On July 19th California lawmakers passed Assembly Bill 398, extending the state’s climate program through the end of 2030 and bolstering the state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent. The bill garnered bi-partisan support and had the backing of a number of environmental advocacy groups including the Nature Conservancy, Natural Resource Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, and Union of Concerned Scientist.
The bill leaves the door open for international sector-based offset credits, such as those from jurisdictional programs to reduce tropical deforestation, to be included in California’s cap and trade program. Under the new bill up to 4% of emissions could be covered by offsets from 2021 to 2025, with that allowance expanding to 6% for the 2026-2030 period. At least half of offsets developed under the new legislation must be developed within California.
California is a founding member of the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force and a global leader in the battle against climate change – the state is a signatory to the Rio Branco Declaration and initiated the Under2 MOU at COP 21 in Paris, which has since been signed by 16 additional GCF member states. With the passage of AB 398, the state continues to highlight the important role of subnational global climate leadership in efforts to reduce carbon emissions. In 2018 California will host the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.