By Lindsey Baxter Griffith
California has a long history of climate leadership, going above and beyond the traditional climate policy status quo and taking the first steps on ambitious climate standards that we need to achieve our climate goals. The state’s net-zero emissions by 2045 goal is one of the most ambitious among U.S. states.
But in recent years, due to challenges associated with climate change itself, as well as challenges associate with building out clean energy infrastructure, California has struggled to reach emissions reductions targets and meet the energy demands of a thriving economy. Building clean energy infrastructure at the scale and pace required has proven a tall order. And for a long time, it has seemed like there were few options.
But the end of August marked a historic moment for California, as the state legislature passed critical legislation to help achieve its ambitious climate goals. We have the targets in place and leaders are now starting to dig in to the “how” of climate action. Through this legislation, elected officials in California increased the state’s clean energy options and accelerated new projects. This breakthrough should serve as a model for the rest of the country.
This pragmatic approach advances a broad suite of critical carbon-free energy solutions, including by:
- Spending $54 billion on climate action, including billions for renewable energy;
- Setting a clean electricity target of 90% by 2035 and 95% by 2040;
- Keeping open the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, the state’s largest single source of carbon-free energy;
- Establishing a clear regulatory framework for carbon capture, requiring the state to develop an achievable set of carbon removal targets;.
- Adopting a more ambitious 2030 carbon emissions reduction target from 40% to 55% below the 1990 level;.
- Codifying the state’s policy for midcentury net-zero emissions and net-negative emissions thereafter.
Overwhelming support for these policies in both the state Assembly and Senate has pointed us in the right direction towards a clean energy future that California deserves. It’s a future with ambitious climate goals, and these policies can put them in reach in our lifetimes while also increasing affordability and improving reliability.
Let’s get to work across California and the rest of the country to push for more pragmatic policy progress. Join us at Clean Air Task Force Action today.
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