Highlights of the California Climate Change Program

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May 2015 - Under 2 MOU.

California initiated a first-of-its-kind agreement with international leaders from 11 other states and provinces, to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius. Since May, other governments continue to join the MOU. If the signatories represented a single country, it would be the second largest economy in the world behind only the United States.

April 2015 - California sets 2030 target for greenhouse gas (GH) emissions.

Governor Brown issued Executive Order B-30-15, which sets a GHG emissions target for 2030 at 40 percent below 1990 levels.

January 2015 - Governor Brown announces five pillars of climate change policy.

In his inaugural address, Governor Brown identified five key climate change “pillars” for obtaining GHG emission reduction by 2030: 50 percent renewable electricity; 50 percent reduction in petroleum use by vehicles; double energy efficiency savings at existing buildings; carbon sequestration in the land base; reduce short-lived climate pollutants.

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November 2014 - California and Quebec hold their first joint auction.

California and the Canadian province of Quebec held a joint auction of greenhouse gas cap-and-trade allowances, an important milestone in the development and linking of the cap-and-trade program.

September 2014 - The California Energy Commission and federal agencies release the Draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan.

The Draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan will help provide effective protection and conservation of desert ecosystems while allowing for the appropriate development of renewable energy projects. The Plan will result in an efficient and effective biological mitigation and conservation program providing renewable project developers with permit timing and cost certainty under the federal and California Endangered Species Acts while at the same time preserving, restoring and enhancing natural communities and related ecosystems. Approximately 22.5 million acres of federal and non-federal California desert land are in the Plan area.

August 2014 - The number of plug-in vehicles in California passes 100,000.

A huge milestone for electric vehicles was met with more than 100,000 plug-in electric vehicles sold in the state of California. From December 2010 through August 2014, 102,440 electric vehicles have been purchased.

July 2014 - California Natural Resources Agency releases Safeguarding California.

The Safeguarding California Plan is the update to the 2009 adaptation plan. Safeguarding California provides policy guidance for state decision makers to reduce climate change impacts and prepare for climate risks. The Plan focuses on nine areas: Agriculture, Biodiversity and Habitat, Emergency Management, Energy, Forestry, Ocean and Coastal Ecosystems and Resources, Public Health, Transportation, and Water.

June 2014 - Climate Action Team releases Draft California Climate Change Research Plan.

The Draft California Climate Change Research Plan presents priority research areas that should be addressed over the next three to five years to help identify, evaluate, refine, and implement successful mitigation and preparedness measures in California.

May 2014 - Air Resources Board approves First Update to the Scoping Plan.

In May 2014, the First Update to the AB 32 Scoping Plan was approved by the California Air Resources Board. The First Update defines CARB’s climate change priorities for the following five years and highlights progress towards the 2020 GHG emission reduction goals and longer-term GHG reduction strategies. The First Update also identifies opportunities to leverage existing and new funds to further drive greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions through strategic planning and targeted low carbon investments.

April 2014 - Air Resources Board adopts fifth offset protocol for cap and trade program.

The California Air Resources Board adopted the fifth compliance offset protocol, the Mine Methane Capture (MMC) protocol. The protocol will provide offset credit for the capture and destruction of methane for coal mining and operations in the United States. The MMC protocol was calculated to generate 30-60 million offsets starting in early 2015. The MMC protocol joins the other CARB offset protocols including U.S. Forest Projects, Urban Forest Projects, Livestock Projects, and Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS).

January 2014 - California links its greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program with Québec’s.

California and the Canadian province of Québec designed their cap-and-trade programs to link together. Starting January 1, 2014, California and Québec cap-and-trade allowances and offsets can be traded between or used in either jurisdiction.

January 2014 - Green Building Standards of 2013 go into effect.

The California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) adopted the 2013 edition of the California Building Standards Code (Title 24, California Code of Regulations). The Energy Commission's 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards are 25 percent more efficient than previous standards for residential construction and 30 percent better for nonresidential construction. The Standards, which take effect on January 1, 2014, offer builders better windows, insulation, lighting, ventilation systems and other features that reduce energy consumption in homes and businesses.

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October 2013 - California Department of Public Health and California Environmental Protection Agency release Preparing California for Extreme Heat.

Preparing California for Extreme Heat provides guidance for incorporating extreme heat projections, based on current climate change models, into planning and decision making in California. This guidance provides an overview of current climate change projections for increased temperature and extreme heat conditions for California, describes the health effects of extreme heat, and presents recommendations for state and local planners, local governments, emergency response, and public health and health care professionals and institutions.

September 2013 - The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research releases California @ 50 Million – discussion draft of Environmental Goals and Policies Report.

California @ 50 Million considers California’s future as home to 50 million people, a milestone the state is projected to hit by the middle of this century. The discussion draft invites input on aspects of the economy, population, and environment. Looking ahead, the Report focuses on the state’s sustainability efforts and response to climate change as the state’s population and economy grow.

August 2013 - The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment releases Indicators of Climate Change in California.

The Indicators of Climate Change in California report characterizes the multiple facets of climate change in California. In addition, the report tracks trends in greenhouse gas levels that influence climate, changes in the state’s climate, and the impacts of climate change on California’s environment and people. The goals of the report include addressing key aspects of climate change and promoting informed dialogue about the state’s efforts to monitor, mitigate, and prepare for climate change and its impacts.

January 2013 - Cap and trade compliance begins for industrial facilities and power plants.

Beginning January 2013, emissions from entities including industrial facilities and power are covered by the greenhouse gas Cap-and-Trade Program.

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November 2012 - First quarterly auction for cap and trade program occurs.

California held its first auction of greenhouse gas allowances on November 14, 2012. This was a landmark in the initiation of the greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program. Auctions have been held quarterly since.

July 2012 - California Emergency Management Agency and California Natural Resources Agency release California Adaptation Planning Guide.

The California Adaptation Planning Guide provides guidance to support regional and local communities in proactively addressing the unavoidable consequences of climate change. The Guide was developed under the guidance of an interagency steering committee and technical advisory panel. In addition, the Guide provides a step-by-step process for local and regional climate vulnerability assessment and adaptation strategy development.

January 2012 - Air Resources Board approves Advanced Clean Car Rules for model years 2017-2025.

The California Air Resources Board unanimously approved a package of new emissions rules for cars and light trucks through 2025. The Advanced Clean Cars program combined the control of smog-causing pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions into a single coordinated package of requirements for model years 2017 through 2025. Benefits of the Advanced Clean Cars program include: reducing operating and fuel costs, reducing smog by 75%, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 34%, introducing next-generation cars such as zero-emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles, and creating jobs.

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December 1, 2011 - Climate Change Handbook for Regional Water Planning Released

Developed cooperatively by DWR, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Resources Legacy Fund, and The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Climate Change Handbook for Regional Water Planning provides a framework for considering climate change in water management planning. Key decision considerations, resources, tools, and decision options are presented that will guide resource managers and planners as they develop means of adapting their programs to a changing climate. The handbook uses DWR's Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) planning framework as a model into which analysis of climate change impacts and planning for adaptation and mitigation can be integrated.

October 20, 2011 - Air Resources Board adopts the final Cap and Trade Regulation

Air Resources Board adopts a key element of the state's pioneering climate plan, Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32) California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. The cap-and trade program will now join a suite of other major measures as required under AB 32 to reach the equivalent of the 1990 level of greenhouse emissions by 2020. The regulation sets a statewide limit on sources responsible for 85 percent of California's greenhouse gas emissions and establishes a price signal needed to drive long-term investment in cleaner fuels and more efficient use of energy. The program is designed to provide covered entities the flexibility to seek out and implement the lowest-cost options to reduce emissions. Cap-and-trade will work with other climate programs to drive innovation and jobs and promote efficiency and clean energy. Also, it complements and supports California's existing efforts to reduce smog-forming and toxic air pollutants and improve energy efficiency in homes and businesses.

July 29, 2011 - Governor Brown Applauds White House for Following California's Lead on Clean Car Standard

President Obama announced the next phase in the Administration's program to increase fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks sold in the United States. These new standards will cover cars and light trucks for Model Years 2017-2025, requiring performance equivalent to 54.5 mpg in 2025 while reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 163 grams per mile.

May 16, 2011 - Caltrans integrates Guidance on Incorporating Sea Level Rise Report in projects

Department of Transportation (Caltrans) begins to incorporate sea level rise into the planning and design of projects vulnerable to the effects of sea level rise. The guidance provides sea level rise assumptions for the state along with criteria for determining when sea level rise should be incorporated into projects.

April 12, 2011- Governor Brown signed SBX1 2, requiring that one-third of the state's electricity come from renewable sources by December 31, 2020.

January 2011 - State Agency Greenhouse Gas Reduction Report Card Released

Under Section 12892 of Part 2.5 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code (as set forth in AB 1338, 2008), the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) is required to prepare an annual report describing state agency actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Cal/EPA is required to compile and organize this information in the form of a "Report Card".
January 2011 State Agency Report Card
January 2010 State Agency Report Card
February 2009 State Agency Report Card
March 2008 State Agency Report Card

January 1, 2011-California leads the nation in environmental literacy with the Education and Environment Initiative (EEI)

The Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) was signed into law in 2003 [Assembly Bill 1548 (Pavley, 2003) and AB 1721 (Pavley, 2005)]. It mandated a broad-ranging strategy to bring education about the environment into California's schools, most notably, the development of a K-12th grade, environment-based curriculum. The first-of-its-kind in the nation, the EEI Curriculum is comprised of 85 units, containing hundreds of Science and History-Social Science lessons that emphasize the cause and effect relationship between human actions and natural systems while teaching required academic content to mastery. The EEI Curriculum was developed by Cal/EPA in partnership with the California Department of Education, the Natural Resources Agency, and the State Board of Education, which officially approved the curriculum in 2010. The finalized curriculum began implementation in 2011, and more than 14,000 students received EEI instruction in just the first few months of availability. The ultimate goal is to make the EEI Curriculum accessible to all 6 million students throughout California.
See the EEI Curriculum.

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March 23, 2010- Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee Recommendations

Secretary Adams and Air Resources Board Chairman Nichols appointed a 16 member Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee (EAAC) on May 22, 2009. EAAC produced two major reports: advice on allocating allowances and allowance value under a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program, and advice and comments on ARB's economic modeling update on the AB 32 Scoping Plan.

June 1, 2010- Department of Forestry and Fire Protection released California's Forests and Rangelands: 2010 Assessment

This assessment identifies risks and vulnerabilities from climate change, a projection of forest growth and sequestration trends, and consideration of climate mitigation and adaptation interactions, including analysis of opportunities and benefits of using forest biomass residues for renewable energy.

July 7, 2010- Climate Action Team Adopted State of California Commitments

At its June 2010 quarterly meeting, the Climate Action Team adopted a set of policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the operation of state government. These measures are aimed at reducing impacts from information technology, employee travel, and building and fleet operations. Included in the policies is the development of a system for state-wide tracking of emissions from state government operations.

July 2010- Climate Action Team Releases Near-Term Implementation Plans

Each CAT working group developed a Near-term Implementation Plan summarizing the specific climate change mitigation measures and adaptation strategies being addressed by the working group. There were over 40 of these reports in 10 areas: agriculture, biodiversity, energy, forestry, land use, oceans, public health, research, state government operations, and water.

July 2010- Western Climate Initiative Program Design Released

The WCI partner jurisdictions released Design for the WCI Regional Program, providing detailed recommendations for the design of the regional cap-and-trade program. These recommendations are being used by WCI partner jurisdictions to develop cap-and-trade programs in their jurisdictions.

October 27, 2010- Climate Action Team Research Forum

The Research Working Group of the CAT held a workshop to improve coordination of climate change research efforts among state agencies. Both as funders and consumers of research, agency staff met to discuss policy relevance and priorities, coordination processes, and opportunities for collaboration on upcoming projects.

December 1, 2010-Department of Public Health releases Health Impact Assessment of a Cap-and-Trade Framework

The Department of Public Health and Climate Action Team Public Health Workgroup assessed the potential health effects that may stem from employment, energy costs, community investments, and various offset projects. This report suggests mitigation efforts to minimize potential health effects, and provides recommendations for improving health co-benefits associated with a cap-and-trade program. The Air Resources Board assessed the health impact of direct and indirect emissions as part of the regulatory process. Health impact assessment is a practical approach for bridging scientific data, health expertise, and public input with a public decision-making process.

December 2010 - 2010 Climate Action Team Report to the Governor and Legislature is released.

This report is mandated by Executive S-3-05 and Assembly Bill 32

December 2010 - Strategic Growth Council - Planning Grants

First round of grant awards, supporting SB 375 implementation, were made in December 2010.

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April 17, 2009- Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment releases Indicators of Climate Change in California (EPIC) report

Cal/EPA sponsored work by OEHHA to compile a list of indicators of climate change in California under their Environmental Protection Indicators for California program. Environmental indicators present scientifically-based information on the status of, and trends in, environmental conditions over time. These indicators are intended to assist environmental programs in evaluating the outcomes of their efforts and in identifying areas that require more attention.This report identifies 27 indicators that measure the impact of climate change on the state's temperatures, precipitation, land, water, people, plants, and animals. It concludes that changes in California are consistent with those occurring globally. This report documents that climate change is occurring in California with important consequences for the future. By monitoring these indicators, we can measure the impacts of climate change and provide information that helps regulators develop policies to respond to them.

April 23, 2009-Air Resources Board adopts Low-Carbon Fuel Standard

Air Resources Board adopted a regulation that will implement Executive Order-S-01-07 Low Carbon Fuel Standard for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from California's transportation fuels by ten percent by 2020. The regulation is designed to increase the use of alternative fuels, replacing 20 percent of the fuel used by cars in California with clean alternative fuels by 2020, including electricity, biofuels, hydrogen and other options.

June 2009- Environmental Justice Workshop and Research

As part of its sponsored research on environmental justice and climate change, Cal/EPA sponsored a workshop on interdisciplinary research on the subject in June 2009. A modeling tool developed under this same contract was presented to the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee in August 2010.

June 25, 2009-Air Resources Board adopts Regulation to Reduce Methane Emissions from Municipal Solid Waste Landfills

The regulation was developed to reduce methane emissions from municipal solid waste landfills (MSW). Methane is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG) having a high global warming potential of about 21 times that of carbon dioxide. It requires owners and operators of certain uncontrolled MSW landfills to install gas collection and control systems, and requires existing and newly installed gas collection and control systems to operate in an optimal manner. This regulation addresses the solid waste sector identified in the GHG reduction measures, as described in the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Assembly Bill 32) and will be effective on June 17, 2010.

October 2009- Strategic Growth Council - Modeling Incentive funds

Grants totaling $12 million were awarded in October 2009, to support modeling related to SB375 implementation.

December 2, 2009-Natural Resources Agency releases 2009 California Climate Adaptation Strategy

A first-of-its-kind multi-sector strategy to help guide California's efforts in adapting to climate change impacts, this report summarizes the best known science on climate change impacts in seven specific sectors and provides recommendations on how to manage against those threats. Cal/EPA staff provided input and fiscal support for the preparation of the California Climate Adaptation Strategy report, which was mandated by Executive Order-S-13-08 that specifically asked the Natural Resources Agency to identify how state agencies can respond to rising temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, sea level rise, and extreme natural events.

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February 28, 2008- Economic and Technology Advancement Advisory Committee (ETAAC) Recommendations

ARB heard recommendations by ETAAC from their report Recommendations of the Economic and Technology Advancement Advisory Committee (ETAAC) Final Report-Technologies and Policies to Consider for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in California, which included 55 specific recommendations for greenhouse gas reduction strategies in the areas of finance; transportation; industrial commercial and residential end users; electricity and natural gas; agriculture; forestry; and water policy.

September 23, 2008- WCI Cap-and-Trade Program Design Recommendations

The WCI partner jurisdictions released Design Recommendations for the WCI Regional Cap-and-Trade Program, recommending a design for a broad cap-and-trade program as part of a comprehensive regional effort to reduce emissions of global warming pollution to achieve the WCI 2020 regional emissions goal.

November 19, 2008-Founding of the Governors' Climate and Forests Task Force

At the Governors' Global Climate Summit, California signed an agreement with eight sub-national governments to focus on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) programs. This agreement led to the founding of the Governors' Climate and Forests (GCF) Task Force which has been active since this time in designing potential offset mechanisms for use in the AB 32 cap-and-trade program. There are currently 14 state and provincial members of the Task Force from the U.S., Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico and Nigeria.

December 11, 2008-Air Resources Board adopts the AB 32 Scoping Plan

This Scoping Plan is a central requirement of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Núñez, Pavley), that requires California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The plan is built on the principle that a balanced mix of strategies is the best way to cut emissions by approximately 30 percent, and grow the economy in a clean and sustainable direction.

December 2008-Climate Action Team Reports for AB 32 Scoping Plan

The sub-groups of the CAT prepared detailed reports for greenhouse gas emission reduction measures that were utilized in designing the AB 32 Scoping Plan. Sectors addressed were: agriculture, cement, energy, forestry, green buildings, recycling and waste management, state fleet, and water.

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January 9, 2007- Low Carbon Fuel Standard Executive Order S-01-07 Issued

This first-of-its kind standard will support AB 32 emissions targets as part of California's overall strategy to fight global warming, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and lower California's reliance on foreign oil. Executive Order S-01-07 mandated establishing a groundbreaking Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) for transportation fuels sold in California. By 2020, the standard will reduce the carbon intensity of California's passenger vehicle fuels by at least 10 percent.

February 27, 2007- Creation of the Western Climate Initiative

Through a Memorandum of Understanding five founding partner jurisdictions created the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) to collaborate on programs and policies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. The WCI is a collaboration of independent jurisdictions who commit to work together to identify, evaluate, and implement policies to tackle climate change at a regional level.

June 30, 2007-Market Advisory Committee Recommendations

The Market Advisory Committee, created by the Secretary of Environmental Protection, released its report Recommendations for Designing a Greenhouse Gas Cap-and-Trade System for California. This report outlined consensus design options for the ARB to consider in designing a cap-and-trade system under AB 32.

August 22, 2007- Western Climate Initiative Establishes a Regional Emissions Reduction Goal

The partner jurisdictions of the Western Climate Initiative established a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, consistent with California's AB 32 2020 emissions goal.

August 24, 2007 - Governor's Office of Planning and Research to develop GHG and CEQA guidelines

Senate Bill 97(Dutton, Chapter 185, Statutes of 2007) directs Governor's Office of Planning and Research to develop CEQA guidelines for the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions or the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, which are subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). These guidelines are intended to help lead agencies meet their CEQA obligations.

Nov. 17, 2007-The UN IPCC releases Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report

The Synthesis Report finds that the world will have to end its growth of carbon emissions within seven years and become mostly free of carbon-emitting technologies in about four decades to avoid widespread extinctions of species, slowing of global currents, decreased food production, loss of 30 percent of global wetlands, flooding for millions of people and higher deaths from heat waves.

December 6, 2007-Air Resources Board approves a Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Regulation

The Air Resources Board approved a mandatory reporting regulation for the state's largest stationary facilities, which is required by the California Global Warming Solutions Act. It will be effective January 2009.

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April 3, 2006- Final Climate Action Team Report to the Governor and Legislature

The first Climate Action Team report was released detailing the potential greenhouse gas mitigation measures necessary to reach the goals of Executive Order S-3-05 (rolling back greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 back to 1990 levels). The report also detailed the research into impacts of climate change in California, coordinated by the CAT.

September 27, 2006- Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006

To respond to the challenge of climate change, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Assembly Bill 32 - Núñez ) was signed into law. California's landmark bill established a first-in-the-world comprehensive program of regulatory and market mechanisms to achieve real, quantifiable, cost-effective reductions of greenhouse gases. AB 32 provides authority for multiple efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. The law sets an economy-wide cap on California greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by no later than 2020 and establishes a goal of reducing emissions to 80 percent below 1990 emission levels in 2050.

September 29, 2006 PUC and CEC Establish Emission Performance Standards

Senate Bill 1368 (Stats. 2006, Ch. 598) was passed which required the Public Utilities Commission and the Energy Commission to implement an emissions performance standard for all retail providers of electricity in the state. For any long-term commitment (five years or longer) to buy or build generation to serve California retail customers, emissions must be limited to 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) per megawatt-hour of electricity delivered. This is roughly equivalent to the emissions from a new combined cycle natural gas turbine.

October 18, 2006- Executive Order S-20-06 creates Advisory Committees for AB 32

The Governor's Executive Order S-20-06 directs inter-agency climate coordination and establishes the Market Advisory Committee and Economic and Technology Advancement Advisory Committee. The purpose of the Market Advisory Committee is to make recommendations on the design of a market-based compliance program for reducing greenhouse gases and report these findings by June 30, 2007. The purpose of the Economic and Technology Advancement Advisory Committee is to advise ARB on GHG emission-control technologies and policies to advance these technologies and report these recommendations by June 1, 2008.

Other Climate Activities in 2006

California switched to new ultra low sulfur diesel fuel in 2006.

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June 1, 2005- Secretary of Cal/EPA Establishes Climate Action Team (CAT)

Executive Order S-3-05 mandated the Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) to coordinate statewide efforts to implement global warming emission reduction programs and the state's Climate Adaptation Strategy with various state agencies.

The Executive Order placed Cal/EPA as the lead coordinating State agency. The Secretary of Cal/EPA created a multi-agency team, the Climate Action Team (CAT) to meet the directives in the Executive Order. The CAT has focused on coordination of greenhouse gas mitigation measures, climate change adaptation efforts and climate change research. The CAT has largely done its work through sector based working groups of which there are currently ten staffed by the CAT members (Agriculture, Biodiversity, Energy, Forestry, Land Use, Oceans, Public Health, Research, State Government Operations, Water).

September 29, 2005-State Alternative Fuels Plan

Assembly Bill (AB) 1007, (Pavley, Chapter 371, Statutes of 2005) required the California Energy Commission to prepare a state plan to increase the use of alternative fuels in California (State Alternative Fuels Plan). The Energy Commission prepared the plan in partnership with the California Air Resources Board, and in consultation with the other state, federal, and local agencies. In preparing the State Alternative Fuels Plan, the Committee incorporated and builds on the work currently underway within the Bio-Energy Interagency Working Group, the work of other agencies, and also examined the broader suite of alternative fuels that could benefit California's transportation market.

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August 16, 2004-Secretary of Cal/EPA to Coordinate Climate Change Activities

Under SB 1107 (Chapter 230, Statutes of 2004), the Secretary of Cal/EPA was given the responsibility to coordinate climate change activities in state government. The Secretary convened a climate change working group comprised of agency and department heads to address greenhouse gas reduction strategies.