Climate Emperor Brown of California and the defeat of SB 32

September 18, 2015 | By PACIFIC LEGAL FOUNDATION

Last week, the California Legislature resoundingly rejected Governor’s Brown’s efforts to cut carbon dioxide emissions beyond the levels required by AB 32, which requires California to reduce emissions in the state to 1990 levels by 2020.  The proposed new law, known oddly enough as SB 32, would have required substantial further reductions in state emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.  That was more than even the Democrat-heavy California Assembly could stomach, and the bill was killed on the Assembly Floor.

Undaunted, Governor Brown declared that he would move forward without the legislation in requiring the 80% cuts.  He cited his executive order of a few months ago as authority for requiring the drastic and economically hurtful emissions reductions of carbon dioxide, a ubiquitous, natural substance essential to life on this planet.  Because carbon dioxide is everywhere and in everything, regulating that substance means regulating virtually every aspect of life.  In pursuit of that goal in California, Brown has directed over a dozen state regulatory agencies, spearheaded by CARB, to regulate California’s economic life, including oil production, farming, transportation, construction, and water distribution.  Not one aspect of California’s economy will be unaffected.  To implement such a far-reaching and unprecedented regulatory program, the state will need to find enormous financial resources. Where is that money coming from?

That’s right.  Brown will use the money collected at auction under CARB’s cap-and-trade rules. Those funds are estimated to total tens of billions of dollars by 2020.  There is only one way to stop Brown from using those funds.  PLF needs to succeed in its lawsuit challenging the auctions as illegal taxes under Proposition 13 of the California Constitution. The case is pending in the Third Judicial District of the California Court of Appeal.  A hearing date will likely be set for this winter.