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Implementation of Comprehensive Climate Change Mitigation Legislation in California

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Climate change, attributed to anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs), has become one of the most hotly debated policy issues of our time. In the next several years, wastewater utilities will likely be subject to a suite of GHG regulations at state and Federal levels. It is unclear exactly what these policies and programs will look like, however much can be learned by reviewing policies and regulations that are further along in the adoption process. This presentation will explore the regulations stemming from California's comprehensive climate change legislation to share lessons learned and to shed light on policy elements that the U.S. Federal programs and other U.S. states may be considering.

In 2006, the California legislature adopted Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32), The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. This far-reaching legislation set a goal to achieve 1990 GHG emission levels by 2020 and directed the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to develop actions to reduce GHGs. An AB 32 Scoping Plan was adopted by CARB in 2008 to provide a roadmap for AB 32 implementation. The Scoping Plan lays out a range of GHG reduction actions which include direct regulations, alternative compliance mechanisms, monetary and non-monetary incentives, voluntary actions, market-based mechanisms such as a cap-and-trade system, and an AB 32 program implementation regulation to fund the program. The following sections provide summaries of the regulations stemming from the Scoping Plan that are most relevant to wastewater utilities. More information on AB 32 and CARB's climate change programs is available at

Keywords: Climate change; cap and trade; carbon footprint; greenhouse gas; offset; renewable energy

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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