California Cuts Carbon Even Faster Than Ambitious State Mandate
California is cutting its greenhouse gas emissions even faster than state regulations require, and produced more electricity from renewable energy than from fossil fuels for the first time in 2017, according to data released earlier this month.
“The data shows emissions totalled 424 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2017, down five million tonnes from 2016. That’s below the reduction target of 431 million tonnes,” E&E News reports.
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In 2006, California adopted A.B. 32, which required the state to drive emissions below 1990 levels by 2020. It hit the target in 2016, then adopted S.B. 32, a new bill that calls for carbon pollution to fall 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.
Meanwhile, “California’s economy grew at 3.6% in 2017, or 1.4% above the national average,” E&E notes, citing the state finance department.
“California is proving that smart climate policies are good for our economy and good for the planet,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom. “As the Trump administration attempts to obliterate national climate protections, California will continue advancing the cause of American climate leadership.”
E&E points to transportation as California’s biggest single source of emissions, accounting for 37% of the state total. Carbon pollution from the sector grew 0.7% in 2017, down from 2% in 2016, almost entirely due to passenger vehicles. Industrial pollution came in second, at 21%, with fossil refineries and hydrogen production accounting for one-third of the total.“Livestock emitted more than 50% of methane pollution in California,” E&E writes. “Methane has up to 25 times the heat-trapping capacity than CO2 [much more, actually, depending on time frame—Ed.]. Though some dairy methane emissions declined, small annual increases in overall methane emissions continued. That comes as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned the world must make drastic changes to food systems and land use in order to curb climate change.”