California governor signs landmark climate bill

California governor signs landmark climate bill
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California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a sweeping new climate change bill on Thursday, codifying one of the country’s strongest greenhouse gas emissions goals.

The legislation would require California to cut its emissions by at least 40 percent, from 1990 levels, by 2030 and make new investments in climate change mitigation efforts. 

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Legislative leaders passed the bill in August, with Democrats hailing it as a way to reduce the state’s carbon emissions and help make an impact on climate change. 

Republicans opposed the bill, saying it would hurt businesses and ratepayers and give too much powers to state regulators. They say trying to cut electricity-sector emissions will raise energy prices and hurt low-income and minority communities especially hard. 

But Brown hailed the new law on Thursday. 

“What we’re doing here is far-sighted, as well as far-reaching,” Brown said at a Los Angeles signing ceremony, the LA Times reports. “California is doing something that no other state has done.”

The new law builds on a 2006 effort to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Brown’s office said the state is on track to reach that mark, and that the new law will help California reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050.

The law does little to change the state’s cap-and-trade emissions trading system. That program is facing legal challenges and hasn’t raised nearly as much money as the state had previously expected it to.

Lawmakers didn’t touch the program this year, and Brown has said he might try putting the matter before voters in 2018 if progress isn’t made soon.