Press Release

Sen. Skinner Introduces 2024 Climate Package to Further Decarbonize CA’s Industrial Sector and Launch a New Market to Reclaim Rare Minerals

State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, today announced the introduction of her 2024 Climate Package, which includes legislation designed to further the decarbonization of California’s industrial sector, accelerate the use of green cement and concrete, and lay the groundwork for creating a state market to recover and reuse rare earth elements and other precious metals essential to batteries, EVs and other clean energy applications.

Sen. Skinner’s 2024 Climate Package includes:

  • SB 941, which would further the process of decarbonizing California’s industrial sector, which currently accounts for about 25% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • SB 1073, which would speed up California’s transition to green cement and concrete by allowing state agencies to enter into contracts to buy low-carbon cement or concrete products up to 10 years in advance.
  • SB 1306, which is designed to start a statewide effort to recover and reuse rare earth elements and other precious metals that are essential in clean energy manufacturing, such as electric vehicles, batteries, and wind turbines.

“California has made substantial progress toward our climate goals. We lead the nation in electric vehicle sales and in the transition to renewable sources for electric power generation. Plus, we’re a world leader in large-scale battery storage that both supports our grid and maximizes the use of renewable energy. But there is still plenty of work to do,” Sen. Skinner said. “My 2024 Climate Package builds on these accomplishments by expanding our efforts to decarbonize California’s industrial sector, jumpstarting our transition to green cement and concrete, and reducing our reliance on the carbon-intensive process of mining and extracting rare earth metals that are essential to achieving our clean energy future.”

During the past decade, California has led the nation in transitioning to renewable sources for creating electricity and fueling our transportation sector. But the state still faces substantial challenges in meeting its climate goals.

Currently, the state’s industrial sector, which includes a wide range of manufacturing, such as chemicals manufacturing, food processing, construction and waste processing, are responsible for about 25% of California’s greenhouse gas emissions. If not addressed, the industrial sector will become our single-largest producer of GHGs.

SB 941 would jumpstart the process of decarbonizing California’s industrial sector by requiring the California Air Resources Board to fully examine strategies for industrial decarbonization, including in industries in which zero-emission alternatives technologies are already available and in those in which green alternatives have not yet been developed.

One of the most carbon-intensive sectors of industrial manufacturing is cement- and concrete-making. However, research and development of low-carbon cement technologies is rapidly expanding.

Currently, public agencies are the largest users of cement and concrete in California. SB 1073 is designed to accelerate the state’s transition to green cement and concrete by using the state’s purchasing power to encourage the deployment of newly developed low-carbon cement technologies. Specifically, SB 1073 allows state agencies to enter into contracts to purchase low-carbon cement or concrete products up to 10 years in advance, which they are now barred from doing.

Rare earth elements and other precious metals, such as cobalt, lithium, and manganese, are used in a variety of clean energy technologies, including batteries, EVs, and wind turbines. However, the process of mining and extracting rare earth elements and other precious metals is not only damaging to the environment but also carbon-intensive.

There is one largely overlooked source of these materials: old cellphones, hard drives, electric motors, and other electronics. A recent study found that recycled and reused rare earths could meet as much as 40 percent of the demand for the metals in the United States, China and Europe by 2050.

SB 1306 is designed to spur a recovery and reuse market for rare earth elements and other precious metals in California. The state already encourages electronics recycling, but laptops, computers, cellphones, and other equipment currently collected are sent overseas to be recycled. Further, it is not clear that the recycling effort elsewhere includes the recovery of these essential materials, and if they are recovered, they are likely to be reused overseas and not in domestic manufacturing facilities. 

SB 1306 would require the Governor’s Office of Business and Development, in consultation with the CalRecycle and the Department of Toxic Substances Control, to examine existing technologies for recycling and reusing rare earth elements and precious metals and the benefits of creating a market for recovering and reusing these in the state.

“During the past two decades, California has repeatedly enacted groundbreaking legislation designed to spur clean energy innovation and new green technologies,” Sen. Skinner added. “My 2024 Climate Package will continue the state’s tradition of sending market signals designed to spark cutting edge advancements that will decarbonize our economy and enable California to cement its position as world leader in the fight against climate change.”

Sen. Skinner also has another climate bill, SB 233, which was introduced last year and is designed to speed up the transition to EVs with bidirectional capability that also can power homes and support the electric grid. SB 233 will also be advancing this year in the state Legislature.


Sen. Nancy Skinner represents the 9th Senate District and is chair of the Senate Housing Committee and the California Legislative Women’s Caucus.