.

"America is fully in the Paris agreement". "And you're here witnessing one of the key milestones in turning around this carbonized world into a decarbonized sustainable future". "America did not drop out".

Both governors have hailed California's cap and trade program as a successful way to reduce emissions that hasn't taken the steam out of California's thriving economy.

Brown's signature will add 10 years to the program, which had been scheduled to expire in 2020. It follows a frenetic push by Brown to craft a plan that businesses and environmentalists would both find acceptable. In the end, the extension was supported by a wide range of groups that said it's the most cost-effective way to combat climate change.

The legislation infuriated environmental justice groups that say Brown made too many concessions to polluting industries.

The legislation, Assembly Bill 398, will keep cap and trade operating until 2030 rather than letting it expire in 2020. After the extension passed, Schwarzenegger highlighted the support from eight Republican lawmakers, saying they've shown that the GOP can get behind free-market solutions to climate change.

California's cap-and-trade program sets a state limit on emissions of greenhouse gases and lets companies, such as factories and refineries, buy and sell permits to emit carbon dioxide.

Despite holding a supermajority, Democrats failed in previous attempts to pass new cap-and-trade legislation over opposition from more liberal members of the party who felt it did not go far enough and moderates concerned about the impact on business.

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