Calif. governor orders state to slash emissions 40% by 2030 

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, April 30, 2015

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) today ordered the state to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030, calling it the most ambitious climate target in North America.

The executive order comes as state lawmakers are already considering a 2030 target and follows an inaugural pledge Brown made in January to halve petroleum consumption and achieve 50 percent renewable energy by that date.

Brown said the goal, which is based on a 1990 emissions base line, is aimed at aligning California with “leading international governments” ahead of the U.N. climate talks in Paris this December. The European Union set a 2030 target in October, he noted.

“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,” he said.

California is on track to meet its current target of 1990 emissions levels by 2020 and has an existing executive order by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) to reach 80 percent below that by 2050.

State lawmakers are currently considering bills to achieve Brown’s goals, including one from state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León (D) that would cut petroleum use, double the efficiency of existing buildings and raise the state’s renewables portfolio standard to 50 percent, up from 30 percent by 2020 currently (ClimateWire, April 8). A hearing on Sen. Fran Pavley’s (D) S.B. 32, which would instruct the state Air Resources Board to set targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050, is scheduled for later today in the state Senate Environmental Quality Committee.

The executive order charges the Air Resources Board with setting a 2030 target expressed in millions of metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent and instructs “all state agencies with jurisdiction over sources of greenhouse gas emissions” to implement emissions cuts, as well, in service of both the 2030 and 2050 goals.

The order also focuses on adaptation to climate change, instructing state agencies to incorporate its effects into infrastructure planning, investment decisions and a wide swath of other sectors, including water, energy, transportation, public health and agriculture. The state Natural Resources Agency will take the lead, with an initial report due by September.

Brown also released endorsements from U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and political financier Tom Steyer.

“California’s announcement is a realization and a determination that will gladly resonate with other inspiring actions within the United States and around the globe,” Figueres said. “It is yet another reason for optimism in advance of the U.N. climate conference in Paris in December.”

Steyer emphasized in-state job creation. “When it comes to climate change, California has emerged as a global leader — proving that we don’t have to choose between a healthy environment and a strong economy,” he said. “Today Governor Brown took that leadership to the next level.”

Brown is scheduled to speak later today at the Navigating the American Carbon World conference and at the Milken Institute Global Conference, both in Los Angeles.