Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Science | By

California commits to 100% clean electricity by 2045: governor

California commits to 100% clean electricity by 2045: governor

Jerry Brown on Monday signed two measures created to push the state to 100 percent renewable electricity and so-called carbon neutrality by 2045.

At a ceremony in the state Capitol, Brown signed SB 100, by State Sen.

The bill specifically requires that 50 percent of California's electricity to be powered by renewable resources by 2025 and 60 percent by 2030, while calling for a "bold path" toward 100 percent zero-carbon electricity by 2045.

While California has been a leader on reducing the amount of electricity it gets from burning fossil fuels, the state has struggled to be as forward-leaning in reducing the greenhouse gas pollution spewed from cars and trucks.

"There's no understating the importance of this measure", Brown said, moments before signing the two actions. This order essentially states that California must "remove (s) as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it emits".

Brown's signing came days before he hosts a gathering of local, worldwide and business leaders in San Francisco to highlight the urgency of addressing climate change.

A UN tally of all the local carbon-reduction initiatives so far reveals "encouraging potential" but will ultimately fall short without deeper commitments from national governments, UN Environment chief Erik Solheim said Monday.

California follows the example set by Hawaii, which set the same 2045 goal in 2015.

"It's not going to be easy".

The new bill was supported by Democrats who emphasized the damaging consequences of climate change, while opposed by state Republicans who highlighted the policy's financial costs, Bradford reported.

Brown signed the measure Monday as he prepares to host a summit in San Francisco of climate change leaders from around the world later this week.

State utilities and energy producers are now being pushed to make up the difference.

California has dramatically stepped up its climate-change policies four times in the last four years, as Capital Public Radio's Ben Bradford reported last month. Another 9 percent comes from nuclear plants.

Renewable energy experts have looked to batteries that can store solar energy generated in the afternoon as one solution, but the technology is not ready for wide-scale deployment.

California's electricity pledge "shows that it is possible to decarbonize while continuing to grow your economy and produce jobs at the same time", he told AFP.

California is doing a pretty good job of flying the flag for renewable energy in the USA, as the state has just announced it will aim to bolster its climate targets.

"If we're going to have these first-in-the-nation laws, we want to see first-in-the-nation benefits", said Rob Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable.

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