Friday, August 26, 2016

California’s New Climate Rules Explained

The San Francisco Bay Area. (Credit: Thomas Hawk/Flickr) Click to Enlarge.
Following more than a year of legislative toing and froing, California’s leaders agreed this week on how ambitious the state will be in the fight against climate change after 2020.

Short answer: very.

A progressive culture and Silicon Valley-style innovation a decade ago thrust California toward the head of the worldwide pack when it comes to shifting away from polluting fossil fuels in favor of cleaner alternatives.

This week, the state Assembly and Senate ensured the state’s leadership will be strengthened when lawmakers approved two key bills.

The legislation will require Californian agencies take steps needed to reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 40 percent in 2030, compared with 1990 levels.  Gov. Jerry Brown plans to sign it.

How do California’s Goals Stack Up?
The state’s new climate goals are far more ambitious than those of the U.S. overall, and they’re in line with ambitions in Europe, which is a world leader on climate action.

Both the European Union and California are shooting for 40 percent pollution reductions in 2030 compared with 1990 levels.  The Europeans got off to an earlier start, setting a more ambitious target for 2020 than California.  That means California will have to work harder to reach its goals for 2030.
Are any countries or states more ambitious than California?
Just as California is the star of climate action in the U.S., the European Union has its own big shot — Germany.  Germany aims to reduce its climate impacts by 40 percent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels, which is something California and the EU aim to achieve a decade later.

Still, per person, Californians and Germans continue to be heavier polluters than most Europeans, releasing the equivalent of about 12 tons each of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in 2013.  That’s a third more than the European Union average.

Read more at California’s New Climate Rules Explained

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