Our 2022 California Climate Wins

John Howe, Policy Analyst

Date: 09/08/2022

With the California legislative session complete, (whew!) there is a lot to reflect on and celebrate.

There have been many victories this year for climate action, signaling that we’re collectively moving in the right direction. There is more work to be done, including encouraging the Governor to sign a few crucial climate bills into law, but first, please take a moment to watch a new message from our public affairs director, Heidi Harmon.

A message to you from Heidi.

Alright, now let’s talk about the Newsom administration's work on climate. Over the summer, the California Air Resources Board — which directs a great deal of California’s climate actions – proposed updates to its Advanced Clean Cars Program (which encourages Californians to make the switch to clean cars). The original Clean Cars Program began in 2012 and was later adopted by 17 additional states, reinforcing California’s position as a leader in the climate space and cutting greenhouse gas emissions across the nation. The newly updated clean cars program (AKA Advanced Clean Cars II) ensures that all new vehicles sold in California, beginning in 2035, are zero emission vehicles (ZEVs). Take a moment to think about that: toxic tailpipe emissions will soon be a thing of the past!

Toxic tailpipe pollution can contribute to childhood asthma.

Advanced Clean Cars II also includes programs that make electric vehicles more accessible and affordable for lower income Californians. For example, the program offers "environmental justice credits" to auto manufacturers that sell new vehicles costing less than $20,000. California already has the highest ZEV purchase rate in the country (16% of new car sales are ZEVs) and the Advanced Clean Cars II program will help that number increase while improving air quality and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. That’s something to celebrate.

Another big win for the climate movement is the historic $54 billion multi-year climate investment in the state budget. These critical investments will go toward clean energy infrastructure, ZEV adoption, energy reliability, wildfire and drought resilience. The Governor’s $6 billion allocation for clean transportation will go toward initiatives like battery-powered school buses and EV incentives — which will be transformed into point of sale incentives by our clean car equity bill SB 1230!

On the legislative side of things, the state house worked until the final hours of the legislative session to pass a suite of climate legislation, including the groundbreaking environmental justice bill SB 1137. But, these bills all require the Governor’s signature to become law. Our LGCA team has identified seven priority bills, which ensure significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, equitable access to clean transportation, and environmental justice. Getting these bills signed into law (including our own SB 1230!) is our final policy challenge of 2022. So, I want to thank you for the hard work you’ve done to get us to this point and invite you to join me in urging the Governor to sign these priority bills. You can learn more about our priority legislation below!

Decarbonization and Environmental Justice:

SB 1137 (Gonzalez) requires that there is a buffer zone of 3,200 feet between all new oil and gas drilling wells from homes, schools, and hospitals. There are an estimated 2.7 million residents that live this close to an oil and gas well, which is known to cause asthma and other health problems, and this bill will set strict standards to ensure the public's protection from the oil and gas industry.

SB 1020 (Laird) is the Clean Energy, Jobs, and Affordability Act of 2022. This bill will accelerate our state’s clean energy goals by setting near-term milestones—90% clean energy by 2035 and 95% by 2040. It also mandates an updated scoping plan every five years. Lastly, by directly addressing energy affordability, SB 1020 supports working families, minorities, and low-income populations.

SB 1314 (Limón) would ensure that carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) projects do not result in increased oil production. CCUS is a process that uses the pressure from pumping carbon underground to extract additional oil that would not be recoverable otherwise.

Clean Transportation and Equity:

SB 1230 (Limón) would accelerate the state's transition to clean transportation by simplifying and streamlining existing clean car incentive programs and by making them available at point of sale. This latter element is a critically important change that will enable program participation on scale by low-income Californians, many of whom do not have sufficient liquidity to pay increased costs now and receive rebates later. (We’re co-sponsors of this bill, together with the Dolores Huerta Foundation, and we’re so proud of our team for getting it through the legislature!)

AB 1919 (Holden) would create a five year grant program for transit agencies to create, maintain, subsidize, and expand K-12 youth and college student free transit pass programs. Increasing access to public transit reduces our dependence on cars and provides new opportunities for the youth. (Shout out to former LGCA intern Lisette Jones who worked on this bill!)

AB 1738 (Horvath) would require apartment buildings and multi-family units to install EV charging stations and infrastructure in common area parking lots during retrofitting projects.

SB 1482 (Allen) would increase EV charging equity by requiring that all newly constructed multi-family housing units have access to an EV-ready parking space.

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Tell Newsom: Enact Key Climate Bills!

California’s 2022 legislative session has come to an end, but our work isn’t done yet! We’re calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to sign and enact a series of key climate bills to ensure significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, equitable access to clean transportation and environmental justice. Send a message to the Governor today and urge him to sign SB 1137, SB 1020, SB 1314, SB 1230, SB 1482 and AB 1738.