California ramps up efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions

California ramps up efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions
In this May 19, 2014 file photo Richard Gray joined others in a demonstration calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to end hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas, in Sacramento, Calif. Brown issued an executive order to aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 15 years on Wednesday, April 29, 2015. Brown has sought to make California a leader in addressing climate change, but environmentalists say those efforts are insufficient unless he reverses course and bans hydraulic fracturing for oil.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, file)

Building on California's ambitious effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions, Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday called on the state to further slash its carbon footprint over the next 15 years.

Brown set a new target of reducing emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, calling it the most aggressive benchmark enacted by a government in North America.

The goal is a mile marker on the way to cutting emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 that was set by Brown's predecessor, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"I've set a very high bar, but it's a bar we must meet," Brown said during a climate conference in Los Angeles.

California, which already has an aggressive plan to combat global warming, currently is on track to meet a goal of cutting carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, partly by forcing companies to pay for their pollution.

The state's cap-and-trade program, launched nearly three years ago, offers one of the few real-world laboratories on how to reduce heat-trapping emissions. It expanded this year to fine companies that produce gasoline and other fuels, prompting predictions that consumers will see a spike in prices to cover the costs.

Brown's executive order lacked details on how the state would achieve further emissions reductions—the equivalent of taking 36 million cars off the road, more than all the vehicles registered in California last year.

State officials said it would require accelerated development of renewable energy and alternative fuel sources, and getting more electric cars and zero-emission heavy-duty trucks on the road.

"The good thing is we got a running start right now," said Stanley Young, spokesman for the California Air Resources Board.

California ramps up efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions
California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks during a discussion titled "California's Response to Climate Change" at the 18th annual Milken Institute Global Conference on Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Brown's action comes amid aggressive efforts aimed at fighting the state's historic drought, which has been California's primary environmental concern in recent months.

Brown, the first and likely only California governor to serve four terms, has sought to establish his legacy as an environmental leader. At his inauguration earlier this year, he challenged the nation's most populous state to increase renewable energy use to 50 percent in the next 15 years.

The Democratic governor has had to balance his environmental agenda with political and economic reality: The state of nearly 39 million people continues to grow rapidly and needs more housing, freeways, goods and services to accommodate its residents.

While environmental groups generally praised Brown's latest effort to address climate change, he has faced intense pressure from environmentalists and others to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for oil.

David Braun, a member of a group called Californians Against Fracking, said the governor's goal was commendable but insufficient.

Brown's interim target aligns California with those of leading international governments ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris later this year. The 28-nation European Union has set the same greenhouse-gas reduction target for 2030.

The executive order is loftier than a federal goal that also aims to curb global warming, but it gives California more time to achieve it. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama announced a plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025, with 2005 levels as the starting point.

California ramps up efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions
California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks during a discussion titled "California's Response to Climate Change" at the 18th annual Milken Institute Global Conference on Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

The state Legislature is debating various climate change-related bills including proposals to boost renewable electricity, reduce gasoline-powered cars and make buildings more energy efficient.

Democratic Sen. Fran Pavley said she will incorporate Brown's midterm target in her climate change bill, which directs the state to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Business and consumers groups expressed concern about the impact to low-income communities and companies.

"Prior to moving forward with new, aggressive goals, California elected officials must provide the tools that manufacturers and other sectors need to reduce emissions and stay competitive in a global economy," Dorothy Rothrock, president of the California Manufacturers & Technology Association, said in a statement.

California ramps up efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions
California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks during a discussion titled "California's Response to Climate Change" at the 18th annual Milken Institute Global Conference on Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Requirements stemming from California's landmark global warming law passed in 2006 have led to higher energy bills for residents and businesses, said Rob Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable and a member of Californians for Affordable and Reliable Energy.

Lapsley said he supports Brown's goal but thinks other states must be included.

"We can't afford to be out there by ourselves. That's going to hurt our economy," he said.


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Apr 29, 2015
Jerry Brown saved California after the Reagan Disasters, making the utilities clean up the waste in the facilities of our customers to produce more supply.

We did it in the 1980's, and can teach the rest of you how to increase the efficiency and efficacy of your electrical systems.

Now, we will tackle GHGs.

Apr 29, 2015
Normally I would be laughing my head off, first no water and soon no reliable cheap power. But this is serious since soon people will be leaving the state in droves like the little progressive mold spores that they are, infecting the rest of the country with their political poison.

Apr 29, 2015
Yup, poison like Alternative Energy and electric cars. Did you notice Detroit is setting up engineering centers in Silicon Valley, so they can learn how we invent the future?

Where do you live?

Apr 29, 2015
"Lapsley said he supports Brown's goal but thinks other states must be included.

"We can't afford to be out there by ourselves. That's going to hurt our economy," he said."

Here is a prime example of progressive logic------we will go bankrupt if we are the only ones doing it so lets make ALL THE STATES do it. Yup, that will make everything much much better.

Apr 29, 2015
I can hardly wait for 166 to buy his first electric car.

Apr 29, 2015
Gkam when they make economic sense I will be proud to own one.

Apr 29, 2015
Californians? I'd suggest you should move, but you might move here. So stay, and enjoy the government you so richly deserve.

Apr 29, 2015
Gun Nut City? No, thanks.

May 02, 2015
MR166 - since the drought is significantly exacerbated by climate change, this attitude is beyond denial: it's just plain dumb. And since we already have the technology to switch to 100% renewables and only don't because of vested interests, there's no economic or energy security argument here either. It's just the invested leading the ignorant.

May 02, 2015
Lee there is no real proof that this drought is anything but natural. Now are you claiming that man can reverse a natural occurrence? Instead of investing in water infrastructure Calif. has plans to spend a trillion dollars on a high speed rail system that will not help this problem in the least. That is the main problem with this Co2 hoax, it diverts much needed world funds from the real problems to imaginary problems.

May 02, 2015
Gosh, 166, what to do? Build more dams to hold the water we do not have? That is what I hear from politicians and the Ignorati.

May 02, 2015
Funny Gkam you think that you can control nature but you are unable to imagine an interstate or inter country, for that matter, pipeline or aqueduct to transport water to your desert.

May 02, 2015
Perhaps, just perhaps you could imagine sacrificing a few delta smelt so that millions of acre feet of water could be saved for emergencies like this.

May 02, 2015
"Funny Gkam you think that you can control nature but you are unable to imagine an interstate or inter country, for that matter, pipeline or aqueduct to transport water to your desert."
------------------------------------

You have that exactly backwards. We cannot control nature, and we have already gone through the simplistic brute-force environmental pipeline and canal and dam route, and now are thinking more clearly.

I suggest you look into the real environmental cost of diverting that water for your lawn and pool.

May 05, 2015
Just to highlight the utter stupidity of the progressive/green movement I just read that the Delta Smelt are an invasive species. Yup, kill billions of dollars of GDP and create a drought to insure the viability of an "illegal immigrant" .

The truth is that the progressives hate the US and anything that it once stood for.

May 05, 2015
166, please take your bagger politics to Iraq.

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