Assembly Bill 32: Global Warming Solutions Act

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In 2006, the Legislature passed and Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which set the 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal into law.  It directed the California Air Resources Board (ARB or Board) to begin developing discrete early actions to reduce greenhouse gases while also preparing a scoping plan to identify how best to reach the 2020 limit.  The reduction measures to meet the 2020 target are to be adopted by the start of 2011.

Assembly Bill 32 Includes a Number of Specific Requirements:

  • ARB shall prepare and approve a scoping plan for achieving the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from sources or categories of sources of greenhouse gases by 2020 (Health and Safety Code (HSC) §38561).  The scoping plan, approved by the ARB Board December 12, 2008, provides the outline for actions to reduce greenhouse gases in California.  The approved scoping plan indicates how these emission reductions will be achieved from significant greenhouse gas sources via regulations, market mechanisms and other actions

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  • Identify the statewide level of greenhouse gas emissions in 1990 to serve as the emissions limit to be achieved by 2020 (HSC §38550).   In December 2007, the Board approved the 2020 emission limit of 427 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2E) of greenhouse gases. 
  • Adopt a regulation requiring the mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions (HSC §38530).  In December 2007, the Board adopted a regulation requiring the largest industrial sources to report and verify their greenhouse gas emissions.  The reporting regulation serves as a solid foundation to determine greenhouse gas emissions and track future changes in emission levels. 
  • Identify and adopt regulations for discrete early actions that could be enforceable on or before January 1, 2010 (HSC §38560.5).  The Board identified nine discrete early action measures including regulations affecting landfills, motor vehicle fuels, refrigerants in cars, tire pressure, port operations and other sources in 2007 that included ship electrification at ports and reduction of high GWP gases in consumer products.  (Note: Additional regulatory implementation for the remaining measures is ongoing)
  • Adopt a regulation that establishes a system of market-based declining annual aggregate emission limits for sources or categories of sources that emit greenhouse gas emissions, applicable from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2020 (HSC §38562(c)).  In 2011, the Board adopted the cap-and-trade regulation.  The cap-and-trade program covers major sources of GHG emissions in the State such as refineries, power plants, industrial facilities, and transportation fuels.  The cap-and-trade program includes an enforceable emissions cap that will decline over time.  The State will distribute allowances, which are tradable permits, equal to the emissions allowed under the cap.  Sources under the cap will need to surrender allowances and offsets equal to their emissions atthe end of each compliance period. 
  • Convene an Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (EJAC) to advise the Board in developing the Scoping Plan and any other pertinent matter in implementing AB 32 (HSC §38591).  The EJAC has met 12 times since early 2007, providing comments on the proposed early action measures and the development of the scoping plan, and submitted its comments and recommendations on the scoping plan in October 2008.  ARB will continue to work with the EJAC as AB 32 is implemented. 
  • Appoint an Economic and Technology Advancement Advisory Committee (ETAAC) to provide recommendations for technologies, research and greenhouse gas emission reduction measures (HSC §38591).  After a year-long public process, The ETAAC submitted a report of their recommendations to the Board in February 2008. The ETAAC also reviewed and provided comments on the scoping plan. 

AB 32 Timeline

  • By Jan 1, 2009 - ARB adopts plan indicating how emission reductions will be achieved from significant sources of GHGs via regulations, market mechanisms and other actions. 
  • During 2009 - ARB staff drafts rule language to implement its plan and holds a series of public workshop on each measure (including market mechanisms). 
  • By Jan 1, 2010 - Early action measures take effect. 
  • During 2010 - ARB conducts series of rulemakings, after workshops and public hearings, to adopt GHG regulations including rules governing market mechanisms. 
  • By Jan 1, 2011 - ARB completes major rulemakings for reducing GHGs including market mechanisms. ARB may revise the rules and adopt new ones after 1/1/2011 in furtherance of the 2020 cap. 
  • By Jan 1, 2012 - GHG rules and market mechanisms adopted by ARB take effect and are legally enforceable. 
  • December 31, 2020 - Deadline for achieving 2020 GHG emissions cap.

AB 32 Contact List