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Climate Club | Greenhouse Gas Emissions Policy: The Latest Requirements CA Developers Need to Know
Climate Club | Greenhouse Gas Emissions Policy: The Latest Requirements CA Developers Need to Know

On September 21,  Procopio’s Climate Club will host dinner, provocative presentations, and lively conversation moderated by John Lormon, Chair of the firm’s Energy & Environment Practice Group.

We will review new bills, recent CEQA case law on greenhouse gas (GHG) issues, and strategies for dealing with GHG in project entitlement and development. 

Tim Duane and Byron Washom will lead an informative discussion with a focus on legislation that will impact entitlements and developments. In particular, we will discuss three new pieces of legislation:

  • SB 32 will require the reduction of greenhouse gases by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. This bill on its own will affect nearly all aspects of life in California and is particularly relevant to people who are entitling or developing property here. Since 2006, California has captured the low hanging fruit to obtain GHG reduction goals.  To achieve the 40% reduction goal of SB 32, according to Governor Brown, Californians should expect to feel the “coercive power of government” over the next four years.
  • AB 197 requires the state to take more aggressive steps to curb local pollution, including GHG, criteria pollutants and toxic air contaminants, from all sectors covered by CARB’s GHG reduction plan. Thus, a more local review of significant project impacts can now be expected.
  • AB 1613 provides new funding in support of GHG reduction programs and innovation. The innovation and adoption needed to achieve the GHG goals are massive, but we will have greater funding to make the reductions happen. For example, there is $800M from the VW settlement, doubling of the Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIC) funding, and there is a tremendous shift toward providing GHG economic incentives to disadvantaged communities.

We will also discuss prior legislation and decisions, including:

  • SB 350 was adopted in in 2015 and calls for an ambitious expansion of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 50% and a doubling of the rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030. Together with SB 32 and AB 197, this bill will guide investment and regulation over the coming decade or more.
  • California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which requires consideration of a project’s significant environmental impacts, including GHG impacts, compared to business as usual (BAU). The California Supreme Court in Center for Biological Diversity v. Department of Fish and Wildlife 62 Cal.4th 204 (Nov. 30, 2015) (Newhall Ranch) requires CEQA review to include a closer look at the GHG emissions, the CARB Scoping Plan, and AB 32 goals compared to BAU. AB 32 called for a 29% reduction by 2020 of GHG compared to BAU. SB 32 now calls for a further 40% reduction compared to 1990 and 2020 levels all in the context of an anticipated increase of 6 million people in the state and a 50% expansion of California’s economy by 2030. Thus, the actual reduction compared to BAU will be much greater and these reductions do not account for the SB 350 changes to the BAU.

Space is limited. If you are interested in attending the Climate Club dinner, please email Valerie Sanderson for more information.


Tim Duane is an attorney  with more than three decades of professional experience in the fields of energy, climate, land use, natural resources, water, and environmental policy, planning, and law. He began working in the renewable energy industry in 1979 and published his first reports discussing climate change in 1990. He is a leading expert on “greening the grid” and the regulatory permitting challenges of renewable energy development. He is admitted to practice with the state bar of California, all four federal courts in California, and the 9th and 10th Circuits of the United States Courts of Appeal.

Tim Duane is also professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz and visiting professor of law at the University of San Diego School of Law, where he teaches energy and environmental law and policy. He was previously associate professor of environmental planning and policy at the University of California, Berkeley from 1991-2009. Prof. Duane has also been visiting professor of law at the Seattle University and Vermont Law Schools. He holds a J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley as well as a Ph.D. in energy and environmental planning from the department of civil engineering at Stanford University.

Byron Washom has served as Director of Strategic Energy Initiatives at the University of California San Diego since 2008. Previously he served as the CEO of a technical due diligence firm in CleanTech while concurrently serving as Sr. International Advisor to The World Bank and being a four-time Rockefeller Foundation Grantee in renewable energy development. In 1984, Mr. Washom received an R&D100 for one of the 100 most outstanding innovations in the world based upon his entrepreneurial leadership that set eight technical world records for the conversion efficiency of sunlight- to-grid connection that remained unsurpassed for 24 years. Fast Company magazine named him to their June 2010 cover story “100 Most Innovative Persons in Business”. In 2013, he was retained to help design the microgrid for the Hawaiian Island of Lana`i which is 98% owned by Larry Ellison.

Mr. Washom’s responsibilities at UCSD are to bring quantum innovations in zero and low carbon technologies to its 47 MW microgrid that self-generates 85% of its annual electrical load at a GHG emissions rate approximately 25% below that of the CA energy mix and a cost approximately half that of being direct access electricity customer. UCSD has recently deployed 3 MW of PV, 2.5 MW/5 MWH of energy storage, 2.8 MW of a directed biogas fuel cell with the world’s first fuel cell-absorption chiller, 2.5 million gallons of thermal energy storage, and 50 Level II and 5 DC Fast EV charging stations. UCSD’s microgrid is the world’s largest, most diversified portfolio of distributed energy resources.


John Lormon is the Energy and Environment practice group leader at Procopio. His practice focuses on energy and environmental, climate change, water and waste law. He has experience working with local and state government and regulatory agencies on environmental and energy permitting, entitlement, compliance matters and enforcement matters involving cogeneration, gas, turbine and renewable energy projects, water and wastewater treatment plants, desalination infrastructure and land remediation and development projects.

John has managed numerous energy and environmental matters for public and private clients. He has helped solar, wind and storage siting and closure projects. He has assisted on compliance and transactional issues for power plants and chilled water systems. His expertise encompasses water delivery, water treatment and purification as well as wastewater and reuse matters. He has represented clients on all aspects of industrial and municipal storm water, water quality certifications for private and public development projects including large residential, mixed use and commercial projects, flood control, cable installation, water delivery and habitat mitigation. John has represented two internationally known entertainment entities on endangered species CITES exchanges, including the Panda Protocol and marine mammals. He has been an expert witness and counsel in multi-party RCRA Superfund Clean Air Act and Water Quality cases.

Climate Club | Greenhouse Gas Emissions Policy: The Latest Requirements CA Developers Need to Know

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