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California Governor Ramps Up Energy, Carbon Goals

California Climate Targets
(Credit: Pixabay)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling for the state to reach its sustainability goals quicker by setting new targets for renewable energy, carbon removal, and clean fuels for transportation.

The governor sent a letter to the chair of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) saying the 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan needs to provide a clear path to achieve carbon neutrality in the state by 2045. Newsom says the final plan should incorporate new efforts to advance offshore wind, building energy efficiency, and address methane leaks, among other tasks.

Newsom also says he will work with the state legislature to put carbon neutrality into state law. Additionally, he says he is working to finalize a nearly $54 billion climate commitment.

“The state’s draft carbon neutrality road map doesn’t go far enough or fast enough,” says Newsom. “That’s why I’m pushing state agencies to adopt more aggressive actions, from offshore wind to climate-friendly homes, and to make sure we never build another fossil fuel power plant in California again.”

California previously has implemented some of the more ambitious sustainability plans in the country.

Earlier in July 2022, the state passed the toughest plastic waste law in the country. California also has legislation to cut organic waste, including food waste, by up to 75% through 2025. The state Assembly recently passed a community renewable energy law.

The new targets set forth by Newsome include implementing at least 20 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2045. Earthday.org says for California to achieve carbon-free energy by 2045 wind and solar projects need to be developed at three times the pace that they are currently.

The letter seeks to set a goal of 20 million metric tons of carbon removal by 2030, with that increasing to 100 million metric tons by 2045. Separately, Newsome wants legislation to support carbon sequestration from natural lands and incorporate industrial carbon capture into carbon-neutrality goals.

The governor also is requesting energy transitions that do not include new natural gas plants while ensuring reliability and says the state should establish a 20% clean fuels target for the aviation industry. Newsom additionally asked CARB to evaluate a stricter low carbon fuel standard and accelerate refinery transitions to clean fuel production.

The governor wants a new task force to identify and address methane leaks from oil infrastructure, as well, and he aims to construct 7 million clean buildings by 2035, including the use of 6 million heat pumps. The state also recently launched a dashboard that tracks progress on its carbon neutrality goals.

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