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California Climate Proposal Passes In A Rare Bipartisan Effort

19 Julio 2017, 05:14 | Bibiana Flor

California Climate Proposal Passes In A Rare Bipartisan Effort

California Climate Proposal Passes In A Rare Bipartisan Effort

"I didn't know where it was going a few days ago", Brown said, acknowledging the difficulty in winning support.

Still, Brown used his fellow lawmaker's concerns about the climate and fears of a Trump administration's possible effect on the environment to gain support. In fact some progressive groups complained that the bipartisan negotiations had resulted in a monstrosity of a plan overly favorable to corporate interests.

This was a big deal, since it will shape California's energy policy through 2030 - long after Brown and most current lawmakers have left office. He has tried to put a fresh face on the party, steering clear of President Donald Trump, who is unpopular in California, and looking to engage - from a conservative perspective - on issues like climate and poverty that are often seen as Democratic priorities. But a deal to extend cap and trade, the state's signature program to combat climate change, has controlled the discussion at the Capitol. "That's what good government looks like", Brown said in a statement Monday night. "Why are Republicans talking about something like cap and trade?"

"Today, we proved that Sacramento can rise above the partisan fray of our country to do right for all Californians", said Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley, one of the supportive Republicans, in a statement.

While other governors and mayors have pledged to double-down on green initiatives and other carbon-cutting regulations, Brown has remained steadfast in his cap-and-trade approach.

State Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Modesto, defended his Yes vote, saying he refuses to sit on the "sideline". Jerry Brown said legislatures must meet to avoid any potential legal challenges.

But polluting industries that participate in cap and trade-oil companies, utilities, food processors and others-broadly agree that cap and trade will cost less than the alternatives.

The existing cap and trade program raised gas prices by 11 cents a gallon, the state's Legislative Analyst reported a year ago.

Last week, the governor sent a clear message regarding the importance of cap and trade: "You're going to be alive in a awful situation", he warned a state Senate committee, citing future mass migrations and forest fires. It allows power plants, oil refineries, factories and other large polluters to earn money by selling credits to emit greenhouse gases if they reduce their own emissions, providing an incentive.

State lawmakers have approved a 10-year extension for California's cap-and-trade program.

Activists were similarly fired up about the cap and trade measure.

While the business community was supportive of the bill, environmentalists - a critical constituency in the state - were split: Some opposed it, arguing that the bill was not tough enough on industry.

If Mayes' assessment of the California GOP is correct, it might explain why the state's hostile business climate has prompted many companies to flee the Golden State for more business-friendly states.

Brown gave a passionate presentation to the state Assembly on Thursday in support of the measure.

Still, the cap-and-trade extension bill faced stiff opposition from Democrats and Republicans alike in the weeks leading up to the vote, prompting last minute pleas from Democrats and a near apocalyptic address from Brown about a California devastated by climate change.

"I focused on what was the best policy, not what would be the party line", Baker said. Numerous bill's opponents in the senate noted that California represents just 1 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.



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