2023 – Senate Bill 390 (Limón, Monique), Voluntary carbon offsets: business regulation (Vetoed)
Would have made it unlawful for a person to certify or issue a voluntary carbon offset, to maintain a voluntary carbon offset on a registry, or to market or sell a voluntary carbon offset under specified circumstances. This included when the person knows or should know that: the greenhouse gas reductions or removal enhancements are unlikely to be quantifiable, real, and additional. This also included when the person knows or should know that the durability of the offset's reductions is less durable than the atmospheric lifetime of carbon dioxide emissions or the atmospheric lifetime of the greenhouse gases associated with the project's reductions are less than the lifetime of carbon dioxide, unless the person explicitly markets the offsets with that information.
Governor’s Veto Message
To the Members of the California State Senate:
I am returning Senate Bill 390 without my signature.
This bill makes certain actions related to voluntary carbon offsets subject to the False Advertising Law, including with respect to offsets that a person knows, or should have known, do not durably reduce greenhouse gases in an amount equal to the "atmospheric lifetime" of carbon dioxide emissions.
I support the author's intent to bring greater transparency to the verification, issuance, and sale of voluntary carbon offsets, and to address the problem of so-called "junk offsets." However, by imposing civil liability for even unintentional mistakes about offset quality, this bill could inadvertently capture well intentioned sellers and verifiers of voluntary offsets, and risks creating significant turmoil in the market for carbon offsets, potentially even beyond California. I encourage the author to consider an alternative approach to ensuring voluntary carbon offset quality that avoids these unintended consequences.
For these reasons, I cannot sign this bill.