New laws aim to slash carbon emissions in California to pre-1990 levels

SACRAMENTO, Aug. 25 (UPI) — California lawmakers have moved to clip carbon emissions in the Golden State by a historic level in the next 15 years.

The senate passed S.B. 32, an amendment to the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, Wednesday by a vote of 25-13. The bill imposes stern limits on greenhouse gases that must, by 2030, cut levels to 40 percent of what they were in 1990.

The assembly previously passed the bill 47-29 and sent it to Gov. Jerry Brown‘s desk for ratification.

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California, which has some of the strictest emissions laws in the United States, seeks to lead the way in slashing carbon emissions with the new legislation — a goal not easily accomplished, given the deep economic and political ties of an aggressive oil industry.

The most populous state in the country, California goes a long way in subsidizing the oil industry through use in vehicles and homes for power. However, the state is also home to staunch anti-climate change politicians, corporate leaders and residents.

“Big oil bought a full-page ad in the capital city’s newspaper of record to halt action on climate. Today, the Assembly Speaker, most Democrats and one brave Republican passed SB 32, rejecting the brazen deception of the oil lobby and their [Donald] Trump-inspired allies who deny science and fight every reasonable effort to curb global warming,” the governor said in a statement Wednesday.

Video: CBS Los Angeles

The bill’s passage is a major victory for Brown, who last year lost a fight with the oil lobby over legislation to cut California’s oil use in automobiles by half over the next 14 years.

S.B. 32, however, also required the passage of Assembly Bill 197 — companion legislation to establish new standards and authority for the California Air Resources Board to enforce limits. That bill also cleared both houses and were signed by Brown Wednesday.

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Together, they form perhaps the strictest greenhouse gas policy in the nation, analysts say.

“With these bills, California’s charting a clear path on climate beyond 2020,” Brown added. “We’ll continue to work to … reduce super pollutants and direct more investment to disadvantaged communities.”

Following the bills’ signings, the Western States Petroleum Association roundly criticized the new legislation, saying they are irresponsible and give unelected state officials far too much power over the issue.

“The passage of S.B. 32 is not a reason to celebrate,” spokeswoman Cathy Reheis-Boyd said in a statement. “The lack of accountability and transparency in this sort of maneuver is embodied in S.B. 32.”

In fact, she said, the bills amount to a setback for California’s “global leadership on climate change.”

“Despite today’s symbolic victory, we will continue to do the real work required,” Reheis-Boyd added,

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