Climate Change

Climate Change Photo

Learn more about LWV California's and the National League's position and research on this issue.

State Position



Clean Energy Progress: Use this interactive map to see investment and number of jobs and projects for solar, wind, and energy efficiency by state and congressional district. Click on California, and then your congressional district. The League of Women Voters U.S. is a proud partner in developing this resource.
Digital Environmental Legislative Handbook: A compilation of legislation passed by all states. California is clearly leading.

Climate Change Events Around California

Upcoming Event: 

July 26, 2018, 11:00a-12:00p PDT, Promoting Effective Action on Carbon Pricing, presented by LWVUS Price on Carbon Steering Team. This is a replay of the caucus of the same name at the LWVUS 2018 Convention. Register for the webinar here.

Recently Past Recorded Events:

You Can Make a Difference! Five Simple Actions to Reduce Emissions, June 19, 2018, presented by April Oquenda, member of the LWVC Climate Change Task Force. The webinar recording, slides, and handouts are available here.
Soil Health for Carbon Sequestration in the Face of Climate Change, May 16, 2018, presented by Elizabeth Guimarin, Consultant and Educator on Soil Health. The webinar recording and handouts are available here.
California Cap and Trade - An Introduction, May 9, 2018, presented by Mr. John Gioia, member of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) the organization responsible for administration of California cap and trade, and by Dr. Emily Wimberger, Chief Economist for CARB. See recording of the webinar here.
Utility Users Tax, or How to Bring Carbon Pricing to Your City, April 24, 2018, presented by Preston Jordan Action Director of the LWV Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville. See recording of the webinar here.
Food Production and Greenhouse Gases: Counting Carb Emissions, March 6, 2018, presented by Chris Field, Director of Stanford Woods Institute. See recording of the webinar and Q&A here.
Beyond Fossil Fuels: Taking Action, February 3, 2018, a panel discussion co-sponsored by Citizens Climate Lobby, the Sierra Club, and LWV. See recording of the panel discussion and Q&A in Part 1 and Part 2.

California Climate Change Task Force

The Task Force has support for you. Would you like to have a discussion group or form a team on climate change? Host or co-host an event? Educate your members or the public? Learn what other Leagues are doing? Let us help! Contact us today at climatechange [at]!

Take Action Locally

Schedule a Local Event! The Climate Change Task Force will help you set up an event or presentation on climate change. The Task Force can help with contacts to other organizations, to find speakers, and to organize the event. Here are some options:

  • A regional presentation joint with other local leagues,
  • A panel discussion with many points of view and/or with several organizations,
  • A local talk focused on a topic of local interest (e.g. sea level rise in Humboldt, agricultural changes in the Central Valley, forest effects in the foothills).

Form a Discussion Group or Team on Climate Change - A discussion group can be the beginning of a Climate Change Team. Examples of topics:


Education needs to be engaging, with emphasis on local effects and actions. We are just beginning our work to put together education materials and plans specific to different California areas and issues. Meanwhile, use this excellent compilation of resources for education, including webinars, handouts, talks, how to communicate, and more.

Get Connected

To be part of the email discussion group for LWVC Climate Change, email us at climatechange [at] and we’ll put you on the list.

State and Local Legislation

California continues its march to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Each state legislative session brings several climate related bills. Legislative sessions are two years in length, but each year, bills must be introduced or re-introduced (two-year bills). See our Legislation Page for a list of bills we have supported or opposed and the results for the 2017 session.

In 2017, California lawmakers extended cap and trade to 2030 with the passage of AB 398 in a 2/3 bipartisan vote on July 17, 2017. Cap and trade had been otherwise set to expire in 2020. We worked hard for the passage of AB 398 and for its companion legislation, AB 617 (improve air quality).

In our lobbying efforts, we wrote a letter of support and co-signed another with like-minded organizations. We also personally lobbied targeted legislators (all of whom voted yes). Earlier we had supported AB 378 which failed in the Assembly. AB 398 and AB 617 were derived from AB 378.

2018 Legislation and Propositions

SB 100 (De León) - SUPPORT: The LWVC supports SB 100 "Enact 100 Percent Renewable and Zero-Carbon Electricity Policy". Read our letter! Talking points are pending. We will publish them here as well as updates.

Proposition 68, California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access For All Act of 2018 - SUPPORT: This measure would authorize California to issue general obligation bonds, with the money used to finance state and local parks, water conservation measures, water reliability to disadvantaged communities, and flood protection projects. California parks provide open space and recreation, improving health and community well-being. The water projects funded by this bond are forward thinking, and are a key part of our state response to climate change.

Proposition 70, Greenhouse Gas Reduction Reserve Fund - OPPOSE: This measure would add a requirement that two thirds of legislators approve the first appropriation of any money collected from the sale by CARB (California Air Resources Board) of Cap-and-Trade allowances after 2024. At a time that we need efficient and effective investments in climate change solutions, this requirement could lead to deadlocks, inefficiency, and poor decisions.

LWVC Climate Change Action Policy

The League of Women Voters of California supports actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change in order to protect our state from the negative physical, economic, and public health effects. Local Leagues and ILOs are urged to engage at their local and regional levels. Our actions are to:
a. Promote energy conservation and efficiency in transportation, buildings, and infrastructure, including energy efficiency standards and land use policies that reduce vehicle miles travelled.
b. Promote carbon pricing by market mechanisms such as  cap and trade systems and carbon taxes. 
c. Promote a clean, low-carbon energy economy that is sustainable, including all forms of renewable energy and transportation infrastructure.
d. Promote policies that mitigate impacts of climate change by adaptation in urban, rural, agricultural, and natural settings.
e. Promote basic research and technology development, encouraging the use of a portfolio of technologies.
f. Promote solutions that ease consequences of climate-related hardships to low and moderate income households.
g. Promote public access and involvement in the decision-making process.

Justification for Climate Change Action Policy Elements

This section specifies national and state League positions that justify elements of our proposed Climate Change Action Policy. The full position statements are given in the LWVUS publication Impact on Issues and the LWVC publication Action Policies and Positions.


The League of Women Voters has been at the forefront of the environmental protection movement for decades, consistently supporting legislation to preserve our nation’s natural resources and protect our public health and safety. We support legislation that seeks to protect our country from the physical, economic and public health effects of climate change while also providing pathways to economic prosperity. Global climate change is the greatest environmental challenge of our generation.

The LWVUS, in response to the growing concern about climate change and its impact on the environment, created a Climate Change Task Force in 2006 to provide information and assistance to the national board and staff and to develop materials for use by League members at the local, state and national levels. The task force developed and maintains a Climate Change Toolkit.

Greenhouse gases are a pollutant. In a 5-4 decision in April 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases meet the definition of "air pollutants" under the Clean Air Act of 1970.

California plays an important role in the climate change discussion, and what this state does is crucial. California produces  seven percent of U.S. greenhouse gases (GHG) and is in 18th place in global emissions of GHG among countries (2013).

California is also playing a leadership role in reducing emissions, and regions within the state and local communities are taking steps to minimize the impacts of climate change by adoption of Climate Action Plans, Regional Climate Plans, and Sustainability Strategies, addressing sea level rise, and creating Adaption and Resiliency (Readiness) Plans.

Along with national League positions, LWVC positions on Air Quality, Energy, Land Use, and Transportation and the Growth Management and Sustainable Communities Action Policies all work together to support action.

History of Support for Climate Change Legislation

The state of California has taken meaningful steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the LWVC has supported many of these actions. The Renewables Portfolio Standard Program (AB 1078, 2002, and later amendments) required that renewables make up 20 percent of the state’s electricity mix by 2010 and 33 percent by 2020. As of 2017, the state is on target to meet these goals.
The California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32, 2006) set as law that 2020 greenhouse gas emissions could not exceed 1990 levels. The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (SB 375, 2008) required regional GHG emission reduction targets for cars and light trucks, and coordinated land use, transportation, and housing decisions to help achieve the target. In 2011, based on the market mechanism provided in AB 32, Cap and Trade set a declining cap on allowed GHG emissions. Beginning in 2013 the largest carbon emitters were required to meet the caps or buy credits. In 2012 the Advanced Clean Cars Standard set GHG standards for cars and light trucks for model years 2017-2025. Governor Brown announced an Executive Order (B3015) on April 29, 2015, setting many of the targets that would be enacted in the 2015-2016 legislative session.
SB 350, the Clean Energy and Pollution Reducation Act of 2015, requires that 50 percent of our electricity come from renewable energy sources and a doubling of energy efficiency in buildings by 2030. A proposed requirement of a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use for transportation by 2030 was removed from the bill in order to obtain passage. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has introduced a new element into the existing Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program to address some of the petroleum reduction that was deleted from SB 350, under authority of the original AB 32. 
SB 32 of 2016 extends the 2006 California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) beyond 2020. It increases the goal for greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below the 1990 level by 2030. A companion 2016 bill, AB 197, directs the CARB to prioritize measures that result in direct reductions in emissions from major sources. It further establishes a Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies and adds two members of the legislature to CARB as nonvoting members. It also includes use of social costs in evaluating the cost-effectiveness of emission reduction measures to better account for the full array of costs and benefits associated with reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Additional materials: 
PDF icon Support SB 100 Letter to De León412.86 KB