California voters could decide future of
climate change program
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[August 05, 2016]
By Rory Carroll
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California voters could
decide whether to extend the state's pioneering climate change program
beyond 2020 when they go to the polls in two years, an official within
Governor Jerry Brown's administration said on Thursday.
Talk of a ballot initiative comes as a Brown-backed bill that would
require the state to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases to 40 percent
below 1990 levels by 2030 has stalled, despite polls showing high public
support for the measure.
Backers of the bill, SB 32, want it to pass both chambers of the
California state legislature with a two-thirds majority, which would
help defuse a lawsuit against the state's carbon cap-and-trade system,
which claims the program amounts to an illegal tax.
Closed door negotiations between Brown, the legislature, and
manufacturers including oil companies have so far failed to produce a
compromise acceptable to all sides.
On Thursday, Nancy McFadden, executive secretary for the Brown
administration, said it was a fallacy to believe that if the bill does
not pass by the end of the month - the deadline for each house to pass
legislation in the current session - it will break the state's climate
McFadden said if all legislative efforts failed this year, and next, the
administration could put forward a ballot initiative.
"Let's be clear: We are going to extend our climate goals and
cap-and-trade program – one way or another," McFadden said in a tweet.
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"The Governor will continue working with the Legislature to get this
done this year, next year or on the ballot in 2018," she said.
California is currently on target to meet its goal of scaling back
its output of heat trapping greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020.
California uses a suite of measures administered by the California
Air Resources Board to attack emissions including cap and trade and
a low carbon fuel standard program, which seeks to reduce the carbon
content of transportation fuels over time.
A survey by the Public Policy Institute of California last month
found strong support for California's climate change program, with
68 percent of respondents saying they favor setting a 2030 target.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Andrew Hay)
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