California Gov. Jerry Brown has launched a campaign to extend some of the most ambitious climate-change programs in the country and ensure his environmental legacy when he leaves office in two years.
The centerpiece of the push is a cap-and-trade program that aims to reduce the use of fossil fuels by forcing manufacturers and other companies to meet tougher emissions limits or pay up to exceed them. The program has been one of the most-watched efforts in the world aimed at the climate-changing fuels.
The four-year-old program, however, is only authorized to operate until 2020 and faces a litany of challenges, including a lawsuit questioning its legality, poor sales of credits, and lukewarm support among Democratic legislators to extend it.
On Tuesday, the California Air Resources Board will release a proposed blueprint for continuing the cap-and-trade program until 2030, with a vote expected next year.
Supporters credit the strategy — born under previous Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, and stemming from other climate change programs initiated under Brown — with helping to cut California’s overall output of emissions by 1.5 percent in its first two years, despite the massive energy demands of the state’s thriving economy.