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Assessing California’s Climate Policies—Electricity Generation


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Evaluating California's Pursuit of Zero Net Energy State Buildings

November 14, 2017 - In this report, we provide background information on ZNE buildings as well as the administration’s approach to meeting the executive order’s goals for state‑owned ZNE buildings. Then, we assess the administration’s approach to these buildings. Finally, we recommend that the Legislature adopt its own policies related to ZNE for state buildings and take steps to ensure that it has adequate information to evaluate future administration proposals for state‑owned ZNE buildings.

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Assessing California’s Climate Policies—An Overview

December 21, 2018 - Chapter 135 of 2017 (AB 398, E. Garcia) requires our office to annually report on the economic impacts and benefits of California’s statutory greenhouse gas (GHG) emission goals—statewide emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. This report provides a conceptual overview of the potential economic effects of policies intended to help meet these goals—both positive and negative—as well as identifies some key issues for the Legislature to consider when designing and evaluating state climate policies. In a companion report, Assessing California’s Climate Policies—Transportation, we provide more detailed information and comments on the state’s major policies aimed at reducing emissions from the transportation sector.

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[PDF] Assessing California’s Climate Policies

February 20, 2019 - Presented to: Senate Environmental Quality Committee

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[PDF] Cap-and-Trade

May 10, 2017 - Presented to: Senate Environmental Quality Committee

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[PDF] Energy Efficiency and Alternative Energy Programs

December 19, 2012 - California currently maintains over a dozen major programs that are intended to support the development of energy efficiency and alternative energy in the state. Over the past 10 to 15 years, the state has spent a combined total of roughly $15 billion on such efforts. In response to the Supplemental Report of the 2012-13 Budget Package, this report provides an overview of these different programs, as well as a preliminary assessment of them in terms of priority, overlap, and redundancy. We find that the state currently lacks a comprehensive framework that fully coordinates the state's energy incentive programs to help ensure that the state’s goals are being achieved in the most cost-effective manner. The absence of such a comprehensive framework (1) results in some level of program duplication, (2) results in some departments making policy choices that may not be aligned to legislative priorities, and (3) makes it difficult to compare effectiveness across programs. As a result, we recommend that the Legislature develop a comprehensive strategy for meeting the state’s energy efficiency and alternative energy objectives. In general, the comprehensive strategy should specify: (1) the state’s energy efficiency and alternative energy goals, (2) how programs should fit together to achieve the state’s goals, and (3) how program effectiveness will be measured.

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[PDF] Cap-and-Trade Revenues: Strategies to Promote Legislative Priorities

January 21, 2016 - In this report, we describe and assess the relationship—from both a legal and policy perspective—between the cap–and–trade regulation and the auction revenues that are generated as a result of the program.

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[PDF] The 2014-15 Budget: Cap-and-Trade Auction Revenue Expenditure Plan

February 24, 2014 - In order to minimize the negative economic impact of cap-and-trade, it is important that auction revenues be invested in a way that maximizes GHG emission reductions for a given level of spending. In reviewing the Governor's proposed expenditure plan, we find that there is significant uncertainty regarding the degree to which each investment proposed for funding will achieve GHG reductions. This uncertainty is the result of several factors, including there being only limited data and analysis provided by the administration, as well as the fact that the level of emission reductions achieved would depend on the specific projects funded by departments. Given these concerns, we recommend that the Legislature direct ARB to develop metrics for departments to use in order to prospectively evaluate the potential GHG emission benefits of proposed projects, as well as direct the board to establish a set of guidelines for how departments should incorporate these metrics into their decision making processes.

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[PDF] Evaluating the Policy Trade-Offs in ARB's Cap-and-Trade Program

February 9, 2012 - This report analyzes the design of the cap-and-trade program as adopted by the California Air Resources Board (ARB). This new, complex program is part of the state's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide to 1990 levels by 2020—a goal set by the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (commonly referred to as AB 32). The report examines in detail the specific policy choices made by the ARB in the design of the program, some specific policy trade-offs inherent in those decisions, and options for program design changes that the Legislature may wish to make depending on its policy priorities.

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[PDF] The 2017-18 Budget: Cap-and-Trade

February 13, 2017 - In this report, we provide comments and recommendations related to the Governor’s proposal. We recommend the Legislature authorize cap-and-trade (or a carbon tax) beyond 2020. If the Legislature approves cap-and-trade, we recommend the Legislature strengthen the allowance price ceiling and provide clearer direction to ARB regarding the criteria that the board should use to determine whether a complementary policy should be adopted. We also recommend the Legislature approve cap-and-trade (or carbon tax) with a two-thirds vote because it would provide greater legal certainty and ensure ARB has the ability to design an effective program. With a two-thirds vote, we recommend the Legislature broaden the allowable uses of auction revenue because it would give the Legislature flexibility to use the funds on its highest priorities. When finalizing its 2017-18 cap-and-trade spending plan, we recommend the Legislature (1) reject the administration’s proposed language making spending contingent on future legislation, (2) consider alternative strategies for dealing with revenue uncertainty, and (3) allocate funds to specific programs rather than providing DOF that authority.

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Cap-and-Trade Extension: Issues for Legislative Oversight

December 12, 2017 - In this report, we (1) provide background information on cap‑and‑trade and the recent extension of the program to 2030, (2) identify key administrative implementation decisions that could affect program outcomes and the need for legislative oversight, (3) identify potential opportunities to increase the effectiveness of a new advisory committee created by AB 398, and (4) describe potential state cap‑and‑trade revenue scenarios through 2030.

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[PDF] Cap-and-Trade Expenditures: Overview of Governor’s Budget and Issues for Legislative Consideration

February 18, 2016 - Presented to Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review

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The 2012–13 Budget: Cap–and–Trade Auction Revenues

February 16, 2012 - This report examines the Governor's budget proposal regarding the use of revenues expected to be generated from the cap-and-trade auctions that the California Air Resources Board (ARB) will hold in 2012-13. These auctions are part of the state's plan to meet the goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (commonly referred to as AB 32). In this report, we recommend that the Legislature first use the revenues in 2012-13 to offset General Fund costs of existing programs designed to mitigate GHG emissions. Since the Legislature will need to decide which General Fund costs to offset as part of the 2012-13 budget process, such decisions are best made this spring. In addition, the Legislature will need to begin the process of determining how effectively to allocate the remaining auction revenues on new or expanded programs.

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[PDF] AB32: Letter to Assembly Member Dan Logue Regarding Potential Economic Leakage

May 13, 2010 - This responds to Assembly Member Logue's request that we conduct a qualitative analysis of the costs of California taking actions to address the climate change issue, without there being a shared consensus and involvement across the nation in terms of how the issue is addressed. Specifically we were asked to look at the costs California would likely incur following the implementation of AB 32 through the California Air Resource Board’s Scoping Plan, compared to states that do not have similar policies in place.

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[PDF] Overview of California Climate Goals and Policies

June 14, 2017 - Presented to Joint Committee on Climate Change Policies