AB 262: Using California’s Purchasing Power to Fight Climate Change

Using California's Purchasing Power to Fight Climate Change

On Sunday, October 15th, Governor Brown signed AB 262, the Buy Clean California Act, which begins to leverage the purchasing power of California to fight climate change. Authored by Assembly Member Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), the bill garnered bipartisan support in both the Assembly and the Senate and was endorsed by Fossil Free California and many other environmental organizations.

AB 262 is the first law in the nation to set a low carbon standard for state contracts for industrial products such as steel and glass. In so doing it sends a message to anyone doing business with California’s large public infrastructure market, that low carbon products are wanted and required. It also levels the playing field, since the low carbon standard applies to all producers, whether they are located in the state or not. Bidders seeking California state contracts for materials including steel, glass and insulation will have to start meeting the low carbon standard by July 1, 2019.

Climate change is a pressing problem that requires a multi-pronged approach. To succeed it is necessary to consider GHG emissions in everything that we do. This bill is among the first to require producers to consider GHG emissions from industrial products used in California infrastructure projects. We hope this approach will be broadened in future legislative actions to include other building and operational products purchased by the state in large quantities. Other areas to consider are how we invest our public funds and how we power our vehicles. As the sixth largest economy in the world, California’s purchasing decisions have impacts well beyond the state.

We thank the authors and co-authors for their work on this bill which aims to ensure that public funds are spent in a manner consistent with California’s climate change goals. We thank the Governor for signing this bill, and everyone who made calls or sent e-mails in support of this bill. In the near future we look forward to seeing other efforts like this! The recent events in Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Napa/Sonoma Valley serve to underscore the urgency for action on all fronts against climate change.

For more information, visit the Buy Clean California website, and read this article from Building Green.

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