Governor Brown Signs Landmark Climate Bill to Extend California’s Cap-and-Trade Program


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SAN FRANCISCO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed AB 398 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), which extends and improves the state’s world-leading cap-and-trade program to ensure California continues to meet its ambitious climate change goals.

“California is leading the world in dealing with a principal existential threat that humanity faces,” said Governor Brown at today’s signing ceremony. “We are a nation-state in a globalizing world and we’re having an impact and you’re here witnessing one of the key milestones in turning around this carbonized world into a decarbonized, sustainable future.”

The Governor signed the legislation today on Treasure Island, the same location where Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 32 (the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006), which authorized the state’s cap-and-trade program more than a decade ago.

“Thanks to bipartisan support California was able to extend its historic cap and trade program which protects our environment and preserves our nation-leading economic growth. Governor Brown and legislative leaders from both parties came together to ensure that California continues to march toward a clean, prosperous future. I want to especially thank Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes and his Republican colleagues for following in the footsteps of great Republicans like Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, who both recognized the importance of fighting for clean air and water and natural spaces. I hope politicians around the country can learn from the example set in Sacramento last week. Republicans and Democrats were able to come together to pass legislation that helps clean up our environment for our children while at the same time supporting a booming economy,” said former Governor Schwarzenegger.

AB 398 strengthens and extends the state’s cap-and-trade program, which would have expired without legislative action. The program, along with other state carbon reduction measures, ensures California will meet its SB 32 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

“As the Trump Administration seeks to undermine our nation’s climate leadership – the world is looking to California. We are proving that growing an economy and protecting the environment is not an either-or proposition; we can and will continue to do both. Today’s extension of our landmark cap-and-trade program, coupled with our effective clean energy policies, will move us forward into the future and we plan to take the rest of the world with us,” said Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León.

“There’s an old expression, ‘think globally, act locally.’ The cap-and-trade and air quality bills the Governor is signing into law this week do both. With these bills we are continuing California’s global leadership on climate change and, at the same time, bringing direct air quality improvements to local communities that have been most harmed by pollution. California is once again showing you can succeed by being visionary and practical at the same time,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.

“I applaud the great vision of Governor Brown, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin De León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. The passage of AB 398 will accelerate California to the next critical step in our global climate leadership. We are celebrating a historic bipartisan effort that will allow us to achieve our ambitious climate goals, retain industry jobs to sustain our ever growing, clean green economy, all while addressing vital public health and air quality issues. This new statewide mechanism will ensure equitable climate investments in the communities most impacted by pollution,” said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia.

AB 398 passed in both the California State Senate and Assembly last week with support from Democratic and Republican lawmakers and more than 150 environmental; climate; public health; clean energy and technology; agriculture; food processing; business; labor; local government; community; and utility leaders; researchers and economists; and newspaper editorial boards from across California.

This legislation extends the program by 10 years until 2030 in the most cost-effective way possible, and makes the following improvements based on years of operation, analysis and input:

– Ensures that carbon pollution will decrease as the program’s emissions cap declines.
– Cuts the use of out-of-state carbon offsets and brings those environmental benefits back to California.
– Designates the California Air Resources Board as the statewide regulatory body responsible for ensuring that California meets its statewide carbon pollution reduction targets, while retaining local air districts’ responsibility and authority to curb toxic air contaminants and criteria pollutants from local sources that severely impact public health.
– Decreases free carbon allowances over 40 percent by 2030.
– Prioritizes cap-and-trade spending to ensure funds go where they are needed most, including reducing diesel emissions in the most impacted communities.

Extending California’s cap-and-trade program ensures that billions of dollars in auction proceeds continue flowing to communities across California. To date, these investments have preserved and restored tens of thousands of acres of open space, helped plant thousands of new trees, funded 30,000 energy efficiency improvements in homes, expanded affordable housing, boosted public transit, helped more than 100,000 Californians purchase zero-emission vehicles and supported many other programs.

AB 617 by Assemblymembers Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) and Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) – part of the legislative package announced with AB 398 – will be signed separately later this week and will establish a groundbreaking program to measure and combat air pollution at the neighborhood level – in the communities most impacted.

For full text of the bill signed today, visit

California’s Climate Leadership

On the eve of the G20 Summit earlier this month, Governor Brown announced that the State of California will convene the world’s climate leaders in San Francisco in September 2018 for the Global Climate Action Summit, where representatives from subnational governments, businesses, investors and civil society will gather with the direct goal of supporting the Paris Agreement.

Last month, Governor Brown was named Special Advisor for States and Regions ahead of this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 23) by the Prime Minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama – incoming president of COP 23. This followed meetings with Germany’s top environmental official, Minister Barbara Hendricks, in San Francisco, and with China’s President Xi Jinping during the Governor’s week-long trip to China.

Governor Brown continues to build – and grow – strong coalitions of subnational partners committed to curbing carbon pollution in both the United States through the U.S. Climate Alliance and around the globe with the Under2 Coalition.

The Under2 Coalition, established in May 2015, is an international pact among cities, states and countries committed to limiting the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius – the level of potentially catastrophic consequences – by either reducing their greenhouse gas emissions from 80 percent to 95 percent below 1990 levels or holding emissions to less than 2 annual metric tons per capita by 2050. The coalition now includes 176 jurisdictions on six continents, collectively representing more than 36 countries, 1.2 billion people and $28.8 trillion GDP – equivalent to more than 16 percent of the global population and 39 percent of the global economy.

The U.S. Climate Alliance was formed in June with the Governors of Washington and New York in response to the White House’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. The alliance now includes 14 U.S. states – led by both Democrats and Republicans – committed to achieving the U.S. goal of reducing emissions 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels and meeting or exceeding the targets of the federal Clean Power Plan. The U.S. Climate Alliance complements the goals of the Under2 Coalition.

In recent years, Governor Brown has also signed landmark climate legislation to establish the most ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in North America; set the nation’s toughest restrictions on destructive super pollutants; direct cap-and-trade funds to greenhouse gas reducing programs which benefit disadvantaged communities, support clean transportation and protect natural ecosystems; and require the state to generate half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and double the rate of energy efficiency savings in buildings.

The Governor has also traveled to the United Nations’ 2015 Climate Conference (COP 21) in Paris, the United Nations headquarters in New York, the Vatican and the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto to call on other leaders to join California in the fight against climate change. These efforts build on a number of other international climate change agreements with leaders from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Mexico, China, North America, Japan, Israel, Peru, Chile, Australia, Scotland,
Sweden and Germany as well as Governor Brown’s efforts to gather hundreds of researchers and scientists around a groundbreaking call to action called the consensus statement, which translates key scientific climate findings from disparate fields into one unified document.

California, the sixth-largest economy in the world, continues to advance its nation-leading climate goals while also growing its economy faster than the rest of the United States. In the past seven years, California has created more than 2.5 million new jobs, cut its unemployment rate in half, eliminated a $27 billion budget deficit and boosted its credit rating to the highest level in more than a decade.

The impacts of climate change are already being felt in California and will disproportionately impact the state’s most vulnerable populations.

Photo captions can be found below:

1.) Governor Brown after signing AB 398. Photo credit: California State Senate.
2.) Governor Brown gives remarks ahead of signing ceremony on Treasure Island. Photo credit: Emily Hagopian.

For high resolution copies of these photos, please contact Danella Debel, Office of the Governor at