Will California ratepayers pay for climate research?
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
Photo: California will need more renewable energy, like these windmills near Palm Springs, to meet its greenhouse gas emission goals. Credit: Lee Celano / AFP / Getty Images