PublicationHearing Testimony at the California Senate Hearing on SB32 (Pavley)

April 29, 2015
Publication Type:


April 29, 2015 Tes­ti­mony of Pro­fes­sor Daniel M. Kam­men[1]


SB 32: Cli­mate Pol­lu­tion Reduc­tion Beyond 2020: Health­ier Com­mu­ni­ties and a Stronger Econ­omy[2]


The Global Warm­ing Solu­tions Act (Pavely-​​Nunez 2006) estab­lished a frame­work to reduce California’s green­house gas emis­sions to the 1990 lev­els by 2020, or by roughly 80 mil­lion met­ric tons of car­bon diox­ide equiv­a­lent (MMT CO2e). AB32 built on California’s long his­tory of energy, envi­ron­men­tal and pub­lic health lead­er­ship. Cal­i­for­nia is on path and pace to achieve these mile­stones in achiev­ing cli­mate pro­tec­tion, based on a series of mutu­ally sup­port­ing poli­cies, which include: a renew­able energy port­fo­lio stan­dard (RPS); a low-​​carbon fuel stan­dard; and a suite of build­ing, appli­ance, water and other effi­ciency stan­dards; low-​​carbon trans­porta­tion policies.


The green jobs ben­e­fit: California’s lead­er­ship in defin­ing and work­ing to achieve these goals, as well as in estab­lish­ing impor­tant mile­stones for dis­trib­uted solar energy and elec­tric vehi­cle deploy­ment among other tar­gets has cre­ated a cli­mate of inno­va­tion, job cre­ation, and global lead­er­ship. This effort has demon­stra­bly led to sig­nif­i­cant job cre­ation, reduced health costs through a cleaner envi­ron­ment, and sig­nif­i­cant and ongo­ing cre­ation of new com­pa­nies, wealth, and intel­lec­tual prop­erty. The job cre­ation alone that has resulted from this pro­gram has been well doc­u­mented (see: https://​rael​.berke​ley​.edu/​p​r​o​j​e​c​t​/​g​r​e​e​n​-​j​o​bs/).[3]


The return to the 1990 emis­sion base­line is only a first step in mean­ing­ful cli­mate pro­tec­tion, but one that Cal­i­for­nia has demon­strated can be achieved with pos­i­tive effects on the state econ­omy, and with sig­nif­i­cant quan­tifi­able ben­e­fits for human and envi­ron­men­tal health, as well as reduced long-​​term and cat­a­strophic risks to the state’s key indus­tries, infra­struc­ture, and qual­ity of life. SB32 would extend the mis­sion of inno­va­tion, job-​​creation, and global lead­er­ship to meet the 80% emis­sions reduc­tion goal that has been iden­ti­fied by the Inter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change and many other sci­en­tific assess­ments as a nec­es­sary level of cli­mate protection.


Cal­i­for­nia and the global cli­mate objec­tive: While Cal­i­for­nia is under 2% of total anthro­pogenic green­house gas emis­sions, it plays a crit­i­cal role in achiev­ing the global goal of 80% or more emis­sions reduc­tion. In the last year we have seen sig­nif­i­cant steps for­ward to meet the world­wide process of emis­sions reduc­tions in the form of a US-​​China cli­mate accord, which uti­lizes sig­nif­i­cant ele­ments of the Cal­i­for­nia AB32/​SB32 process. Recently Mex­ico announced a 25% emis­sions reduc­tion com­mit­ment, with fur­ther tar­gets pos­si­ble if coop­er­a­tive global actions are taken as well. The Mex­i­can emis­sions tar­get is based in part on coor­di­na­tion and align­ment with the cli­mate goals of California.

The pos­i­tive eco­nom­ics of SB32: A num­ber of assess­ments of the tech­ni­cal fea­si­bil­ity and eco­nomic impact of meet­ing both the AB32 and SB32 goals have been com­pleted and are under­way. In the energy sys­tem mod­el­ing work in my lab­o­ra­tory, we have found that a diverse set of path­ways are pos­si­ble that all meet the 2020, 2030, 2040, and 2050 cli­mate goals.[4] A key find­ing of this work is that except for cases where energy effi­ciency is not aggres­sively pur­sued, the costs of meet­ing clean energy tar­gets pre­sented by Gov­er­nor Brown for 2030 and the 80% reduc­tion tar­get for 2050 are all tech­ni­cally achiev­able and eco­nom­i­cally rea­son­able (Fig­ure 1). In fact, a num­ber of the low-​​carbon 2050 path­ways are less costly than what elec­tric­ity is fore­cast to cost with­out a cli­mate target.

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 7.37.20 AM

California’s cli­mate tar­gets cre­ate jobs and eco­nomic growth: The key les­son from the work of my lab­o­ra­tory and many other groups is that coor­di­na­tion across the energy, trans­porta­tion, build­ing, agri­cul­tural, and other sec­tors is vital to achieve these goals in an eco­nom­i­cally effi­cient fash­ion. In fact the job cre­ation in the form of direct employ­ment but also, crit­i­cally, in wealth cre­ation through new inno­v­a­tive com­pa­nies is a true, last­ing, and global ben­e­fit of the process that AB32 started and SB32 would continue.


[1] Daniel Kam­men is Pro­fes­sor of Energy at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia Berke­ley with appoint­ments in the Energy and Resources Group, the Gold­man School of Pub­lic Pol­icy, and the Depart­ment of Nuclear Engi­neer­ing. He is the direc­tor of the Renew­able and Appro­pri­ate Energy Lab­o­ra­tory (rael​.berke​ley​.edu), and a Coor­di­nat­ing Lead Author for the Inter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Email: Kammen@​berkeley.​edu

[2]   SB32 Author: Sen­a­tor Fran Pavley, with Co-​​Authors: Sen­a­tors Allen, Beall, Block, De León, Han­cock, Hill, Jack­son, Leno, Liu, McGuire, Mon­ning, And Wolk, and Assem­bly Mem­bers Bloom, Cristina Gar­cia, Ren­don, And Mark Stone.

[3]   Wei, M., Pata­dia, S. and Kam­men, D. M. (2010) “Putting renew­ables and energy effi­ciency to work: How many jobs can the clean energy indus­try gen­er­ate in the U. S.?” Energy Pol­icy, 38, 919  — 931.

[4] Mil­eva, A., Nel­son, J. H., John­ston, J., and Kam­men, D. M. (2013) “Sun­Shot Solar Power Reduces Costs and Uncer­tainty in Future Low-​​Carbon Elec­tric­ity Sys­tems,” Envi­ron­men­tal Sci­ence & Tech­nol­ogy, 47 (16), 9053 – 9060.

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