California Senate passes Global Warming Solutions Act

California Senate passes Global Warming Solutions Act

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On August 30, 2006, the California State Senate passes Assembly Bill (AB) 32—otherwise known as the Global Warming Solutions Act. The law made California the first state in America to place caps on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, including those found in automobile emissions.

The Global Warming Solutions Act became law thanks to an alliance between the state’s Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and its Democratic-controlled legislature. The bill’s passage solidified California’s role as a leader in enacting legislation aimed at combating global warming, or the gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth’s atmosphere due to the so-called “greenhouse effect” caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. California—which represents 10 percent of the nation’s automobile market and is known for its struggles with air pollution—took the lead early in setting stricter fuel emissions standards than the federal government’s.

READ MORE: When Global Warming Was Revealed by a Zig-Zagged Curve

Despite his professed enthusiasm for the Hummer, a sport utility vehicle (SUV) known for its prodigious size (and prodigious emission of greenhouse gases), Schwarzenegger sought to uphold his state’s pioneering legislation regarding automobile emissions, passed during the tenure of his predecessor, Gray Davis. That law, AB 1493, required the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to regulate greenhouse gases under the state’s motor vehicle program and gave automakers until the 2009 model year to produce cars and light trucks that would collectively emit 22 percent fewer greenhouse gases by 2012 and 30 percent fewer by 2016.

The Global Warming Solutions Act went even further, calling for an overall 25 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions (or to 1990 levels) by 2025, a timetable that would bring California close to full compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, an international climate-change treaty signed in that Japanese city in 1997. Even after Schwarzenegger signed AB 32 into law in September 2006, California faced an uphill battle to enact these new standards against the resistance of the automotive industry, backed by the administration of former President George W. Bush.


Senate Bill 375 was introduced as a bill in order to meet the environmental standards set out by the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32). Since its implementation in 2006, AB 32 has facilitated the passage of a cap-and-trade program in 2010 which placed an upper limit on greenhouse gas levels emitted by the state of California. AB 32 has contributed to its initial objectives of curbing climate change by establishing a program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from various sources throughout California. [4] AB 32 mandates that California reaches 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, which is a twenty five percent decrease from the current levels in the state. [5] Firstly, AB 32 purports to ratify a scoping plan to reach the most practicable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from different sources. [6] This scoping plan outlines how actions will be taken to reduce these emissions and how particular regulations and strategies or plans can contribute to this goal. Also, AB 32 identifies the levels of emissions, sets feasible limits, and adopts a regulatory measure to necessitate the mandatory reporting of these emission measures. [7] The main components within the AB 32 policy have been to institute the cap-and-trade project, increase fuel efficiency in vehicles, decrease the carbon content in fuel, and motivate communities to become energy efficient. In order to fulfill these objectives, SB 375 aims to reduce the amount of carbon emitted by vehicles, reduce the amount of carbon in fuel, and reduce the distance in vehicle trips. [8] SB 375 serves as the nation's first ever law to associate global warming with land use planning and transportation. [9] SB 375 addresses these issues by tracking the levels of emissions from vehicles and by modifying the planning allocations of regional housing and transportation in order to create transportation and land use patterns such that the public will drive their vehicles less. Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) within California are now concerned with carrying out these roles in order to amend these patterns and incentivize the restructuring of plans that contribute in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. [10]

SB 375 went into effect on January 1, 2009 and endured twelve amendments from various groups which modified its initially more stringent mandates. SB 375 takes travel time into account by acknowledging that the development of transportation and land systems affects the amount of time that the public spends driving. The bill's objective is to lead each of California's regions to adopt more long-term sustainable investments across multiple sectors by lessening the extent to which Californians spend time driving and reducing air pollution through these efforts. [11] [12] These sustainable investments are meant to decrease driving distances in order to make driving less necessary. Multiple regional planning commissions, local governmental bodies, and state environmental groups are responsible for SB 375's implementation. [13]

Under the bill, each of California's 18 regions are required to generate a land use and transportation plan, which serves as the SCS for each region. [14] The bill necessitates that every MPO must have a 'Sustainable Communities Strategy' included in the regional transportation plan to show how these targets will be met. As a means of integrating transportation, housing, and land-use plans, this SCS will assist Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO)'s in meeting the greenhouse gas emission targets for 2020 and 2035 which are assigned by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). [15] [16] Each SCS adopted in California includes land use strategies and transportation investment plans to carry out reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. All the SCS plans developed are generated in accordance with the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) which regulates transportation financing in each region, as well as with a Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) which establishes housing goals and housing allocations consistent with the SCS such that the housing and zoning of municipalities must accommodate the plans set out by the RHNA. CARB assigns emissions targets for each region in California which is responsible for ensuring that these targets are met by 2020 and 2035 and then verifies that each SCS will sufficiently fulfill its aims and meet the emissions targets. [17] The SCS guides local governments, with regard to plans regarding zoning or transportation and also provides incentives to developers who develop projects that help to meet the emission targets. [18] Each SCS includes maps which show the land uses in the region, a plan that considers the housing needs of everyone of all income levels living in the region as well as an analysis of impacts on open spaces. [19]

SB 375 establishes a coordinative process between metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and the Air Resources Board (ARB) such that greenhouse gas emission targets are created for every region within California. [20] Also, the bill makes it necessary for governmental decisions that are associated with transportation funding to be in line with the SCS. SB 375 establishes 'California Environmental Quality Act' (CEQA), a statute that mandates state and local agencies to ascertain the environmental effects of their actions and to mitigate them if possible, which serves to streamline benefits for projects that are consistent with this strategy. SB 375 provides CEQA incentives and exceptions for particular development projects that parallel the SCS that the bill sets out. [21] The bill proposes changes to housing law in order to develop common land usage expectations for regional transportation planning and housing. Lastly, the bill fortifies requisites for public input to the creation and review of MPO plans. [22] As a strategy to reach the goals of AB 32, SB 375 requires that CARB establish the targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emission targets for the eighteen MPOs in the state for 2020 and 2035. CARB assigned the 'Regional Targets Advisory Committee' to identify mechanisms for these reductions. [23] After the targets are set, MPOs are required to update their Regional Transportation Plans (RTPs) such that the integrative patterns of planning across multiple sectors are in accordance with one another. If a MPO is practicably unable to meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction target set forth by the SCS, the MPO is required to prepare an 'Alternative Planning Strategy' to identify the impediments to reaching these targets and to demonstrate how emission reductions will take place through the adoption of alternative planning and development patterns.

Obstacles Edit

One significant obstacle that SB 375 has faced relates to the lack of a permanent funding source. When the bill was enacted into law, there was no identified source of funding to finance the comprehensive set of tasks set out for regional agencies. The Southern California Association of Governments initially approximated that the bill's implementation would require $8 million. However, this estimate did not include the costs of local agencies in planning actions related to the bill. As of now, the only possible source of additional funding is $90 million derived from funds of Proposition 84 but these funds are assigned to be utilized for the development and design of sustainable communities in general. Because SB 375 requires constant and continual funding, this funding is unlikely to be enough in financing the long-term objectives of the bill. Although SB 406 was introduced by Senator Mark DeSaulinier to provide permanent financing for SB 375, this bill would require a subcharge on motor vehicle registration and this additional cost is one possible reason why the bill was not amended. In 2009, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed SB 406 and cited the imposition of this fee as subject to the approval of California voters. As of now, SB 406 has not been passed. Additionally, increased financial incentives are likely to be needed in order to support infill developers since increased tax incentives, and reduced permit fees may increase infill development. [24] AB 782 was also introduced by California State Assembly member Kevin Jeffries as a bill to apply CEQA exemptions to more kinds of development projects. This would alter the current patterns of infill development. Although AB 782 was not passed, it represents another bill that was introduced to amend the effects caused by SB 375. In addition, there has been a significant degree of skepticism associated with SB 375's effectiveness. This skepticism derives from the fact that the bill only mandates that a plan for emissions reductions to be created with no requirement for the implementation of this plan. Also, regional governmental bodies are responsible for developing these plans and these bodies do not have the power to regulate the usage of land. However, the law sets a precursor for the creation of a regional carbon budget and puts into place the processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions [25]

On September 23, 2011, ARB adopted greenhouse gas emission targets from passenger vehicles for each of the state's eighteen MPOs for the years 2020 and 2035. [26] These targets were developed in coordination with each of the MPOs. Targets for the eight San Joaquin Valley MPOs are placeholder targets pending the development of improved data, modeling, and target setting scenarios. Targets for the remaining six Metropolitan Planning Organizations—the Monterey Bay, Butte, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Shasta and Tahoe Basin regions—generally match or improve upon their current plans for 2020 and 2035. MTC, SANDAG, SACOG, SCAG and the San Joaquin Valley MPOs comprise 95% of the State of California's current population, vehicle miles of travel, and passenger vehicle greenhouse gas emissions, with the remaining six MPOs comprising only 5%. The targets are expressed as a percent reduction in per capita greenhouse gas emissions, with 2005 as a base year. Regions that meet their targets may receive easier access to certain federal funding opportunities and streamlined environment review of development and infrastructure projects. [27] Final targets were adopted by ARB on February 15, 2011. [28]

Regional Targets - Percent Reduction in Per Capita Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Passenger Vehicles Edit

MPO 2020 2035
San Francisco Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) 7% 15%
San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) 7% 13%
Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) 7% 16%
San Joaquin Valley MPOs (8 in total) 5% 10%
Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) 8% 13%
6 other MPOs
Tahoe 7% 5%
Shasta 0% 0%
Butte 1% 1%
San Luis Obispo 8% 8%
Santa Barbara 0% 0%
Monterey Bay 0% 5%

Every four years in areas that are not in attainment under the Clean Air Act, and every five years in areas of attainment, MPOs prepare a Regional Transportation Plan that serves as a blueprint for future investments in transportation in their region. SB 375 adds each a new element to the RTP, called a Sustainable Communities Strategy, or SCS. The SCS will increase the integration of land use and transportation planning through more detailed allocation of land uses in the RTP. Local and regional governments and agencies are empowered to determine how the targets are met, through a combination of land use planning, transportation programs, projects and policies, and/or other strategies. ARB will review each SCS to determine whether it would, if implemented, achieve the greenhouse gas emission reduction target for its region. If the SCS will not meet the region's target, the MPO must prepare a separate "alternative planning strategy (APS)" that is expected to meet the target. The APS is not a part of the RTP.

In July 2011, ARB published a description of the methodology that it will use to determine whether a region's SCS, if adopted, will be expected to meet the greenhouse gas reduction target for that region.

MPOs develop models to estimate current and predict future transportation-related conditions in the region. Inputs to the model include population distribution, land uses, and transportation infrastructure and services. The model then converts these inputs into output values such as vehicle miles traveled, daily trips per household and percentage trips by various modes of travel (auto, transit, bicycling and walking). These and other outputs of the model will be used to estimate total greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles for the region.

Primary responsibility for transportation modeling remains with the MPOs, as will the evaluation of the impact of their SCS on greenhouse gas emissions. ARB's role will be evaluate the technical analysis performed by the MPOs, including a review of model complexity, and consideration of available resources and unique characteristics of each region. ARB will confirm estimates of vehicle-related GHG emissions and make a determination of whether these emissions will meet regional targets. Over time, ARB will revise its methodology for reviewing an SCS and work with MPOs to help them improve their modeling capabilities and evaluation of the impact of future Sustainable Communities Strategies on vehicle-related greenhouse gas emissions. [29]

Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) Edit

SACOG is currently preparing their 2035 Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP), which will include a Sustainable Communities Strategy as required by SB 375. The draft MTP is scheduled for release in Fall 2011.

San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Edit

In June 2011, SANDAG released its Draft Regional Transportation Plan for 2050 which includes its Draft Sustainable Communities Strategy. [30] On Tuesday, September 13, 2011, ARB released an informational report on SANDAG's Draft SB 375 Sustainable Communities Strategy [31]

San Francisco Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) Edit

As part of their long-term regional planning process, titled "One Bay Area," the MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) are developing a 25-year transportation plan for the San Francisco Bay Area that is scheduled for adoption in 2013. The initial vision scenario for the plan, which will include a Sustainable Communities Strategy for the region, was released on March 11, 2011.

Since its passage, SB 375 has garnered some controversy in relation to its environmental justice-related implications. The development and drafting process of SCS plans allow for minority and low-income communities to take advantage of opportunities to participate in the application of the bill so that ideas of equity are incorporated into its implementation. SB 375 specifies that regional planning agencies must implement a public participation plan for the drafting of the SCS. [32] SB 375 requires that the SCS for each region in California include the RHNA requirement to provide housing to people of all income levels. [33] The Regional Targets Advisory Committee which recommends ways to reduce emissions to each of California's regions is made up of local governmental representatives as well as members of the public, affected air districts, and regional coalitions. [34] Also, the CEQA exemption and streamlining provision would possibly make particular projects more difficult to litigate and the CEQA streamlining benefits have led multiple environmental groups to withdraw their support for the bill.

Although SB 375 supports increased density development surrounding main transit stops, this does not guarantee an increase in affordable options for housing and may even increase land values in these places, which may lead to the displacement of the people who live there. [35] [36] Another way in which the bill contributes to environmental justice is that the bill requires each city to show where housing will be situated in order to meet housing allocations for residents of varying income levels and SB 375 provides direct action to curb urban sprawl as well. [37] [38] [39] According to a research study on accessory dwelling units by the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design, California's implementation of SB 375 has indeed placed more pressure on particular neighborhoods to promote affordable housing development and infill. For example, the San Francisco Bay Area is dealing with the challenges of infilling which may lead to increases in the cost of housing and further escalate the economic crisis for the communities there. [40]

There have been claims that SB 375 increases pressure from gentrification and does not improve the livelihoods of low-income neighborhoods with higher levels of minority populations. The pressure from gentrification may lead to population migration such that poorer residents may be displaced by wealthy newcomers as a result of the SB 375 investments that fund particular infrastructure and projects in accordance with the bill. These claims further blame the bill for lacking positive funding as well as restrictions on sprawl. Moreover, opponents of the bill claim that while the bill may promote development near transit areas in urban neighborhoods, they claim that other factors such as crime rate and employment levels in these neighborhoods must not be ignored in the passage of these bills. [41]

In addition, environmental justice advocates claim that SB 375 could lead MPOs to allocate more resources to high income as well as to suburban rail expansion and will lead to inequitable transit systems and lower housing affordability. [42] They also claim that equitable reforms will not take place under the bill because they believe that the bill may generate urban development patterns that displace low-income communities and communities of color. [43] Another significant concern is that the CEQA exemptions can be used to weaken advocacy efforts in communities of color and low-income communities. Although SB 375 has an obligation to generate and reserve affordable housing for the public, these advocates are concerned with the implications that may arise from the implementation of each SCS that results from SB 375. [44] [45]

In 2010, the Proposition 23, the "California Jobs Initiative" was proposed, but failed at the ballot box. It would have frozen the provisions of AB 32 from going into effect until the unemployment rate in California dropped to 5.5% or less for four quarters in a row. When AB 32 was enacted in 2006, the state's unemployment rate was 4.8%. In the early part of 2010, the unemployment rate crept over 12%. Β]


  • In 2008, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted a plan to implement the provisions of AB 32. Γ]
  • A variety of environmental groups filed a lawsuit against ARB, arguing that its 2008 plan was adopted before the agency completed a required environmental review, and that it did not adequately consider alternatives to cap and trade as its primary method of implementing AB 32. Γ]
  • On February 4, San Francisco Superior Court judge Ernest Goldsmith agreed with the plaintiffs and ordered the ARB not to go forward with its 2008 plan to implement AB 32 until it has come into compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. Goldsmith's ruling said that ARB "seeks to create a fait accompli by premature establishment of a cap-and-trade program before alternatives can be exposed to public comment and properly evaluated by the ARB itself," that the analysis it did provide includes "no evidence to support its chosen approach" and that ARB's decision to approve the larger plan without a complete review "undermines (the state environmental quality act's) goal of informed decision-making." Γ]

Low carbon rules

On December 30, 2011, federal judge Lawrence J. O'Neill of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California issued a preliminary injunction against a provision in AB 32 about fuel imports into the state infringes on Congress's constitutional authority over interstate commerce. Δ]

The injunction says that AB 32 unconstitutionally discriminates against crude oil and ethanol imported into the state. Δ]

Charles Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, applauded the court ruling and said that if that provision of AB 32 was upheld, ". the standards would have hurt consumers by discriminating against their use of renewable fuels from the Midwest and crude oil from our neighbor and ally Canada. Different states could have followed California's example and created a patchwork quilt of varying fuel standards that would have raised the costs of manufacturing gasoline and diesel fuel across the United States." Δ]

Trip Van Noppen, president of Earthjustice, an environmental law firm, responded to the injunction by saying, "It is not surprising that the oil industry is attacking these programs, but like previous attacks in the courts and at the ballot box, we expect this one ultimately to fail." Δ]

Carbon offset auctions

Beginning in the fall of 2012, under the terms of AB 32, the state will be able to conduct auctions of "pollution credits" to businesses in the state that product carbon, such as oil refineries and power plants. These companies can bid in an auction to pay money to the state in exchange for the ability to continue to produce atmospheric pollutants at a higher-than-would-otherwise-be-allowed level.

The California Legislative Analyst's Office estimates that these auctions will yield anywhere from $1 billion to $3 billion a year for the state, possibly rising as high as $14 billion a year in 2015. This is significant, considering that in 2012, the state's budget deficit is approximately $9 billion.

Several businesses have filed lawsuits against this part of the AB 32 legislation. In addition, it is likely that the state would only be able to spend any money it does raise in these auctions -- if they are allowed to proceed -- on programs that are narrowly targeted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ε]

California Senate Passes Historic Legislation to Tackle Climate Change

SACRAMENTO (June 3, 2015)–The California State Senate today approved a set of bills that will significantly boost the use of renewable energy, drastically reduce petroleum demand, and set an ambitious target for reducing climate pollution over the coming decades.

The “California Climate Leadership” package of legislation creates new environmental and energy standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are consistent with the goals set by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Below is a statement by Adrienne Alvord, California and western states director at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“The Union of Concerned Scientists applauds the California State Senate for passing visionary legislation that will decarbonize the state’s economy and help disadvantaged communities most impacted by pollution and climate change.

“This package of climate bills provides a roadmap to achieving California’s goals of dramatically reducing global warming emissions. These new standards will help ensure clean supplies of energy, spur technological innovation and improve public health for the benefit of generations to come.

“I congratulate the authors of the bills and Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León for their courage and leadership in tackling climate change and envisioning a resilient future. This legislation should serve as an inspiration to other states and countries struggling to address the climate crisis and strengthen their economies.”

CA Legislature Moves On Global Warming

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (June 27, 2006) — The California Senate Environmental Quality Committee passed the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) by a margin of 4-2 yesterday. The passage indicates increasing support for limiting greenhouse gas pollution in California. The bill was jointly authored by Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblymember Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), on April 3, 2006. The bill’s passage is a milestone for the global warming legislation as it must be passed in the Senate and Assembly before going to Governor Schwarzenegger.

“The world is taking action on global warming, and yesterday’s vote shows that California is ready to be a leader in the US in tackling the most urgent challenge of our generation,” said Karen Douglas, director of the California Climate Initiative of Environmental Defense. “Those who voted yes know that by acting now we can fight global warming and benefit the economy.”

AB 32 is the first statewide effort to cap greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of California’s economy. It would set a firm cap that would ensure that California’s greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 25% by the year 2020, putting teeth in Governor Schwarzenegger’s goal to reduce California’s emissions. AB 32 is another milestone in state efforts to reduce greenhouse gas pollutants. On July 22, 2002, Assembly Bill (AB) 1493 was signed into law, requiring California to develop and adopt the nation’s first greenhouse gas emission standards for automobiles.

“Today’s action in California sets the stage for real action to combat global warming,” said Ann Notthoff, California Advocacy Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “The sooner we act the sooner we can unleash California’s technological prowess and environmental leadership to transform our energy economy, clean our environment and reduce our dependence upon foreign oil.”

The scientific community continues to urge immediate action to reduce global warming pollution. Just last week the National Academy of Sciences issued a report confirming a dramatic rise in the world’s temperature over the last 400 years. At the same time, the Southwest U.S. is suffering under extreme drought, and there are new scientific reports documenting accelerated melting of major ice sheets that will lead to destructive sea level rise. Evidence continues to build that hurricanes are growing more intense as a result of rising temperatures.

Global warming threatens California’s economy, environment and way of life, leading scientists say. According to recent studies published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, rising temperatures will shrink the Sierra snow pack, the largest source of California’s drinking and irrigation water, by 30 to 90 percent. In a warmer climate, sea levels are expected to rise and heat waves, smoggy days and wildfires will become more common, while demand for electricity soars during peak summer demand.

“Global warming is not only a scientific problem &ndash but the most important moral issue of our time,” said Reverend Sally Bingham of the Episcopal Diocese of California. “It directly affects the survival of future generations.”

In June 2005, Gov. Schwarzenegger set targets to reduce global warming emissions to 2000 levels by 2010, to 1990 levels by 2020 and to reduce emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The Global Warming Solutions Act would put teeth in the governor’s Executive Order by establishing a binding statewide limit on global warming emissions. It also would set reporting requirements for industry to ensure that the 2020 targets are achieved.

The emissions reductions can be achieved with strategies such as increasing California’s renewable energy supply to 33 percent by 2020 creating new energy efficiency performance standards cleaning up motor vehicle emissions and using more ‘biofuels’ made from agricultural products. Other strategies include improving transit alternatives and bolstering water conservation measures in order to reduce the energy needed for water transport and treatment.

The California Climate Change Center at the University of California at Berkeley found that California could achieve almost half of the governor’s 2020 targets while increasing Gross State Product by about $60 billion and creating more than 20,000 new jobs.

“The Global Warming Solutions Act will draw the investment capital, companies and jobs needed to establish California as a leader in the competitive clean technology market,” said Bob Epstein, co-founder of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) and a trustee of NRDC.

More information about The Global Warming Solutions Act and global warming impacts on California is available online at:

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 1.2 million members and online activists nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.


Paleoclimatological studies indicate that the last 150 years of California's history have been unusually wet compared to the previous 2000 years. Tree stumps found at the bottom of lakes and rivers in California indicate that many water features dried up during historical dry periods, allowing trees to grow there while the water was absent. These dry periods were associated with warm periods in Earth's history. During the Medieval Warm Period, there were at least two century-long megadroughts with only 60-70% of modern precipitation levels. Paleoclimatologists believe that higher temperatures due to global warming may cause California to enter another dry period, with significantly lower precipitation and snowpack levels than observed over the last 150 years. [7]

A 2011 study projected that the frequency and magnitude of both maximum and minimum temperatures would increase significantly as a result of global warming. [8] The same study further projected that the frequency and magnitude of both maximum and minimum temperatures would likely increase as a result of global warming. [8]

Wildfires Edit

In 2017, a study projected that the single largest threat to Los Angeles County hospitals related to climate change is the direct impact of the expected increase in wildfires. In Los Angeles County, 34% of hospitals are located within one mile of fire hazard severity zones. Additionally, one of these hospitals was also deemed in danger of coastal flooding due to the effects of climate change as concluded by the study. This latter issue was also included and focused on, as the study likewise concluded that this would become a greater hazard as sea level rise due to increase annual temperatures. [9]

As a consequence of further global warming, it is projected that there will be an increase in risk due to climate-driven wildfires in the coming decades. Because of warming, frequent droughts, and the legacy of past land management and expansion of residential areas, both people and the ecology are more vulnerable to wildfires. Wildfire activity is closely tied to temperature and drought over time. Globally, the length of the fire season increased by nearly 19% from 1979 to 2013, with significantly longer seasons in the western states. Since 1985, more than 50% of the wildfire area burned in the western United States can be attributed to anthropogenic climate change. In addition, due to human fire suppression methods, there is a build of fuels in some ecosystems, making them more vulnerable to wildfires. There is greater risk of fires occurring in denser, dryer forests, where historically these fires have occurred in low-density areas. Lastly, with increases in human population, communities have expanded into areas that are at higher risk to wildfire threat, making these same populations more vulnerable to structural damage and death due to wildfires. Since 1990, the average annual number of homes lost to wildfires has increased by 300%. Almost 900,000 of western US residences were in high risk wildfire areas as of 2017 with nearly 35% of wildfires in California starting within this high risk areas. [10]

In 2019, after "red flag" warning about the possibility of wildfires was declared in some areas of California, the electricity company "Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E)" begun to shut down power, for preventing inflammation of trees that touch the electricity lines. Millions can be impacted. The climatic conditions that cause this warning became more frequent because of climate change. [11] If the temperatures keep rising, such power outages could become common. [12]

The wildfires in 2020 have resulted in burning of more than 4 million acres in California, which is reportedly double the total of 2018 wildfire statistics, called the record highest. Out of six of the biggest fires in the state of California, five took place in 2020. As a result, 31 people were reported dead and 9,200 structures destroyed, as of 14 October 2020. [13]

Drought Edit

According to the NOAA Drought Task Force report of 2014, the drought is not part of a long-term change in precipitation and was a symptom of the natural variability, although the record-high temperature that accompanied the recent drought may have been amplified due to human-induced global warming. [14] This was confirmed by a 2015 scientific study which estimated that global warming "accounted for 8–27% of the observed drought anomaly in 2012–2014. Although natural variability dominates, anthropogenic warming has substantially increased the overall likelihood of extreme California droughts." [15] A study published in 2016 found that the net effect of climate change has made agricultural droughts less likely, with the authors stating that "Our results indicate that the current severe impacts of drought on California’s agricultural sector, its forests, and other plant ecosystems have not been substantially caused by long-term climate change." [16]

In February 2014, the Californian drought effects caused the California Department of Water Resources to develop plans for a temporary reduction of water allocations to farmland by up to 50% at the time. During that period California's 38 million residents experienced 13 consecutive months of drought. This is particularly an issue for the state's 44.7 billion dollar agricultural industry, which produces nearly half of all American-grown fruits, nuts, and vegetables. [17] According to NASA, tests published in January 2014 have shown that the twelve months prior to January 2014 were the driest on record, since record-keeping began in 1885. [18] Lack of water due to low snowpack prompted Californian governor Jerry Brown to order a series of stringent mandatory water restrictions on April 1, 2015. [19]

Forest management Edit

Drought-surviving sugar pines around Lake Tahoe have found among 129 million trees in California killed between 2012 and 2016 by drought and bark beetles. Thousands of seedlings descended from these trees are being planted south-facing slopes on the lake basin's north side with the hope that they carry genes that make them more resilient to drought, waning snowpack and other effects of global warming in the forests of Sierra Nevada. [20]

Agriculture Edit

Extended periods of higher temperatures are expected to increase navel orangeworm reproduction, resulting in increased insect damage to almond, walnut, and pistachio crops. [21]

Conservation groups are partnering with farmers in Central California to flood fields for portions of the year, in order to increase habitat for species impacted by climate change, such as salmon and migratory birds. [22] [23]

Fisheries impact Edit

Ocean heat waves since 2013 have delayed three Dungeness crab seasons, due to harmful algal blooms that contaminate crab meat. [24]

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research projected that a sea level rise of between 1 and 2 m will swallow between one-third and two-thirds of Southern California beaches. [25]

Expected increases in extreme weather could lead to increased risk of illnesses and death. [26] There are various diseases that will impact Californians as a result to climate change. "Exposure to wildfire smoke has been linked to health problems such as respiratory infections, cardiac arrests, low birth weight, mental health conditions, and exacerbated asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.17 Longterm exposure to wildfire smoke generated an estimated $76 billion to $136 billion per year in health costs across the continuous United States from 2008 to 2012, with some of the most significant impacts in northern California." [27]

Heat waves Edit

From May to September 1999 – 2003, a study was conducted in nine Californian counties that found that for every 10 °F (5.6 °C) increase in temperature, there is a 2.6 percent increase in cardiovascular deaths. [28]

2006 heat wave Edit

A study of the 2006 Californian heat wave showed an increase of 16,166 emergency room visits, and 1,182 hospitalizations. There was also a dramatic increase in heat related illnesses a six-fold increase in heat-related emergency room visits, and 10-fold increase in hospitalizations. [29]

A study of seven counties impacted by the 2006 heat wave found a 9 percent increase in daily mortality per 10 degrees Fahrenheit change in apparent temperature for all counties combined. This estimate is 3 times greater than the effect estimated for the rest of the warm season. The estimates indicate that actual mortality during the 2006 heat wave was two or three times greater than the initial coroner estimate of 147 deaths. [30]

Air pollution Edit

Research suggests that the majority of air pollution related health effects are caused by ozone (O3) and particulate matter (PM). Many other pollutants that are associated with climate change, such as nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide, also have health consequences. [31]

Five of the ten most ozone-polluted metropolitan areas in the United States (Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Visalia, Fresno, and Sacramento) are in California. [32] [33] Californians suffer from a variety of health consequences due to air pollution – including 18,000 premature deaths attributed to various causes such as respiratory diseases as well as a number of other illnesses. [34]

Climate change may lead to exacerbated air pollution problems. Higher temperatures catalyze chemical interactions between nitrogen oxide, volatile organic gases and sunlight that lead to increases in ambient ozone concentrations in urban areas. A study found that for each 1 degree Celsius (1 °C) rise in temperature in the United States, there are an estimated 20–30 excess cancer cases, as well as approximately 1000 (CI: 350–1800) excess air-pollution-associated deaths. [35] About 40 percent of the additional deaths may be due to ozone and the rest to particulate matter annually. Three hundred of these annual deaths are thought to occur in California. [36]

Gross domestic product Edit

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that under a business-as-usual scenario, between the years 2025 and 2100, the cost of providing water to the western states in the United States will increase from $200 billion to $950 billion per year, an estimated 0.93–1 percent of the United States' gross domestic product (GDP). Four climate change impacts—hurricane damage, energy costs, real estate losses, and water costs—alone are projected to cost 1.8 percent of the GDP of the United States, or, just under $1.9 trillion in 2008 U.S. dollars by the year 2100. [4]

Job opportunities Edit

A study conducted in 2009 showed that increases in frequency and intensity of extreme weather due to climate change will lead to a decreased productivity of agriculture, revenue losses, and the potential for lay offs. [5] Changing weather and precipitation patterns could require expensive adaptation measures, such as relocating crop cultivation, changing the composition or type of crops, and increasing inputs such as pesticides to adapt to changes in ecological composition, that lead to economic degradation and job loss. [32] Climate change has adverse effects on agricultural productivity in California that cause laborers to be increasingly affected by job loss. For example, the two highest-value agricultural products in California's $30 billion agriculture sector are dairy products (milk and cream, valued at $3.8 billion annually) and grapes ($3.2 billion annually). [37] It is also expected to adversely affect the ripening of wine grapes, substantially reducing their market value. [38]

California has taken a number of legislative steps and extensive measures and initiatives targeted at the broader issue of climate effects seeking to prevent and minimize the risks of possible effects of climate change [39] [40] by a wide variety of incentives, measures and comprehensive plans for clean cars, renewable energy, and pollution controls on industry with overall high environmental standards. [41] [42] [43] California is internationally known for its leading role in the realm of ecoconscious legislature not just on a national level but also globally. [44] [39] [45]

California State Senate Approves Historic Legislation and Funding to Protect the Environment

SACRAMENTO – The California Senate once again demonstrated its commitment to addressing climate change and protecting our environment by passing groundbreaking legislation that accelerates the state’s transition away from fossil fuels and safeguards our public lands. The Senate also approved significant investments in environmental protection through the 2018-19 budget.

“California is at the forefront of a global effort to halt climate change and preserve a healthy, livable environment for future generations,” Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins said. “With every step we take, we are improving the air we breathe and the water we drink.”

Specifically, the Senate highlighted the following bills that were sent to Governor Brown for his signature:

  • SB 901 (Sen. Bill Dodd): Addresses ever-increasing devastation from wildfires by revamping our disaster response and preparedness protocols, building a new framework to strengthen our electrical grid and protecting ratepayers from bearing the brunt of the costs from unchecked blazes.

“Wildfires have become a regular feature in California, with every Senate district being touched by the consequences of a warming climate, in one way or another.” Senate Leader Atkins continued. “Addressing this issue was a top priority for the Senate, and I am proud of the work that was accomplished by my colleagues in the Senate and Assembly.”

  • SB 100 (Sen. Kevin de León): Recognizing the existential threat of climate change, makes California the first major economy on Earth to commit to 100-percent clean energy by the year 2045.
  • SB 834 (Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson): Prevents new offshore oil drilling to protect our precious coasts and the local economies and ecosystems that depend on them.
  • SB 606 (Sen. Robert Hertzberg): Enacts the most aggressive and stringent water-efficiency and water-conservation measures in state history.
  • SB 1013 (Sen. Ricardo Lara): Locks in climate-friendly technologies that prohibit the use of certain ozone-depleting substances and hydrofluorocarbons in refrigerants.
  • SB 1263 and SB 1422 (Sen. Anthony Portantino): Directs the Ocean Protection Council to study the scale and risk of microplastic materials and microfibers on the marine environment and directs the State Water Resources Control Board to adopt requirements for testing and reporting on the amount of microplastics in drinking water.

In addition, this year’s budget included significant investments in our environment, such as:

  • $1.24 billion from Prop. 68 general obligation bonds for state and local park improvements, ecosystem restoration and water action plans such as flood management.
  • $1.4 billion in greenhouse gas reduction funds that support climate resiliency efforts and benefit disadvantaged communities.
  • $983 million to make sure our disaster survivors, local governments and emergency personnel have the recovery funds they need and deserve.
  • $334.5 million to implement a program to accelerate sales of zero-emission vehicles.
  • $93 million from Prop. 68 for grants to public water systems in disadvantaged communities for infrastructure improvements to meet safe and affordable drinking water standards.

“Every Senate district has now felt the consequences of a climate change in one way or another. We’re in uncharted territory, and all signs indicate we’ve only just begun to feel the harsh realities of a warming planet,” continued Atkins. “We still have so much work to do. So we celebrate our progress but vow to continue our work in January.”

California climate opportunities can overcome science deniers

The result of the United States presidential election has been shocking to many people concerned about civil rights and environmental issues, including those concerned about climate change. While Trump’s climate change denialism poses many dangers, it is important to recognize that opportunities exist in California for securing climate policy that is scientifically defensible, economically equitable and socially just.

In the Trump era, California can and must continue to lead on climate. California’s well-established global climate leadership multiplies in effectiveness by the unparalleled expertise, strength and political momentum of grassroots advocates that call the state their home.

Notable for people concerned about climate change was this shared statement distributed the day after the election by California’s legislative leadership. California Senate President pro tempore Kevin de León and California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon made reference in their statement to not allow the presidential election to reverse the sense of “global responsibility” that is inherent in the example that California sets for other states to follow.

Two bills passed that the Trump election cannot affect.

This statement is of vital importance for setting a tone for the upcoming 2017 legislative session, but powerful climate legislation passed in California in the summer of 2016 under the leadership of de León and Rendon makes the difference for California to push past Trump’s denialism. Environmental justice organizations in communities around the state were mobilized in the capitol of Sacramento this past summer in an historic way that resulted in significant legislative successes.

Two bills passed that the Trump election cannot affect. SB 32 builds upon the landmark 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act that set the goal of reducing California greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. SB 32 is unprecedented by legally mandating the achievement of an emissions level of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Due to the fierce mobilization of environmental justice organizations, SB 32 explicitly did not further authorize the dubious Cap-and-Trade Program beyond the year 2020, opening the door to the development of effective climate policy in California that will not rely on unjust and ineffective pollution trading.

These recently passed laws are the legal foundation of future climate action in California.

In fact, the parallel bill that passed last summer, AB 197, demands that priority is made of direct emissions reductions in the communities bearing the brunt of the state’s pollution burden, paving the way for the establishment of an alternative to the scientifically flawed and economically unfair carbon market.

These recently passed laws are the legal foundation of future climate action in California. Their passage ensures an opportunity in California to pursue and demand real emissions reductions at the source, even in the daunting atmosphere of an incipient Trump presidency. In fighting Trump climate change denialism, we need policies that are based on sound science and justice, implementing actions that attain real emissions reductions at the source while protecting affected communities, and that do not rely on questionable pollution trading schemes that are, in their own way, a form of climate science denialism.

Abandon false solutions in the market-based mechanism: #YesCapNoTrade

Trump’s climate science denial helps highlight the scientific fundamentals of effective climate policy on a global, national, state and local level. California’s depth of experience in responding to the economic and environmental threats of climate change has created a track record that helps us distinguish between what works, and what does not work. What we do know is that in California, the most efficient policies for emissions reductions are those rules and regulations that are considered “complementary measures,” being those measures that are meant to correspond with the market-based compliance mechanism, better known as Cap-and-Trade. Ironically, complementary measures such as the Renewables Portfolio Standard are responsible for the vast majority of real emissions reductions in California since the beginning of the implementation of the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act.

Cap-and-Trade itself, however, as a pollution trading scheme, is a vehicle for environmental racism and provides ephemeral and scientifically questionable results in limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Cap-and-Trade is estimated at this juncture to be responsible for less than 25 percent of accounted for emissions “reductions,” while the burden of ongoing pollution remains on the shoulders of those communities that live closest to emitting facilities such as oil and gas refineries and related infrastructure.

A study distributed by the California Environmental Justice Alliance exposes how Cap-and-Trade is resulting in an actual onsite increase in emissions from a significant number of those facilities that are included in the carbon market. The emissions “reductions” being claimed in Cap-and-Trade are for the most part due to carbon accounting tricks that allow carbon credits from forest offsets projects to be accounted for as emissions “reductions,” while in aggregate industrially managed forests are net emitters. The climate science is clear that considering carbon storage on land as a means to “offset” or “neutralize” emissions from burning fossil fuels is a scientifically flawed concept. Cap-and-Trade is an ineffective and unjust scheme that facilitates business as usual for climate-destroying fossil fuel industries.

This fight for real emissions reductions at their source is the crux of an equitable and scientifically defensible response to the dangers of Trump climate change denialism.

Environmental justice organizations in California have been firm in their opposition to the reliance on offsets in the California carbon market from the very beginning. The ongoing principled challenge to the unjust Cap-and-Trade Program was made evident when climate justice advocates demanded an end to pollution trading with a #YesCapNoTrade protest outside of a September California Air Resources Board hearing on the future of the program. This fight for real emissions reductions at their source is the crux of an equitable and scientifically defensible response to the dangers of Trump climate change denialism.

California’s climate destruction secret: Industrial logging in California’s forests

The important role of protecting forests in mitigating climate change is too often taken for granted in California climate policy discussions. However, one of the overarching false narratives promoted by Cap-and-Trade is that magically forests are going to scrub the atmosphere of the greenhouse gasses emitted by the ongoing burning of fossil fuels. The science is clear that carbon sequestration in forests cannot “neutralize” ongoing emissions from burning fossil fuels. The reality is that carbon sequestration in land-based ecosystems such as forests have to be understood in the context of past deforestation and land use change. And if there is one thing that has happened, and unfortunately continues to happen, in California’s forests, it is deforestation.

Right now in California approximately 35,000 acres of forest are lost every year due to destructive industrial practices like clearcutting. The climate impacts and greenhouse gas emissions from the historic liquidation of globally important old growth forests, such as the redwood temperate rainforest ecosystem, have been largely ignored and even willfully obfuscated by state agencies and policy makers. Even with the acknowledgement of massive historic and contemporary forest loss, the California Air Resources Board and other responsible agencies still refuse to provide any data regarding the greenhouse gas emissions from logging and related industrial activities in the state’s forests. When calculated to include foregone sequestration from forest loss, the climate impacts from extensive use of fossil fuel based fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, and the damage done to soils in industrial harvest of trees, there is no question that current industrial forestry operations are a significant net source of greenhouse gas emissions. The Air Resources Board’s commissioned studies provide informed quantification of the significant greenhouse gas emissions from “silviculture applications” (i.e., logging) alone, which are compounded by very significant emissions from natural disturbance regimes such as fire — yet the state refuses to quantify the emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in their annual inventory of greenhouse gas emissions.

California’s ability to develop world leading policy is still possible post-election with the opportunities and political objectives that came out of the last legislative session.

Soberingly, though hidden from the public eye, ongoing research reveals that carbon losses from ecosystems in California are as much as 5–7 percent of state carbon emissions from all sectors, which is the equivalent of about half the emissions from electricity generation in the state. Respect for science requires that this challenge of the reduction of the significant greenhouse gas emissions in California’s forests, including from industrial activities such as clear-cut logging, will be front and center in upcoming discussions regarding climate policy in California.

California must lead the way on climate

The courageous political leadership in the state capitol in conjunction with the activism of the California environmental justice community and traditional environmental allies will not be deterred in the shared efforts to protect communities and the planet, regardless of the denialism that Trump and his appointees stubbornly perpetuate.

California’s ability to develop world leading policy is still possible post-election with the opportunities and political objectives that came out of the last legislative session. A dim future of ecologically illiterate Trump climate science denialism contrasts with the shared desire in California to demonstrate global leadership in implementing equitable and scientifically defensible climate policy. This high standard of global leadership will make it difficult for the State of California to obfuscate or hide climate damage to protect powerful economic sectors, such as the oil and gas or timber industries, which profit from climate change denialism. Climate science denial must be fought and exposed in all its manifestations, especially in a state that celebrates its responsibility as a global climate leader. In the Trump era of climate change denial, California can and must continue to lead on climate.

Take action: Tell your Senators to block climate denier Scott Pruitt from leading the EPA!

Mitsubishi Screwed Up Again

Good morning! Welcome to The Morning Shift , your roundup of the auto news you crave, all in one place every weekday morning. Here are the important stories you need to know.

1st Gear: You Guys Come On

“What’s Mitsubishi up to these days?”, you no doubt wonder several times a day. Reportedly screwing up again, that’s what.

Japan’s transport ministry is set to release findings that the deeply troubled automaker overstated fuel economy figures on eight more vehicles in that country, in addition to the four we already knew about. That comes from a yet-to-be-released report in the Nikkei. Via Reuters :

Japan’s transport ministry, which had been investigating the fuel economy on Mitsubishi models including the Pajero SUV, would report its findings as early as Tuesday, the Nikkei said, citing an unnamed source.

The Nikkei said the company would likely withdraw the affected vehicles from the market to revise its catalogs, a process which could take about two to three weeks. Compensation to customers was a possibility, it added.

Both Mitsubishi and the transport ministry declined to comment on the report. Shares in the automaker slipped 0.8 percent in early trade.

2nd Gear: Be Patient

Speaking of cheating automakers, Volkswagen AG CEO Matthias Mueller is pushing forward with a massive reorganization and revamp of the automaker to cut overlapping models, revamp other ones and focus on electric vehicles. When we will start seeing the fruits of this? Two to five years, he said. Via Bloomberg :

“Some believe this will pass eventually, that Mueller will only be there for five years, then there’s a new boss and when the emissions crisis is over, we’ll be doing better anyway,” Mueller told reporters. “That’s not the case. Regardless of the emissions crisis, this company must reform itself and align for the future.”

VW’s management board is working on about 60 projects to overhaul the German automaker, including a cultural shift to get the company’s 12 brands and numerous divisions to cooperate, as it retools for technological change and seeks to recover from the emissions-heating crisis, Mueller said at a briefing late Monday in Hamburg.

He also calls out Renault for being dicks:

“We have the whole world at our throats,” Mueller said. “We hope that it will come to a good end. Well, it’s not a good end anyway it’s super expensive.”

Mueller said finger-pointing from other carmakers such as Renault SA during the diesel crisis made him feel angry at times.

“If they had kept their mouths shut, it would have been bearable, but to stand there and say: ‘Those baddies at Volkswagen’ and pretend everything is fine with them, that does hurt indeed,” said Mueller. “But that’s how things play out, and we’ll manage to get our act together.”

3rd Gear: Take The Buyback

Do you have a cheating diesel Volkswagen in America? Take the buyback and the payout , don’t get it fixed. Everyone else is doing it. Via Bloomberg :

Almost half of the 475,000 affected U.S. drivers have already registered to participate in Volkswagen AG settlement program a month after the deal won preliminary court approval. VW’s pact with owners and U.S. regulators offers options, including a cash buyback or $5,100 and a free fix for their vehicle.

Most of the 210,000 owners and lessees who’ve enrolled in the program want the buyback, lead plaintiff’s attorney Elizabeth Cabraser said in an interview, without offering specific figures. While VW doesn’t have a government-approved modification for any of the cars, drivers may have a change of heart if a fix becomes available, she said.

“This is a huge number in a relatively short period of time,” said Deborah Hensler, a law professor at Stanford University who teaches classes on multidistrict and international class action disputes. “But on the other hand, it would be shocking if a huge fraction of class members were to opt out.”

4th Gear: China’s EV Clampdown

China’s government exercises tremendous control over its industries and can force companies like automakers to merge or partner up. Now, sensing a surge in new EV car companies that may not be equipped to take on Tesla or the rest of the West, China considers forcefully limiting them to just 10. Via Bloomberg :

Any curbs would be aimed at weeding out the weak, said a senior executive with the state-backed auto manufacturers’ association, and they may push as many as 90 percent of EV startups toward extinction, a government-linked newspaper said. So far, only two ventures have obtained approval to build cars, based on a review of National Development and Reform Commission documents. Three others say they plan to apply for permits.

Jack Ma, Terry Gou, Li Ka-shing and Jia Yueting are among the investors who’ve poured at least $2 billion into building alternative-energy vehicles as China tries to combat the smog choking its cities. Generous subsidies helped cultivate a gold-rush mentality , prompting concerns the industry is plagued by too many companies lacking the technical know-how to make electric or hybrid cars that measure up to those from Tesla Motors Inc. or General Motors Co.

5th Gear: The Lidar Revolution

The Detroit Free Press has a profile on supplier Velodyne, which started in high-end audio systems in the 1980s but is now “on the vanguard of the autonomous vehicle frontier” for the development and production of Lidar systems that will eventually help cars drive themselves.

Until recently, Velodyne’s Lidar systems cost about $8,000 — too high to be cost effective for an automaker selling to individual customers or even for fleet sales. Later this year, Velodyne will begin producing a system that could cost as little as $500 for each unit, if a high enough volume is ordered.

Ford said it decided to invest in Velodyne after working with the company for years. Ford’s investment was announced along with investments and acquisitions of three other companies earlier this month. Ford also announced its intent that same day to develop a fully autonomous vehicle by 2021.

Ford CEO Mark Fields said those companies, along with the automaker’s new employees in Silicon Valley, have an opportunity to work on technology that has the potential of “changing the world.”

“This is a transformational moment in our industry and it is a transformational moment in our company,” he said.

Watch the video: Πάγωσε η διαδικασία κατάργησης της αλλαγής της ώρας (June 2022).


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