Will California ratepayers pay for climate research?

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After months of closed-door negotiations, California lawmakers today unveiled a bill to collect $37 million a year from ratepayers for up to a decade to pay for global warming research. The effort would bolster the state’s complex effort to ratchet down its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 by 2020, amounting to a 30% cut over expected levels.

The fees, which would add an average of about 10 cents per month to electricity bills statewide, would pay part of the cost of the $87-million annual budget of a Climate Change Research and Workforce Development Institute.

The Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee approved the bill today on a 7-3 vote.

The institute is backed by public and private universities in the state, which would benefit from sharing nearly $900 million in research grants over the next decade. Projects would include developing technologies to reduce emissions, researching ways to switch to a low-carbon economy, fine-tuning forecasts of climate change impacts and fostering ‘green-tech’ jobs in renewable energy.


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-- Marc Lifsher