- California Governor Jerry Brown shook up the regulated community again today, announcing a new Executive Order that sets a more stringent greenhouse gas reduction target for his state than anywhere else in North America.
The new edict will require that California’s GHG emissions be reduced by 2030 to a level that is 40 percent below 1990 levels. This is the same target that was set by the 28-nation European Union last October and is comparable to targets established by other nations that will be participating in the United Nations Climate Change Conference later this year in Paris, France.
California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB32) already requires that the state reduce its GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Additionally, AB32 requires that GHG emissions be reduced to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. According to the statement released by Governor Brown’s office, the new target for 2030 will make it possible to reach the 2050 reduction requirement and put it in line with levels needed by the United States in order to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius as per scientifically established levels. Such a limit is necessary in order to avoid major climate disruptions such as super droughts and rising seal levels.
“With this order, California sets a very high bar for itself and other states and nations, but it’s one that must be reached – for this generation and generations to come,” said Governor Brown.
Brown’s action generated an immediate response from other state and world leaders.
In a statement released today, Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols said, “With this bold action by the Governor, California extends its leadership role and joins the community of states and nations that are committed to slash carbon pollution through 2030 and beyond. Building on our existing climate programs, the 40 percent reduction will drive and accelerate innovation, generate new jobs, improve air quality and hasten California’s transition to a clean energy economy.”
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said, “Four consecutive years of exceptional drought has brought home the harsh reality of rising global temperatures to the communities and businesses of California. There can be no substitute for aggressive national targets to reduce harmful greenhouse emissions, but the decision today by Governor Brown to set a 40 percent reduction target for 2030 is an example of climate leadership that others must follow.”
Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, Canada joined in by saying, “I applaud Governor Brown’s continued leadership on climate change. This shows the important role that sub-national governments can play in shaping a strong global agreement on climate change later this year in Paris.”
The Executive order says that the new target is a necessary, interim step to guide regulatory policy and investments in order to meet the most cost-effective path for long term emission reductions. In addition to the new 2030 target, it requires the following:
- All state agencies with jurisdiction over sources of greenhouse gas emissions shall implement measures, pursuant to statutory authority, to achieve reductions of greenhouse gas emissions to meet the 2030 and 2050 greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets.
- The California Air Resources Board shall update the Climate Change Scoping Plan to express the 2030 target in terms of million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.
- The California Natural Resources Agency shall update every three years the state’s climate adaptation strategy, Safeguarding California, and ensure that its provisions are fully implemented. That plan will identify vulnerabilities to climate change by sector and regions, including water, energy, transportation, public health, agriculture, emergency services, forestry, biodiversity and habitat, and ocean and coastal resources; outline primary risks to residents, property, communities, and natural systems from these vulnerabilities; identify priority actions needed to reduce these risks; and identify a lead agency or group of agencies to lead adaptation efforts in each sector.