New California Laws Will Help Our Air and Atmosphere

By Bill Magavern

As a delegate to last week’s Global Climate Action Summit, I had a chance to hear from eminent climate scientists, elected officials, advocates and business leaders. One event closely tied to our California policy work was an evening ride on San Francisco Bay on the Enhydra, a plug-in hybrid ferry making its maiden voyage in the Golden State. Governor Brown was on board and chose the occasion to sign into law 16 different bills affecting climate and air quality.

Among the new laws that Coalition for Clean Air supported are:

SB 1014, California Clean Miles Standard, authored by Senator Nancy Skinner: ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft will have targets for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, including goals for increasing passenger-miles traveled using zero-emission vehicles;

SB 1013, California Cooling Act, authored by Senator Ricardo Lara: will incentivize early adoption of climate-friendly cooling systems by businesses and families and avoid locking in super-pollutant refrigerants for many years.

AB 193, Zero-Emission Assurance Project, authored by Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes: will create a rebate program to replace batteries, fuel cells or other components of used electric vehicles to make them more affordable and accessible to more Californians, especially those from disadvantaged and low-income communities.

SB 957, authored by Senator Ricardo Lara, will also help low-income Californians access clean transportation, by making those drivers eligible for high-occupancy vehicle lane access if they purchase used zero-emission vehicles.

With the Governor’s earlier signing of SB 100 by Senator Kevin de León, California will continue our rapid greening of the electric grid, reaching at least 50 percent renewable electricity by 2026 and 60 percent by 2030, with a goal of attaining a fully carbon-free power system by 2045. That means that our electric cars will become cleaner and cleaner as time goes on, contributing to ever greater reductions in the emissions that damage our health and disrupt our climate.

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