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California lawmakers extend carbon emissions climate law

An oil refinery in El Segundo one of many facilities that must comply with California's cap-and-trade program

California's program is the only one of its kind in the us and has been considered an worldwide model for using financial pressure to prod industry to reduce emissions.

As the two sides hammer out details of a long-planned merger of their carbon markets, Ontario minister for environment Glen Murray says there are holes in the Golden State's system that may allow oil refiners and power generators to emit carbon dioxide into the air on the cheap.

Still, the cap-and-trade extension bill faced stiff opposition from Democrats and Republicans alike in the weeks leading up to the vote, prompting last minute pleas from Democrats and a near apocalyptic address from Brown about a California devastated by climate change. It passed with 27 votes to 13 votes in the Senate. California Governor Jerry Brown said Republicans and Democrats had taken "courageous action" with the move.

The New York Times reported that eight Republicans voted for the bill, attributing their votes to what many described as "the need to deal with climate change" - a position that differentiated them from the Republican leadership in Washington. Because it was approved by a two-thirds majority, the program won't be subject to legal challenges that it's an unlawful tax. Some grew emotional as they spoke on the floor.

"Today, we proved that Sacramento can rise above the partisan fray of our country to do right for all Californians", Mayes said in a statement. "It is a threat to organized human existence", said Brown.

Contrast that with the abject failure of Republicans in Washington to come through with any kind of health care replacement for Obamacare, not to mention President Donald Trump's mostly hands-off posture to get a bill through Congress.

"I focused on what was the best policy, not what would be the party line", Baker said. But a bitter backlash was brewing among conservative Republicans, with one publicly calling on Mayes to resign. "No", said Mike Madrid, a Republican strategist. "How much more taxation will Californians have to take?" The concept evolved out of passage of Assembly Bill 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, under the Arnold Schwarzenegger administration.

The legislation was fiercely opposed by some environmentalists who say it's too timid for progressive California, especially those who work to clean up the notoriously smoggy air in parts of Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and the agricultural Central Valley.

Senate president pro tem Kevin de Leon displays a list of various backers of a climate change bill Monday. The California Environmental Justice Alliance and the Sierra Club opposed the bill for that reason. Particularly troublesome to them was a provision to limit some separate regulations on refineries.

As Brown noted a year ago, lower regulations and more stock are the best ways to lower housing costs because subsidies benefit only "very small numbers of people".

Earlier this year, Republicans nearly universally opposed funding road repairs with an increase in the gasoline tax. The nonpartisan legislative analyst said past year that the existing cap-and-trade program accounted for an 11-cent-per-gallon increase in gasoline prices.

Republican Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama) points to an estimate from the non-partisan Legislative Analyst Office.

"I know for some, they're going to look at this and say what in the world is going on?"

Some establishment Republicans tried to provide political cover.

California's cap-and-trade system went into effect in 2012, after the California Air Resources Board (CARB) implemented the necessary regulations. Former California Gov. Pete Wilson also signaled his support.

Brown gave a passionate presentation to the state Assembly on Thursday in support of the measure.