California is planning to increase the stakes with regard to its greenhouse gas reduction plan, saying now it will cut those emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030. The California Air Resources Board’s plan relies on a cap-trade-program, energy efficiency and vehicle emissions standards to get there.
The state’s high technology sector and Internet businesses are generally behind the proposal. Companies such as Intel, Facebook and Apple have promised to get all of their energy from renewable sources and many more have signed a letter asking that the United States stay involved in the Paris climate accord.
“Climate change is impacting California now, and we need to continue to take bold and effective action to address it head on to protect and improve the quality of life in California,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “The plan will help us meet both our climate and our clean air goals in the coming decades and provide billions of dollars in investments to cut greenhouse gases, smog and toxic pollution in disadvantaged communities throughout the state. It is also designed to continue to drive creative innovation, generating good new jobs in the growing clean technology sector.”
California has long been on the cutting edge of environmental initiatives, having first enacted a law to cut carbon in 2006 — a ruling that has required it to review and reset its progress every five years. In the early years, the goal was to cut heat-trapping emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
Ten year later, the aim is now even more ambitious. By 2050, California hopes to have cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80%, which would make it a paragon of hope not just for other states to follow but also for other countries. And it is something that the state says will actually work to create jobs.
For the past decade, California has been reducing emissions by using more fuel-efficient cars and zero emission vehicles, low-carbon fuels, renewable energy, waste diversion from landfills, water conservation, improvements to energy efficiency in homes and businesses, and a Cap-and-Trade Program, its release says: “The result is improved public health, a growing economy with more green jobs, and better clean energy choices for Californians.”
Under the plan announced Friday, the emissions trading program would continue through 2030 — a measure that the state considers its most cost effective carbon strategy. To that end, $3.4 billion in cap-and-trade funds have been invested in climate technologies. Meanwhile, the state could also require oil and gas refineries to reduce their heat trapping emissions by 20 percent, and there would be a focus on near zero-emission vehicle technologies.
The final version will be released in late March and be considered for approval by the Board in late April, the board says