On September 8, California Governor Jerry Brown proudly signed a new emissions law that firmly establishes the state as a world leader in combating climate change. California started its efforts about 10 years ago by implementing a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. California is on track to meet or exceed that goal, meaning that the state will likely never again reach its peak emissions levels.
The new law will require the state to cut emissions at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and make it possible for the state to reach its goal of reducing emissions 80 percent under 1990 levels by 2050. The state will also invest in efforts to mitigate impacts to areas impacted by climate change. In his signing ceremony at Vista Hermosa Natural Park, Gov. Brown said, “Climate change is real, and knowing that, California is taking action” with “far-reaching moves that continue California on its path of vast innovation and environmental resilience.”
California’s efforts are multiple. The state is leading a group called the “Under2Coalition,” which is an agreement signed by about 135 state, local, and national governments around the world. The governments agree to either reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 or achieve a per capita annual emission target of less than two metric tons by 2050. Separately, Governor Brown joined government leaders from around the world on a Carbon Pricing Panel convened by the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund to urge countries and companies around the globe to put a price on carbon. Gov. Brown also signed energy efficiency legislation for buildings last year and has committed to reducing the use of petroleum in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent within the next 15 years.
The mechanisms behind the state’s climate actions include ramping up solar power generation and handing out subsidies for electric cars. Brown is unabashed in saying that the power of government will be needed to put more restrictive rules in place and to use funds from taxpayers and utility customers to subsidize cleaner technologies. Groups like the California Chamber of Commerce have expressed their concern and argued that regulators should consider the impacts of climate policies on the state’s economy. The state’s cap and trade program is also struggling after facing legal uncertainty over whether it amounts to an unconstitutional tax. Nonetheless, as utilities work to meet climate mandates, many will offer consumers an opportunity to negotiate directly on their energy price. The experts at EnergyCare can help your business navigate these negotiations and educate your consumers. Contact us today.