Protecting the Environment and Promoting Clean Energy

April 20, 2004 The Governor signed Executive Order S-7-04, creating a public-private partnership to build a Hydrogen Highway in California. With the goals of cleaner air, greater independence from foreign oil, and lower fuel prices, this initiative resulted in the development of more than 50 operational hydrogen fueling stations throughout the state.

July 2004 The Governor issued Executive Order S-12-05, requiring all state agencies to reduce energy use during the peak summer season, and encouraged businesses and consumers to do the same. The Governor’s order committed state government to “reduce grid-based energy purchases for state-owned buildings by 20% by 2015, through cost-effective efficiency measures and distributed generation technologies.” As of July 2010, 20 new state buildings over 10,000 square feet had received LEED certification, and 239 buildings were pursuing LEED certification. In addition, 22 existing buildings over 50,000 square feet had been LEED certified, and the Department of General Services had received approval for a volume certification program.

• Overall, as a result of the Governor’s leadership on energy efficiency, the average Californian uses only 6,700 kilowatt hours of electricity per year—compared to the average American, who uses 12,000. California’s “electricity bill,” as a fraction of its economy, is the fifth lowest in the country.

December 21, 2005 The Governor and his administration kicked off what would become a four-year battle to secure a waiver of preemption from the U.S. EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from California’s passenger vehicles. California led this fight nationally, taking the battle all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Since 2005, thirteen other states and the District of Columbia have adopted California’s clean car standards. (See the May 19, 2009, entry for additional information.)

April 25, 2006 Governor Schwarzenegger issued Executive Order S-06-06, establishing targets for the use and production of biofuels and biogas, and directed several state agencies to take major steps toward the widespread use of these renewable energy sources. To achieve these targets, he directed the California Energy Commission (CEC), the Resources Agency, and other state agencies to collaborate, research, promote, and identify funding to advance biomass programs in California. According to targets set by the executive order, California is to produce a minimum of 20 percent of its own biofuels by 2010 and 40 percent by 2020.

August 21, 2006 Launching an all-out effort to make California the nation’s leader in solar energy, Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 1, his Million Solar Roofs Initiative. The plan will provide California with 3,000 megawatts of clean, renewable energy and reduce the output of greenhouse gases by 3 million tons.

September 27, 2006 Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act, making California the first state in the nation to cap greenhouse gas emissions and establishing California as a worldwide leader in addressing climate change. The law codified the Governor’s reduction goals: 1990 levels by 2020 and a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gases. Because of AB 32, as of summer 2010, projects for 10,000 megawatts of renewable power were in the pipeline awaiting permits. The total public and private investment from these projects is $30 billion, and job creation exceeds 25,000.

January 18, 2007 By executive order, the Governor established the world’s first Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), to reduce the carbon intensity of California’s passenger vehicle fuels 10 percent by 2020.

February 26, 2007 Governor Schwarzenegger led the governors of Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington in creating the Western Climate Initiative to set a shared regional goal for carbon emissions reduction. In August 2007, WCI partners established their regional greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal—15 percent below 2005 levels—and released a plan laying the groundwork for a regional cap-and-trade program. Since then, Utah, Montana, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec have joined the WCI. Together, the states and provinces that make up the WCI represent over 20 percent of the U.S. economy and 70 percent of the Canadian economy.

October 29, 2007 Governor Schwarzenegger announced that California and a coalition of European Union countries, U.S. states, and Canadian provinces would form the world’s first International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP) to develop solutions to global climate change. ICAP will help ensure that trading mechanisms are compatible and will work to boost demand for low-carbon products and services, promote innovation, and lower the cost of effective reductions to allow swift and ambitious cuts in global warming emissions.

October 1, 2008 Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 375, the nation’s first law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by controlling sprawl. SB 375 builds on California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, promoting smart growth policies and creating more walkable, livable communities.

November 17, 2008 Governor Schwarzenegger signed Executive Order S-14-08, increasing California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 33 percent—one of the highest in the country—and streamlining the process of developing and permitting renewable energy sites. Under the previous standard set by the Governor, California’s renewable goal was accelerated from 20 percent by 2017 to 20 percent by 2010. This EO increased that goal to 33 percent by 2020 and furthers California’s leadership on renewable energy.

May 19, 2009 After a four-year battle, the federal government, automakers, and fourteen states led by Governor Schwarzenegger reached an agreement to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles. The federal agreement will lead to a new national standard that by 2016 will match California’s in reducing carbon dioxide emissions from new vehicles by 30 percent.

January 12, 2010 Governor Schwarzenegger announced that the California Building Standards Commission unanimously adopted the first-in-the-nation mandatory Green Building Standards Code (CALGREEN), requiring all new buildings in the state to be more energy efficient and environmentally responsible. Taking effect on January 1, 2011, these comprehensive regulations will achieve major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, and water use to create a greener California. The Governor had directed the Commission to develop green building codes in 2007.

November 2, 2010 Governor Schwarzenegger celebrated the overwhelming defeat of Proposition 23, an effort by Texas oil companies to roll back California’s aggressive climate change laws. Proposition 23, which would have overturned California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, lost by more than 20 percentage points, showing that Californians stand firmly behind the Governor’s environmental agenda, even in the face of a severe economic downturn.