| Press Release

Bill to accelerate California’s 2030 climate target passes out of first committee

People's Climate March in New York City. Photo by @5byseven.
People's Climate March in New York City. Photo by @5byseven.

SACRAMENTO — Earlier today, SB 12, introduced by Senator Henry Stern and sponsored by The Climate Center, passed out of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee by a final vote of five to two. The bill would require California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, accelerating the state’s current statutory goal of 40 percent reductions by 2030.

“California has the tools to rapidly and equitably transition to a clean energy economy, we just need the political will,” said Ellie Cohen, CEO of The Climate Center. “That’s why I’m thrilled to see SB 12 pass out of the Environmental Quality Committee. We only need to think about the climate disasters our friends and neighbors are experiencing already to realize that the current goal of 40 percent emissions reductions by 2030 is too slow. For the world to have a chance at a climate-safe future, we must do much more, much faster right here in California. Passing SB 12 will send a critical signal to other states and nations that we are serious about reining in pollution, investing in clean energy, and safeguarding communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis.”

SB 12 has the early support of 59 climate and environmental organizations, as well as two California city council members. Earlier this week, the groups sent a letter to the Senate Environmental Quality Committee arguing that “the cost of inaction or insufficient action in terms of lives and dollars is enormous, growing, and unjustifiable.” A similar bill (AB 2133, Quirk) had the strong support of Governor Newsom during last year’s legislative cycle, but came just four votes short of passing in its final committee. 

“Today’s passage of SB 12 is an important first step in sending a global signal that California is a leader in greenhouse gas emission reductions, and calls on the California Air Resources Board to reimagine what is possible in mitigating against the worsening effects of climate change,” said Senator Henry Stern, author of the bill.

California’s current goal to reduce emissions by 40 percent by 2030 puts us well behind many of our closest allies. For example, the European Union’s 2030 target is 62 percent, Denmark’s is 70 percent, and the United Kingdom’s is 68 percent. 

With the state projecting $48 billion in climate investments over the next five years — as well as $374 billion in federal investments through the Inflation Reduction Act over the next decade — there’s reason to be ambitious. In fact, new analysis by The Climate Center shows that California has the ability to reduce emissions 65 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, even greater than the target proposed by SB 12. The same analysis concluded that achieving a 65 percent target would also create 300,000 jobs in the state, prevent 2,430 premature deaths each year, and boost GDP by 1.79 percent.

“SB 12 sets a bold target for California, although recent analysis shows that there is headroom to do even more,” said Dr. Dan Kammen, Distinguished Professor of Energy at the University of California, Berkeley. “Setting urgently needed and ambitious targets sends signals to agencies, private interests, and markets to direct crucial investment resources to innovative and creative ventures. The target and plans to achieve it will position California to take full advantage of the federal funds from the Inflation Reduction Act and the infrastructure bill, which will enable us to meet this goal.  

“Reaching this target is a matter of political will, good policy, and focus by California state agencies, not technical feasibility. Given the climate impacts that California has been experiencing, what is in the pipeline for the future, and the significant damage that frontline communities face every day from fossil fuel production and use, we need a sense of urgency.”


Contact: Ryan Schleeter, Communications Director, The Climate Center: ryan@theclimatecenter.org, (415) 342-2386

About The Climate Center: 

The Climate Center is a climate and energy policy nonprofit working to rapidly reduce climate pollution at scale, starting in California. We are a think-tank, do-tank working to turn bold ideas into action for a climate-safe future. Our flagship Climate-Safe California campaign is a unique and comprehensive effort to make California the first state in the nation to reach carbon negative. www.theclimatecenter.org