California Climate Bill Vetoed But Not Forgotten

Arnold, the Green Bill Terminator, is back
Arnold, the Green Bill Terminator, is back
After several months of in-district meetings with legislators, op-eds, letters, calls, and action alerts by over 90 stakeholder groups and their members, the campaign to pass Assembly Bill 1404 achieved what few at the beginning could have hoped for -- it passed the state legislature.

According to Erin Rogers of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), which spearheaded the campaign, one of the Senators who was on the fence until about 2:00 a.m. the morning of the final vote (who did end up voting in favor) told their policy coordinator that "the entire Western hemisphere came by or called my office this evening."

A month later, the bill was vetoed by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Most of us expected this to happen. After all, the Governor wants California to lead in green development only if it doesn't threaten the status quo too much. However, his veto message was carefully crafted to make no direct comments on the substance of the bill, but simply claimed that the bill was premature because the California Air Resource Board (CARB) in charge of our state's climate change program has not yet made its final recommendations on how to design California's cap and trade program.

Although the veto was disappointing to say the least, at least CARB and state legislators have heard the message loud and clear: we, the people of California -- from clean tech, business, labor, public health, and social equity, to environmental groups, experts, and the general public -- demand better. Better jobs, better technology, better air quality. California's current climate change program, with its excessive offsets limit (49% of all reductions!) and support for a program that benefits destructive hydro projects overseas, won't get us there. We will continue to work with CARB to make sure this message is not forgotten.

More information: 

Read the letter from the Union of Concerned Scientists to CARB's Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee

Learn more about California's climate change program

Global Warming Glossary