22 Feb 2013

How the state should spend proceeds from its greenhouse gas emissions rights auction under the agency’s carbon cap-and-trade program is the focus of a series of California Air Resources Board public meetings. The first one seeking public input was kicked off in Fresno Feb. 19.

In a Feb. 15 white paper, the agency outlined preliminary ideas for spending the money to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These include:

- Incentives for zero-emission vehicles and charging stations;

- Stationary fuel cells;

- Solar, biomass, and biofuels;

- Local residential/commercial energy efficiency retrofits;

- Industrial efficiency upgrades;

- Electrification of truck stops/warehouses/distribution centers;

- Zero-emission trucks and buses;

- Port/railyard electrification;

- Water transport energy efficiency; and

- Water use efficiency/recycling.

Under state law, 25 percent of the money is supposed to be spent to benefit disadvantaged communities.

The Air Board is holding the meetings to help the governor develop a three-year investment plan for the money. The plan, is to be released for a public hearing by the Air Board in April and then incorporated into the governor’s “May revise” of the budget for enactment by the Legislature by the end of June.

Additional spending strategies pitched by the Air Board include cutting emissions from the transportation sector.

The governor’s initial budget projects the state will get $200 million annually from the emissions rights auction.

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A University of California official said at a Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Committee hearing it will cost $8 million in the coming year--the equivalent to serving 800 students in 2013-14--to comply with AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act. Panel vice chair, Sen. Bill Emmerson (R-Redlands), urged that university be exempted from complying with the law.

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