Governor Brown Extends California’s Cap and Trade Program for 10 Years

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Climate change has met its match in the state of California. On Tuesday, July 25, Governor Jerry Brown signed off on the extension of the state’s climate change bill, extending the period of its enactment for another 10 years. Former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who also pursued aggressive climate change action during his time in office, attended the signing ceremony with Brown.

According to Mercury News, the bill known as AB398 raises revenue for climate change policies by requiring power plants, factories, and refineries to receive a permit from the state for every ton of greenhouse gases they choose to emit.

While the decision to extend the life of the bill was, according to the Los Angeles Times, politically difficult for Brown, the governor was willing to open the floor to potential deals in order to get the law passed. Brown told state senators that the bill would be “the most important vote of your life.”

The climate bill isn’t meant to burden power plants and factories, but rather to reduce air pollution, a man-made environmental factor which California has combatted for decades. Los Angeles’ smog-heavy past is one of the reasons California and China, which is currently suffering from its own air pollution problems, were able to sign a climate deal together in June.

At the signing ceremony, Schwarzenegger emphasized the Republican support behind the bill to showcase that, while the bill may be political, the fight against climate change is a united Californian front.

Brown said to ABC News, “California is leading the world in dealing with the existential threat that it faces.” The bill not only gives corporations responsibility behind the emissions of greenhouse gases, but also gives responsibility to the residential homeowners of California.

By 2020, lawmakers want all new houses built in the state to meet zero net energy standards, meaning the homes would produce more energy than they would otherwise consume. Up to 10% of energy consumed by homes is used in lighting, and that’s one reason California homes are considered to be the second-largest contributors to the emission of greenhouse gases.

So while the climate change bill pressures companies to reduce emissions through the state’s cap and trade program, homeowners will have to play their part in combatting climate change as well.

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