How should California regulate greenhouse gas emissions after 2020?

State law sets carbon reduction goals for 2020. Politicians, regulators and special interests have spent the last eight years claiming credit, writing regulations, wrangling lawsuits, fighting a ballot measure, and spending money taxed from just a few companies.

Carbon Regulation in California
California is a national leader in regulating carbon, even more conspicuously by the absence of comprehensive regulation in other states or by the federal government.

Toward the end of the last economic expansion, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature agreed to a landmark statute setting mandatory goals for greenhouse gas emission reductions. AB 32, by then-Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles), directed the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to develop a regulatory scheme reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. This is the equivalent of a 30% reduction in emissions compared to a “business as usual” trend.
Climate Change

Related Business Issue: Energy


Monitor implementation of AB 32 climate change legislation and its impact on California businesses, including Air Resources Board (ARB) activities;

Support risk management and corporate strategies to help lessen the financial burden of climate change mitigation efforts;

Support national/global efforts that could help California businesses grow and promote their technologies/services elsewhere.

Major Victories

Stopped proposals leading to fuel price increases, including two that increased energy costs by allocating funds from an illegal tax to various programs that are not needed to cost-effectively implement the market-based trading mechanism under AB 32, the state’s landmark climate change law.


The CalChamber will continue working to ensure that any of the regulatory mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as cap-and-trade, renewable electricity mandates, and low-carbon fuels, are implemented at least cost to the economy. Before extending the current mandate beyond 2020, the Legislature should independently evaluate the cost and benefits of the state’s current climate change programs and understand what has and has not worked.

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Amy-Mmagu-2011-300x300Amy Mmagu
Policy Advocate
Climate Change,
Energy, Environmental