On April 29, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed Executive Order B-30-15, which establishes “[a] new interim greenhouse gas emission reduction target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030…” (Executive Order B-30-15, ¶ 1, at http://gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=18938.) The Executive Order requires the California Air Resources Board to express the 2030 target in terms of million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. (Id. at ¶ 3.) The Executive Order also requires state agencies consider “full life-cycle cost accounting” when making future planning and investment decisions. (Id. at ¶ 6.) To help state agencies incorporate climate change impacts into planning and investment decisions, the Executive order requires the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research to establish a technical, advisory group on the issue.
On June 1, 2005, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Executive Order S-3-05, which among other goals established a target to achieve statewide GHG emissions that are 80 percent below the 1990 levels by 2050. Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-30-15 does not replace Governor Schwarzenegger earlier 2050 target. Rather, as explained in Executive Order B-30-15, this new interim target will “ensure California meets its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.” (Ibid.) Therefore, Executive Order B-30-15 provides support for the conclusion that a project found consistent with Executive Order B-30-15 is consistent with Executive Order S-3-05.
In addition to establishing a new interim target, the Executive Order requires the California Natural Resources Agency (Resources Agency) to update the state’s climate adaptation strategy, Safeguarding California, every three years and to ensure that the strategy is fully implemented. Among other requirements, the strategy must identify a lead agency or group of agencies that are responsible for adaptation efforts in, at least, the following sectors: water, energy, transportation, public health, agriculture, emergency services, forestry, biodiversity and habitat, and ocean and coastal resources. (Executive Order B-30-15, ¶ 4.) The lead agencies for each sector must, by September 2015, outline the actions in their sector that will be taken as identified in Safeguarding California and must report back to the Resources Agency on their success by June 2016. (Id., ¶ 5.)
Finally, the Executive Order also requires the state to take current and future climate change impacts into account in all infrastructure projects identified in the state’s Five-Year Infrastructure Plan. (Executive Order B-30-15, ¶ 8.)
Several bills are pending this legislative session that relate to future GHG targets for the state. For example, AB 21 would require a statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit for 2030 to be established by 2018. SB 32 would require a statewide GHG emission limit equivalent to Executive Order S-3-05’s goal of 80% below the 1990 level by 2050 and authorizes interim greenhouse gas emissions level targets to be established for 2030 and 2040. AB 33 would establish a Climate Change Advisory Council with the duty to develop and analyze strategies to achieve the statewide GHG emissions limit as defined by AB 32 in 2006. Thomas Law Group will continue to monitor if and how pending legislation is amended to respond to Executive Order B-30-15.