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California Extends Cap and Trade, Sends Global Message

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill extending the state’s cap-and-trade program to 2030.

Governor Jerry Brown today signed a bill to extend through 2030 the state’s cap-and-trade program. California legislators on July 17 voted—with a bipartisan supermajority—to extend the cap. California’s action sends a message to other nations that America is committed to accelerating its transition to clean energy in spite of Washington’s backpedaling, and demonstrates that one of the world’s biggest economies can pursue ambitious climate targets while stimulating economic growth.

The cap-and-trade bill (AB 398)—and a companion bill that aims to reduce air pollution in heavily impacted, largely low-income communities (AB 617)—passed with a two-thirds majority vote, enjoying strong business support and precluding legal challenges. Clean energy champions made concessions in order to move the bills forward; however, the sum benefits of enforceable emissions limits and the promise of cleaner air make this a strong win.

A broad and growing coalition of business, health, environmental, consumer, faith, and other interests—many of them Energy Foundation grantees—contributed to this win by building public and policymaker support for clean energy and climate policy through educational outreach and analysis. For more than five years they have delivered a clear and persistent message that their communities want the health and economic benefits a clean energy economy will bring.

California is not alone in moving forward. As Washington backs away from progress on climate and clean energy, U.S. states, cities, and businesses are leaning in. Since the November election, states like Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Nevada, and Colorado have moved forward on groundbreaking clean energy policies. Business and consumer demand for clean energy is driving local economic growth, and policymakers in states are finding ways to capitalize on economic opportunity.

By Jose Carmona Program Director, California

(Note: Energy Foundation funding did not support legislative lobbying.)