Post 2020 Climate Policy Platform

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The Administration is proposing a far-reaching update to the existing climate change programs. The update will set new goals for the state to achieve by 2030 and 2050.  The Administration’s proposals will impact all California residents and businesses.  

The new policies will create economy-wide impacts, as well as institute specific measures aimed at affecting key business sectors such as goods movement, agriculture, transportation fuels, and power generation. This will be done through various strategies including mandates on industry sectors, local and regional land use planning, and technology preferences:

California Air Resources Board: Update to the AB 32 Scoping Plan
Approved 2014

“Climate change presents an unprecedented set of challenges for California that cuts across sectors and policy areas. These emerging challenges are increasingly unifying policy planning across government agencies and jurisdictions, allowing us to do more with less – achieving multiple goals more quickly and effectively than if we address separate priorities in isolation.”
– Climate Change Scoping Plan Update, May 2014

Governor’s Office of Planning and Research: California at 50 Million
Anticipated new draft, January, 2015

“And then in the next six months, we’re going to set a goal for 2030 that will be more ambitious, that will require more technology and will also require heightened political will.”
– UN Multilateral and Multi-Stakeholder Action Announcements – Cities Panel, Governor Brown, September, 2014

Sustainable Freight Strategy
Anticipated June, 2015
CARB will develop new policies that will move California towards a sustainable freight transport system, requiring efficiency, zero or near-zero emissions logistics system.

“The hard-core of the transportation adaptation we need to deal with is actually our goods-movement system. The clean-freight issue—the issue of how we move clean tech industry and clean freight—is really key to our ability to solve our other public policy goals.”
– Planning Report – Mary Nichols, December, 20131

 Administration’s Plan for 2015

To gain public support, the Administration is implementing a full-scale education effort, including the hiring of economists to portray the economic benefits of the new policies. They have organized a coalition of environmental, health, community and (green) business organizations to support Cap and Trade and presumably will use the coalition to promote the new proposals.

Need For an Energy/Climate Change Platform

CARE, representing business and community interests has developed a unified set of principles to present to the Administration prior to the release of new climate change policies.  

These principles are designed to impact the decision-making process for developing the new state climate change goals and the implementation and evaluation of the new programs. The CARE Coalition Principles, the 5 As include:

1. Achievable Goals  
California’s energy and climate laws must be technologically feasible, fact-based, scientific, and transparent in the purpose and execution of the program.  Too often, programs are developed without appropriate investigation of the feasibility, alternatives and unintended consequences.

2. Affordable Laws and Regulations
With a robust climate change program already in place, the new policies must consider the cost impacts on the economy and the ability of California business to remain economically competitive.  To attract jobs and business, California’s climate and energy goals must coincide with the economic goals of the state.  Studies indicate that higher energy costs and other cost increases have a disproportionate impact on low-income communities.  

3. Accountability for Regulators  
New programs must be crafted though an open and transparent legislative process, and proper oversight of new programs must be written into the law.  Contrary to the vague language in current law, new laws and regulations must be subjected to rigorous legislative oversight and contain specific reporting requirements.  To ensure that the program is meeting the intended goals, laws should contain sunset provisions that will require program reauthorization and/or modification. New laws must contain bright lines of authority that determine the role of the state agencies, regional agencies, local governments and other governmental bodies.  Small and large businesses need certainty more than anything in dealing with rising costs and overlapping regulations. 

4. Alignment with Other Jurisdictions
California has already enacted more climate laws than any other jurisdiction. To ensure that California benefits from the early adoption and action and prevents additional “leakage,”California should consider making new requirements conditional upon action in other jurisdictions. “California can’t do it alone.” – Governor Jerry Brown

5. Adaptation to Meet Economic and Environmental Challenges  
Weather conditions, infrastructure upgrades, and natural disasters will require significant investment of state funds to prepare California communities to meet future challenges.  The new climate laws must recognize that state revenues are limited.  The state already faces a “wall of debt” that must be addressed. California needs a well-balanced economy and growing middle class jobs to support state priorities such as education, health care, public safety and transportation.  And, without economic growth, the state will not have sufficient resources to fund state’s environmental programs or pay for the infrastructure upgrades needed to address climate change impacts.