Shifting public policy to achieve a sustainable economy, a healthy environment and a just society.


California Climate Asset Plan

The California Climate Asset Plan (CAP) is embodied in the framework of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), a bill that Redefining Progress originally proposed and helped to shape. Based on the principles of efficiency, effectiveness, and fairness, the California CAP will reduce the state's global warming pollution, grow its economy, create jobs, and enable California to invest in a clean energy future.

The Global Warming Solutions Act is a first step toward CAP implementation. It creates an implementation structure that supports CAP, but it could also support less-beneficial policies.

California has an excellent opportunity to invest in its energy future right now. Governor Schwarzenegger and the California Legislature recently agreed, with the passage of Assembly Bill 32, to reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions to 75% of 1990 levels by 2020. The policies we put in place now should be designed to get us to this goal in the most effective and economically beneficial way for all Californians. The principles behind CAP will make this happen.

How It Works

CAP discourages pollution and encourages efficiency and innovation. The goal is to facilitate a more rapid transition to a clean energy economy. This system:

Climate Policy
  • Caps global warming pollution by requiring industry to obtain permits for each ton of carbon released, with a fixed annual number of total permits available.
  • Creates an annual auction for the sale of permits.
  • Sets total allowable emissions for each year at a level below the previous year. The levels are reduced until the desired goals are met.

California’s CAP is based on these principles:

  • Combine market-based incentives with technology-promoting regulations to encourage energy efficiency and renewables.
  • Protect competitiveness by covering emissions associated with products consumed in California, rather than emissions associated with products produced in California.
  • Recycle revenue from emissions permits to promote clean energy technologies, offset the burden on low- and moderate-income households, and encourage sustainable investment in the state’s people, businesses, and environment.

Creates Jobs, Saves Money, and Revitalizes the Economy

Acting now will not only help head off the most harmful consequences of global warming, but also help California transition to a clean energy economy that will make us more competitive. CAP:

  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020.
  • Creates 150,000 net new jobs by 2020 by encouraging technological innovation and re-investing in public benefit programs.
  • Saves California billions of dollars by reducing the public health and environmental costs associated with air pollution and climate change.
  • Requires a percentage of new revenues to finance energy efficiency programs and assist low-income households.

Get Involved

Join us in supporting a plan that will serve as a model program to lower greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen our economy. Contact Andrew Hoerner, Director of the Sustainable Economics Program, to learn how you can help advance smart climate policy in California.

Add the weight of your organization's name to our coalition campaign for an effective and equitable climate policy by signing and returning the endorsement form. It states your support for the principles of capping greenhouse gases and implementing a permit system to achieve real quantifiable reductions.

The following organizations have already joined Redefining Progress in endorsing these principles: California Tax Reform Association, Utility Reform Network, California Interfaith Power and Light, Progressive Policy Institute, and Global Green USA.

For supporting information about the California CAP, download these publications:

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Photo courtesy Reiner Kraft