The political debate over climate change in California

A decade ago, California set an important benchmark on climate change with legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Now lawmakers have passed a new measure to extend that target, and Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law. Click here for the latest details on the legislation, follow what's happening in Sacramento on our Essential Politics news feed and read below for in-depth coverage of the issue.

This collection also includes articles about the California delegation's role during the United Nations conference in Paris and how another battle over climate policy played out last year.

Gov. Brown signs sweeping legislation to combat climate change

More solar power, more electric cars, more energy efficiency — California will need to ramp up its efforts to hit new climate change goal signed by Jerry Brown at an event in Los Angeles.

California's new climate change laws almost didn't happen this year. Here's how lawmakers pulled it off.

California's climate legislation was heading for debate before supporters decided to play by their own rules and form a coalition that could change the direction of California environmental policy.

'A real commitment backed up by real power': Gov. Jerry Brown to sign sweeping new climate legislation

Lawmakers send Gov. Jerry Brown the final of two bills that will extend and expand California climate change policy. And this one gives them more oversight of the effort.

California's climate change law clears a big hurdle after lobbyists crank up pressure

Assembly members voted on climate legislation on Tuesday, a key step in extending the state's environmental programs.

'An exercise in threading the needle': Lawmakers perform balancing act to move climate legislation forward

A low-profile proposal has become the focal point for debates over who will steer the state’s environmental programs and who they will benefit.

A big question complicating the climate debate: Are current policies only benefiting the rich?

Lawmakers continue to believe that their districts, especially poor ones, don't benefit from the state's climate change program as much as they should. And the rhetoric is increasingly strong.

Clean tech leaders try to put a business-friendly spin on climate change policies

Critics have tried to portray climate change policies as bad for business. But some California companies are fighting that perception in the Capitol.

While cap-and-trade funds stay mired in debate, businesses feel the hit

A look at how one Shasta County town's workforce may shrink without a portion of California's cap and trade revenues that its local legislator has been asking for in Sacramento.

With climate legislation stalling, Jerry Brown looks to potential fight at the ballot box

Negotiations over extending the life of California's landmark climate change law collapsed on Thursday in Sacramento, with the legality of the state's cap and trade program a key sticking point.

California's regional electricity grid plan on hold

Gov. Jerry Brown’s push for a regional electricity grid is being placed on hold. His desire to spread clean energy by increasing cooperation among six Western states has encountered stiff concerns.

A grand bargain? Gov. Jerry Brown in talks with oil companies about climate change programs

Gov. Jerry Brown's administration has been talking directly with oil companies in hopes of reaching a consensus on extending California's landmark climate programs, according to sources,

California lawmakers unplug the state's electric car program

A popular program to give low-income residents electric and low emission vehicles is running out of money despite a large amount in the bank. Advocates blame cap-and-trade politics for the failure.

California's cap-and-trade program faces daunting hurdles to avoid collapse

One of California's most important climate change initiatives, the cap and trade program, is caught in a web of legal, political and financial uncertainty, imperiling Jerry Brown's agenda in his final term in office.

Jerry Brown in Paris: California governor goes deep on climate change and other global threats

California Gov. Jerry Brown had a song stuck in his head, and he wanted to hear it.

California billionaire Tom Steyer has rare access and a big megaphone on climate change

Tom Steyer, the California environmental activist, former hedge fund manager and deep-pocketed Democratic donor, is showcasing his political influence at the U.N. summit on climate change.

China and the world turn to California for climate change expertise

Although California lacks a formal seat at the negotiating table while countries seek an international accord on climate change, the state has something many places do not -- a track record of ambitious environmental programs that could be imitated around the world.

California falling short in push for more clean vehicles

Even as California sells itself as an environmental success story during the United Nations summit here, the state is in danger of failing to meet its own targets for getting clean vehicles on the road.

Brown pushes cities, states to set tough environmental targets

Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing states, cities and provinces around the world to set tougher environmental targets than those likely to be set by nations at the Paris climate summit. Fifteen more sub-national governments agreed to do so Sunday.

In Paris, Schwarzenegger and Brown unite to seek climate action

It was like the debut of an environmentally themed buddy cop drama, with a political odd couple uniting against a common foe.

Brown readies to take spot on global climate stage: 'They're not calling him Moonbeam anymore'

Gov. Jerry Brown was deep into a two-hour meeting on climate change with some of California’s top scientists when he interjected a highly technical and much

California revs up for Paris climate-change summit

In the wonky world of climate change, California’s presence at the United Nations summit in Paris next month is expected to be a star-studded affair.

Oil industry pumped cash into lobbying as fight over energy bill raged

During a pitched battle over climate change legislation this year, the petroleum industry dramatically ramped up its spending on lobbying, new disclosures show.

Cutting ozone will require radical transformation of California's trucking industry

At a laboratory in downtown Los Angeles, a big rig spins its wheels on massive rollers as a metal tube funnels its exhaust into an array of air quality sensors.

Gov. Brown signs climate change bill to spur renewable energy, efficiency standards

California launched an ambitious effort Wednesday to expand renewable energy and increase energy efficiency, advancing Gov. Jerry Brown's plans for battling

A quick guide to California's climate change battle

California's battle against climate change involves an alphabet soup of agencies responsible for different programs and several key laws that guide state

The inside story of how power struggles doomed Jerry Brown's top priority

One of Gov. Jerry Brown's most ambitious environmental goals was hanging in the balance when two powerful California lawmakers met for dinner near the Capitol.

Gas reduction dropped from California climate change bill

Gov. Jerry Brown faced a cascade of setbacks Wednesday as climate change legislation was stripped of his targets for reducing gasoline use, his effort to fix

Why climate law advocates are watching these black and Latino lawmakers

The "wanted" poster with pictures of five state lawmakers appeared in the pages of a Spanish-language newspaper in Southern California last week.

State lawmakers challenge Air Resources Board's power over climate change rules

Top members of Gov. Jerry Brown's staff hosted more than a dozen Assembly members recently to take their temperatures on hotly contested environmental

What's the deal with California's controversial climate change bill?

When Gov. Jerry Brown started his fourth and final term in January, he laid out three ambitious environmental goals for the next 15 years. First, double the

Oil industry, environmentalists in ad war over bill to cut gasoline use

When Californians check their mailboxes or flip on their radios these days, they might be forgiven for thinking an election is around the corner.

This Democrat's decision on climate change could be a game changer

Henry T. Perea was having a change of heart.

Brown seeks to broaden California's clean-energy reach in the West

Gov. Jerry Brown is working on an ambitious plan for transmitting electricity across state lines and bolstering California's role in the region, according to

Gov. Jerry Brown takes aim at oil companies over 'highly destructive' product

Gov. Jerry Brown, who is in the middle of a political battle over climate-change legislation, took aim at oil companies Monday, saying they sell a “highly

California is ahead of the game as Obama releases Clean Power Plan

President Obama's plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants over the next 15 years will force states to address climate change by pushing them to act more

Californians back new policies to fight climate change, poll says

Californians are concerned about the effects of climate change and support new steps to address the problem, according to a poll released Wednesday night by the

Passage of California climate change bill could set global example

When Gov. Jerry Brown visits the Vatican this week for an international conference, he'll be carrying a resolution from state lawmakers supporting Pope Francis'

For Jerry Brown, climate change issue melds the spiritual and political

Buried in Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change was a reference that Gov. Jerry Brown could have appreciated.

California's cap-and-trade program is key to Gov. Jerry Brown's agenda

For Gov. Jerry Brown, fighting climate change is more than a central tenet of his political agenda. It's also a key source of funding.

California's greenhouse gas emission targets are getting tougher

Gov. Jerry Brown accelerated California's effort to slash greenhouse gas emissions Wednesday, burnishing the state's reputation as a pacesetter in the battle

California's push for clean energy has a problem: no place to store it

On a quiet Sunday morning last April, power plants were pumping far more energy into California's electricity grid than residents needed for their

Gov. Brown's renewable energy plan could boost solar, wind industries

Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal this week to significantly boost the amount of energy California derives from renewable sources could reinvigorate the state's

Gov. Brown's inaugural speech continues his green, fiscal themes

SACRAMENTO — Marking a historic occasion with a simple, subdued ceremony, Edmund Gerald Brown Jr. called Monday for ambitious new environmental rules as he

Mary Nichols has 'rock star' influence as top air quality regulator

A meeting with Gov. Jerry Brown and Chevron executives was ending when an oil company official turned to Mary Nichols, California's top regulator for air