California climate law touted as global model clears hurdle

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers moved closer Monday to renewing a climate initiative that Gov. Jerry Brown holds up as a model for confronting global warming to be replicated around the world.

But a key hurdle remains.

The state Senate voted to give another decade of life to California’s cap-and-trade program, sending the measure to the Assembly, which was scheduled to take it up immediately. The legislation has global implications as the largest U.S. state moves to be a leader in reducing carbon emissions at a time when President Donald Trump is pulling back from fighting global warming.

“It is more important than ever for California to send a crystal clear message to the world that that does not represent all Americans,” said Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat.

Brown portrays the initiative as essential for the survival of civilization, but critics say it fails to aggressively combat pollution. It is one of his highest priorities as he nears the end of his fourth term, but he’s struggled to line up support from two-thirds of lawmakers that he will need.

The program expires in 2020 if lawmakers don’t renew it. The real battle is in the Assembly, where 54 votes are needed to pass it but where Democrats have only 53 members present due to a lawmaker’s longstanding absence and a fresh vacancy from another who went to Congress. That makes Republican support essential.

But the plan has mobilized intense opposition from conservatives who say it will raise costs in an already expensive state as well as from liberals who say it’s too timid for progressive California.

Cap and trade puts a limit on carbon emissions and requires polluters to obtain permits to release greenhouse gases. Some permits, known as allowances, are given away while others are auctioned, generating billions of dollars in revenue for the state.

Lawmakers are considering a package of measures, one to renew cap and trade through 2030 and another aimed at improving local air quality….

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