Reanna Martinez

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Historic Climate Change Legislation From CA Governor, Jerry Brown


California is becoming a world leader in the reduction of climate pollution, establishing one of the most ambitious carbon reduction goals in the world

California governor, Jerry Brown, just signed historic legislation to reduce carbon emissions in the state.  Under SB 32, the state is required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.

The previous goal – to hit 1990 levels by 2020 – was already considered a tough feat by many researchers.  But California has proven that it is ready and willing to make positive changes for the environment.  California currently gets 25% of its electricity from renewables.  The new proposal means California will get half of its electricity from renewables.

A complimentary piece of legislation, AB 197, creates a legislative committee to oversee regulators, giving lawmakers more power in how climate goals are met.  The aim is to make sure these big ideas become reality.

This could mean big changes for Californians, affecting nearly all aspects of life from transportation to food production.  With 38 million people and $25 trillion in gross domestic product, California is the 6th largest economy in the world.  The Public Policy Institute of California and the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy estimate the population could rise to 44 million by 2030.  It’s going to be tough to continue to reduce emissions and pollution while the population continues to grow.  Everyone is going to have to do their part.

Research from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that current policies may get the state only about halfway to the 2030 goal, and some have argued that aggressive legislation would hurt the economy and hinder local business, including the agriculture industry (arguably one of the greatest contributors to environmental pollution).  But California’s GDP has continued to grow while emissions have decreased, and the state has continued to add jobs.


In all honestly, businesses will likely face more restrictive rules, and taxpayer money will be needed to subsidize cleaner technologies.  The state has already begun ramping up solar power generation, electric car subsidies, and promoting denser development connected to mass transit.  Looking further into the future, legislators will need to design policies and innovations to make clean technology more available and affordable.

One way that Californians can make a significant contribution to pollution is to purchase a clean energy vehicle instead of a gas-powered vehicle.  Many residents face long commutes, and getting more gas-powered cars off the road will help in carbon reduction.  Every new gas power vehicle purchased can stay on the road for many years, hindering California’s climate change goals.

The agriculture industry might be faced with new regulations regarding methane emissions from dairy production and landfills.  Methane impacts the environment 80 times more than carbon dioxide and dairy and cattle famers have long been at odds with environmental activists.

This new goal will not be easy to accomplish.  Deep changes are needed to hit the emissions goal by 2030, and the bill does not specify what will happen to California’s cap-and-trade program, which sets the price and limit for carbon emissions.  Hopefully, such an aggressive stance on climate pollution will help to drive innovation and adoption of clean energy practices.

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14 Responses

  1. That’s such a good initiative, more countries should do the same instead of worrying about useless stuff, thank you for the information though.

  2. I really like this idea. It isn’t as bad as it was, but Southern California does have an issue with pollution. It would be great to see more programs to improve public transit and initiatives to help people purchase more environmentally-friendly vehicles. I’m more than happy for my tax money to contribute to more environmentally-friendly sources of energy.

    1. I’ts good to hear that citizens are happy for paying for a better enviroment in their own country, there are many countries that have a major lack of this kind of initiatives, that’s a shame.

  3. The whole world should adopt something like this! We need to save the world before its too late! Stand in solidarity with Standing Rock in North Dakota!

  4. “Hopefully, such an aggressive stance on climate pollution will help to drive innovation and adoption of clean energy practices.” – This is what baffles me too. How long has it been since the climate change debate started? I think as far back as the Montreal Protocol and Kyoto Protocol. Why hasn’t California, and other states for that matter, cut back on emissions yet? A stronger political will may be in order. I likewise hope their current stance is strong enough to generate the necessary political will. Crossing my fingers.

  5. I always have conflicting thoughts with these sorts of ambitious goals. I mean they are great, and it is good to aim high, but at the same don’t we want to see realistic expectations here? I know that it all depends who you ask and everything is relative, but it is just interesting to think about. Well done though, certainly, for the state and those who passed the bill.

  6. It’s nice to set goals like that, and certainly California has proven to be very environment conscious, but the application will require a lot of good planning and striking deals with energy companies.
    Usually this kind of change is hindered by oil/coal giants, that also seem to be frontrunners in lobbying this year. However technology is galloping, especially due to Tesla’s antagonism, into more efficient generators that run on renewable sources.

  7. Although it is a good idea to reduce carbon emissions, legislature always chases away business. Perhaps legislature is needed, but that is the double edged sword when tackling the climate change monster.

    1. I agree! Planting more trees may sound cliche’ but doing this definitely has a long term effect on our environment. Not only is this important for our nature, but also for the health of every human being in this planet.

  8. I currently live in Maine and while it is beautiful here I plan to be moving to California by the end of the summer. I am looking forward to being in a place that appears to have similar ideals as myself within regard to the climate and diversity. I am hoping that I will be able to afford a house there eventually and look forward to having it as green and sustainable as possible.

  9. It’s really great that the California government has a strong stand on climate change, especially now that President Trump has pulled out your country from the Paris Agreement. The presence of hurricanes and other natural disasters has caused so much damage all throughout the world, recently Hurricane Irma and Harvey. I guess more can be done to help lessen the pollution, and lengthen the Earth’s life, but this a whole lot better than nothing. Acknowledging that climate change is indeed real and acting on it is definitely a good start.

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