THE 2022 ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATIVE SESSION: RAMPING UP CLIMATE AMBITIONS
Written by Gary A. Lucks1
Although Governor Newsom signed fewer environmental bills than typical in an off-cycle election year, the 2022 legislative session produced an unusually high number of far-reaching climate policies. At the beginning of the session, a Senate Climate Working Group was formed to advance efforts to tackle the climate crisis by developing a comprehensive legislative climate package designed to achieve substantial greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions by 2030.
In a highly unusual move, Governor Newsom injected himself into the legislative process in the waning days of the summer session, informing the Legislature he intended to actively engage to advance ambitious climate policy. He delivered a five-pillar plan laying out a road map to achieve a clean energy future by: 1) facilitating the state’s 2030 GHG emission reduction goal; 2) codifying a 2045 carbon neutrality goal; 3) establishing interim clean electricity milestones; 4) creating a streamlined carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) permitting program; and 5) protecting the public from the health and safety impacts of fossil fuel wells. With the exception of AB 2133 (Quirk), which would have advanced the 2030 climate goal, these pillars were signed into law.