Home>Articles>Climate Goal Bill For California Lands Fails To Reach Senate Vote

Assemblyman Robert Rivas. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Climate Goal Bill For California Lands Fails To Reach Senate Vote

AB 2954 faced heavy opposition from GOP and some Dems

By Evan Symon, August 21, 2020 8:15 pm

On Friday, a bill that would have required the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and other state agencies to find a climate goal for California natural and working lands failed to advance to a Senate vote.

AB 2954 fails to advance out of Senate Appropriations Committee

Assembly Bill 2954, authored by Assemblyman Robert Rivas (D-Hollister), would have had CARB and other state agencies identify a goal for carbon and greenhouse gas reductions for natural and working lands, as well as identify possible practices and policies to reach the goal, by January 1, 2023. An extension of AB 32, also known as the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, the AB 2954’s goal would have ultimately covered roughly 90% of the land in California.

The bill had been a very polarizing piece of legislation, with the Assembly barely passing the bill 43-23 with 13 abstentions in June. Many Democrats either joined Republicans in opposing the bill or abstained from voting during the Assembly vote.

Many supporters, such as land trust groups and climate organizations, wanted a goal in place due to climate change in California and to combat that effect of carbon levels and climate change across rural areas of California.

However, a growing segment of Republicans and Democrats opposed the bill, noting that a carbon sequestration goal of the magnitude AB 2954 proposed is too big for CARB, and that the new broad goal would give too much regulatory power to a single agency. Issues over farming, especially such a goal posing an unfair advantage to larger-scale farmers for handling carbon levels, also alienated many Republican Senators.

A non-urgent bill during a shortened session that heavily focuses on urgent and emergency bills

Senator Brian Dahle. (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

While supporters countered these claims, pointing out that the bill would help achieve California’s over plan for carbon neutrality, recent events turned out to be the bills doom. Republicans, led by Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), noted that nearly all bills this session needed to be urgent if they were not related to COVID-19 due to the session being pared down by two months earlier this year, and again by a few more weeks last month due to COVID-19 outbreaks. In the process, many non-urgent bills had been either pulled or delayed until next year.

The non-urgency of the bill brought it to the suspense file earlier this week despite being passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee only days before. That led to the same Committee ultimately not advancing the bill forward, effectively making it dead this session.

“I am disappointed that this urgently needed legislation to address climate change solutions did not advance out of the Senate Appropriations Committee,” said Assemblyman Rivas on Friday. “We need only look at this week’s extreme heatwave and hundreds of fires to recognize that this issue cannot wait. Using natural and working lands to sequester and capture carbon is a necessary way to meaningfully counter greenhouse gas emissions in this economically challenging time.”

“It’s estimated that our natural and working lands have the potential to contribute up to 17% of California’s greenhouse gas reduction goal, as well as providing additional benefits such as improved water and air quality, food production, land conservation, and the prevention of extreme heat and wildfires.”

“The extreme heatwave and wildfires make clear that the pandemic has not put a pause on our other crises. I will continue to fight for a safe environment for all residents, including our low-income and disadvantaged communities.”

Praise for AB 2954’s suspension and a possible return next session

Supporters praised the Senate Committee’s decision to suspend AB 2954, noting that COVID-19 related bills are more important at this time.

“The environment is important, no denying that, but we need to focus on the coronavirus, and wildfires, and the economy and other really important issues right now,” explained Gerald Davidson, a Butte County farmer who worked with other farmers in neighboring counties against any detrimental farming bills this session, to the Globe. “We wrote letters. We wrote e-mails. We offered to go down to Sacramento to talk with people about it. And, since the coronavirus, we said that the last thing they wanted to do was put farmers in stranglehold in this state since we were needed now more than ever.”

“I know that we didn’t do too much in the grand scheme of things, but it feels good to see government work to protect your livelihood and be a tiny part of that at the same time.”

AB 2954 may return the next session in January barring any more emergency delays or legislative emergency focus on certain bills.

Evan Symon
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12 thoughts on “Climate Goal Bill For California Lands Fails To Reach Senate Vote

  1. If natural lands must sequester carbon that means that you cannot do fuel reduction to reduce wildfire risk which will mean ever worse wildfires. No doubt this will hit farmers hard. Farmers have enough problems keeping their heads above water without an idiotic bill like this.

    The “smart” people in Sacramento need to recognize that the fuel is going to burn regardless of their political views.

  2. The Communist United Nations has our politicians in their grip. They are pushing their Agenda 21, and Agenda 2030. This will result in America turning into a total hellish Communist State run by the UN.

    1. not if we kill them first:) you can only hope that the zombies will put down their phones for and prepare for battle.
      this is the end of the road for freedom. the censoring is off the charts, forced vaccinations are upon us. they are completely wiping out small businesses…and still the people sleep. wtf? what is it going to take to wake up the masses?

  3. I rue the entity thst once issued the edict that “California leads the nation” and “California is the trend-setter for the world” and ,California has the 5th/6th/7th largest economy in the world” blah blah blah…

    All these tired bromides have done has emboldened these ego-maniacDemocrat legislators starting with Jerry “The Clown” Brown, who falsely believe that the state of California can do a damn thing about global warming or climate change, when China & India contribute MULTIPLE times the volume of CO2 that the state of California EVER did. BUT they strangle California businesses and citizens with economic headwinds that restrict our liberties….

    Don’t embolden these idiots by allowing them to try to save the world, because they’re literally killing our livelihoods…

    Don’t vote Democrat – they’re not your friends….

  4. The amount of carbon that these historic fires are creating has just shown how worthless the carbon scam is. They haven’t reduced ANY carbon and the fires have shown how hollow the democrat global warming scam is. They are taking our money, land and wealth and getting, fat and rich of off of us. I urge people to carefully.. to reconsider their voting habits on Nov 3rd. The democrats are running a mafia type crime ring and using the useful dupes to advance a policy and plan to subvert democracy and freedom.

  5. California is less than 1/10 of 1% of the world’s land area. It is physically impossible for these loons to have any effect on the world climate.

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