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The Legislature’s bills on corporate carbon emissions, air quality regulation, and other climate-related issues will show whether it and its current leadership are prepared to act quickly to address climate change in this year’s session. Their handling of these bills will be a sign that Democratic legislators have the fortitude to prioritize climate action over financial calculations and influential trade groups that oppose it.
Senate Bill 260 Senate Bill 342Legislators from the Democratic Party, which is supposedly climate-conscious and science-based, continue to ambivalence proposals that were rejected last year. State senators will be again guilty of the same dereliction of duty that killed dozens of people if neither of these proposals gets enough votes this week. Sensible climate change legislationThese numbers have increased over the past few decades.
SB 260, also known as the Climate Corporate Accountability Act (or Climate Corporate Accountability Act), would require corporations with more than $1 billion in revenue to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions. San Francisco Sen. Scott Wiener’s bill would arm state regulators with the data to ensure California’s biggest companies are reducing emissions to meet the state’s clean energy goals.
California has good reasons to be the leader on this front. California-based Chevron, with a revenue of almost $95B last year, is the leader. Largest polluter owned by an investoron the planet. Chevron trailed only Apple and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, among California’s largest publicly traded companies last year. A 2017 study found that 100 companies accounted for more than 70% of the world’s carbon emissions.
Senator Lena Gonzalez, Long Beach, authored SB 342, which would allow the state of California to add two people who reside and work in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, or San Bernardino counties to the South Coast Air Quality Management District board of 13 members. The goal of the bill is to include an environmental justice perspective on a board that regulates quality air. One of the most polluted parts of the countryIt has been Be consumed by partisan politics.
It’s not surprising that the influential State Building and Construction Trades Council of California opposes the bill. This has caused moderate Democrats to turn their backs to an equity-minded proposition that could help neglected Southern Californian communities breathe cleaner air.
Toni Atkins, Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins has the responsibility. Mike McGuire is the new Majority LeaderSonoma County to take the initiative on both bills and to get the votes needed to send them to the Assembly. Atkins’ inaction in her final year of service as Senate leader could be a sign that the Senate has become a graveyard for climate legislation.
While neither bill represents a dramatic turn in California’s handling of the climate crisis, both are meaningful and needed. Private corporations have a significant role to play in reducing carbon emissions, and expanding the South Coast’s air quality board empowers citizens to bypass unjust political games and improve the health of their communities.
California cannot accept the indifference of Senator Democrats like Atkins on climate policy. These bills will decide whether the climate promises made recently are true or just more fuel for future fires.
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This story was originally published in January 25, 2022, 5:00 AM
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