California Policy Timeline

  • Air & Environment

  • Energy Efficiency

  • Clean Transportation

  • Renewable Energy

  • Climate

  • 1st in U.S.

  • United States Policy

  • 1947

    Los Angeles Air Pollution Control District created

  • 1963

    Clean Air Act

  • 1967

    California Air Resources Board established

  • 1970

    Environmental Protection Agency created by Presidential Executive Order

  • 1974

    California Energy Commission created

  • 1975

    Congress enacts the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations to improve average fuel economy of cars and light trucks in the U.S.

  • 1977

    Efficiency standards for appliances (Title 20)

  • 1978

    Efficiency standards for new buildings (Title 24)

  • 2002

    California passes the state’s first Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), requiring 20% of total electricity procured from renewables by 2017 (SB 1078)

  • 2005

    Governor Schwarzenegger’s Executive Order set greenhouse gas emission reduction targets (S-3-05)

  • 2006

    California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32)

  • 2007

    Governor Schwarzenegger establishes Low Carbon Fuel Standard regulations to reduce carbon intensity of transportation fuel 10% by 2020 (S-01-07)

  • 2008

    California passes the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (SB 375), targeting greenhouse gas emissions reductions from passenger vehicles through planning and land use strategy

  • 2009

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adopts more stringent tailpipe rules modeled after those of California

  • 2011

    California increases the state’s RPS to require at least 33% of electricity procured from renewable resources by 2020, the most ambitious standard in the country at the time (SB X1-2)

    The Obama administration and 13 major automakers agree to raise CAFE standards up from 27 to an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025

  • 2012

    California established the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund as a special fund to collect cap-and-trade auction revenues (SB 1018)

    California Air Resources Board conducts its first quarterly auction for emissions allowances in the cap-and-trade program as authorized by AB 32

  • 2013

    Governor Brown releases the Zero Emission Vehicle Action Plan that identifies specific strategies and actions that state agencies will take to meet milestones of the executive order for 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles in California by 2025

    California PUC mandates that the state's three investor owned utilities add a combined 1.3 gigawatts of energy storage by 2020

  • 2015

    Governor Brown signs an Executive Order for an interim target of reducing GHG emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 (B-30-15)

    California spearheaded and signed the Under 2 MOU along with other sub-national governments that commits signatories to limit emissions to a level that would limit global warming to less than 2℃

    California passes a law to increase the RPS for renewable energy to 50% and double energy efficiency in buildings (SB 350)

    At the Conference of Parties (COP 21) in Paris, parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change reached a landmark agreement to limit global warming to less than 2℃ and implement programs to support that goal

  • 2016

    The U.S. Supreme Court halted the Environmental Protection Agency's implementation of the Clean Power Plan, a federal program to reduce GHG emissions, while the program is being fought in a lower court

    California extends emission limits from AB32 to mandate statewide emissions reduction equivalent to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and requires state board to submit annual reports on GHG mitigation progress (SB 32)

    California develops a first-in-the-world policy to reduce harmful emissions of short-lived climate pollutants - which have the highest global warming potential of all GHGs - and establishes targets to significantly reduce their emissions by 2030 (SB 1383)

  • 2017

    The Trump administration announces its intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement

  • 2018

    California updates its ZEV Action Plan goal from 1.5 million EVs on the road by 2025 to 5 million on the road by 2030

    California approves mandate to require rooftop solar on all new homes under three stories as part of its 2019 update to Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards

    CARB announces that the state has surpassed the 2020 emissions goal of 431 MMTCO2e four years ahead of schedule

    California passes a law increasing the RPS requirement from 50 percent by 2030 to 60 percent and setting a target to meet all of the state's retail electricity supply with a mix of RPS-eligible and zero-carbon resources by 2045 (SB 100)

    The California Clean Miles Standard and Incentive Program is created to increase the use of zero-emission vehicles by ride-hailing companies, requiring GHG reduction targets to be set for such companies by ARB (SB 1014)

    California and a consortium of automanufacturers agree to a voluntary framework to ensure improved vehicle emissions standards through 2026 for light-duty cars and trucks—in line with goals set under the Obama administration, despite efforts from the Trump administration to freeze emission standards at 2020 levels through 2026

    The Wildfire Fund—to be jointly funded at $21 billion by electrical corporations and ratepayers—is authorized to address future damages from the increasing amount of wildfires in the state (AB 1054)

  • 2020

    The California Air Resources Board adopts the Advanced Clean Trucks rule, the first statewide zero-emission commercial truck standard requiring that manufacturers sell an increasing percentage of zero-emission trucks in California from 2024 to 2035 and requiring 100% zero-emission truck sales in the state by 2045

    Governor Newsom signs an Executive Order (N-79-20) directing the California Air Resources Board to develop regulations to mandate that 100% of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035

    Governor Newsom announces the creation of the California Climate Action Corps, the nation's first statewide corps dedicated supporting climate action projects

    Governor Newsom issues a new Executive Order (N-82-20) committing to increase carbon sequestration in the state's natural and working lands, and establishing the first-in-the-nation goal to conserve 30 percent of the state's land and coastal water by 2030

  • 2021

    President Joe Biden issues Executive Order (13990) requiring all agency heads to review agency activity under the Trump administration that would be considered inconsistent with the Biden administration's environmental policies and consider suspending, revising, or rescinding those actions

    President Joe Biden issues Executive Order (14008) establishing the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy—led by the first-ever National Climate Advisor and Deputy National Climate Advisor—and establishing the National Climate Task Force

    The California Energy Commission votes to approve the first building code in the nation requiring most homes and buildings statewide be equipped with at least one highly-efficient heat pump for either space heating or water heating, or face higher energy efficiency requirements, beginning January 2023

    California passes legislation requiring the state to adopt its first-ever sequestration target on natural and working lands and facilitating the development of sequestration projects that utilize natural and working lands (SB 27)

    California passes legislation requiring the state to adopt a strategy to reduce emissions from the concrete and cement sector by 40% from 2019 to 2030 and to achieve net zero emissions by 2045 (SB 596)

    California passes legislation requiring the California Energy Commission to establish 2030 and 2045 planning goals for electricity generated by offshore wind (AB 525)