At the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, the California delegation has participated in meetings about carbon pricing and our state’s landmark cap and trade program. We have the first economy-wide carbon pricing program ever adopted in the United States and it provides a framework for other states and nations to follow.
It’s another example of how a sub-national government like California can lead the world and show other nations the way to de-carbonize their economies. It’s truly surprising—and inspiring—how California’s actions are watched so closely by the rest of the world.
Carbon pricing is an important tool to level the playing field between high polluting fossil fuels and clean renewable energy. Our society is built around high polluting fuels as we rely on our cars and trucks —how often do you go to the gas station to fill up? It is important we find ways to reduce use of fossil fuels if we ever want to cut climate pollution and make our local communities more livable.
We also need to ensure that working families benefit immediately from our climate policies. The legislature adopted a law to ensure that $200 million collected under carbon pricing is directly rebated to residents and small businesses. That’s about 80 dollars per average household every year according to our state agencies. In addition, a law I authored requires at least 25 percent of all revenue collected be invested in disadvantaged communities.
Carbon pricing also creates jobs and new funding to invest in our state. If we stay on course, our clean energy and climate goals will produce over 500,000 new high wage jobs over the next 20 years. They will also provide billions of new dollars of investment in communities impacted by pollution across California. That’s why I support my colleague Senator Fran Pavley who is authoring SB 32 to extend our climate targets to 2030 and 2050. Setting long-term targets will send a clear signal to the private sector to continue creating jobs and developing technologies that clean up the air, especially in disadvantaged communities, while reducing energy costs for families and businesses.
Just last week, California linked its carbon pricing market with the province of Quebec. That means potentially millions of dollars of additional investments here in our state to reduce pollution. It also shows how California is leading the world by partnering with other states and provinces to fight global pollution. Together, we can tackle climate change and help our state develop its green economy.