California Climate Change Regulations


General Plan Guidelines Update

The update addresses greenhouse gas emissions in CEQA or a Climate Action Plan. The update contains a new chapter on Climate Change. The Safety Element requires adaptation.

Cap & Trade Amendments

The September 2016 amendments to the cap-and-trade regulation included:

  • Emission caps for the post-2020 program
  • Post-2020 continuation of the allowance price containment reserve
  • Linking with Ontario's cap-and-trade program
  • Compliance with the federal Clean Power Plan
  • Modifications to allowance allocation

Low Carbon Fuel Standard

In September 2015, the Air Resources Board re-adopted the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, to settle issues arising from lawsuits. The requirement is still a 10 percent reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels.

Cap & Trade Offset Protocols

The Air Resources Board has adopted five protocols for offset compliance projects. In addition to the original four protocols adopted in 2011, ARB has adopted:

Cap & Trade Link with Quebec

California linked its cap-and-trade program with Quebec’s program in January 2014.   Linkage allows for the use of compliance instruments from Quebec’s greenhouse gas emission trading system to meet compliance obligations pursuant to the California Cap-and-Trade Regulation, and the reciprocal approval of compliance instruments issued by California to meet compliance obligations in the external trading program.

Building Energy Efficiency Standards

The Energy Commission's 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards are 25 percent more efficient than previous standards for residential construction and 30 percent better for nonresidential construction. The Standards, which took effect on January 1, 2014, offer builders better windows, insulation, lighting, ventilation systems and other features that reduce energy consumption in homes and businesses.

Advanced Clean Cars Standard

The Advanced Clean Cars Program, approved in January 2012, will achieve additional GHG reductions from passenger vehicles for model years 2017-2025.   This Program represents a new approach to passenger vehicles – cars and light trucks -- by combining the control of smog-causing pollutants and GHG emissions into a single coordinated package of standards known as Low Emission Vehicles (LEV) III. The new approach also includes efforts under the Zero-Emission Vehicle Program to support and accelerate the numbers of plug-in hybrids and zero-emission vehicles in California.

Water Appliance Standards

The Energy Commission’s 2015 Water Appliance Standards are projected to save 10 billion gallons in the first year, increasing over time to 100 billion gallons of water per year.   The energy efficiency and water standards require water appliances to consume less water thereby using less energy while performing the same function. The standards apply to: toilets and urinals; residential lavatory faucets; kitchen faucets; public lavatory faucets.

Cap & Trade Rulemaking Activities

A proposed California cap on greenhouse gas emissions and a market-based compliance mechanisms, including compliance offset protocols. OAL approved the rulemaking and filed it with the Secretary of State on December 13, 2011. The regulation will become effective on the January 1, 2012.

Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS)

The regulations are designed to reduce the carbon intensity (CI) of transportation fuels used in California by at least 10 percent by the year 2020.

The Air Resources Board approved the LCFS regulation for adoption on April 23, 2009. The regulation entered into full effect on April 15, 2010.

Based upon feedback from stakeholders, amendments to the regulations were proposed by the Board in December 2011.

33% Renewable Portfolio Standard

On May 5, 2011, the Commission adopted the Order Instituting Rulemaking (R.) 11-05-005 to open a new proceeding for the implementation and administration of the 33% RPS Program.

The primary focus of the R.11-05-005 proceeding was the implementation of the new 33% RPS law, Senate Bill (SB) 2 (1X) (Simitian), stats. 2011.

Mandatory Commercial Recycling

This regulation addresses recycling requirements for businesses that generate 4 or more cubic yards of commercial solid waste per week and multifamily residential dwellings with 5 or more units, regardless of the amount of waste generated; local jurisdiction requirements for education, outreach, monitoring and reporting; and CalRecycle review.

The regulations were approved on May 7, 2012.