A San Francisco Superior Court judge has temporarily halted the implementation of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act over its “cap-and-trade” regulations.
The Global Warming Solutions Act (officially known as Assembly Bill (AB) 32), signed into law by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006, requires California to cap greenhouse gas emissions in the state at 1990 levels by the year 2020. These requirements are phased in over several years, and are to be fully implemented by January 1, 2012. “Greenhouse gases” generally include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and industrial gases such as hydrofluorocarbons. The U.S. Government states that these greenhouse gases, including those released by humans when burning fossil fuels, are increasing, and cause global warming.
At issue in this case were the cap-and-trade regulations put into place as part of AB 32. These regulations were approved by California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) last December after a lengthy rulemaking process. The lawsuit over AB 32’s cap-and-trade provisions largely came from environmental groups who complained that ARB’s cap-and-trade plan “fails to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and protect vulnerable communities”. Superior Court Judge Ernest H. Goldsmith agreed in part, ruling that ARB adopoted its cap-and-trade regulations prematurely, without adequate opportunity for public comment and the discussion of alternatives.