by Jodi Summers
Ice Ice Baby. Back in 1990, everyone was talking about Julia Roberts in the movie Pretty Woman. Just fewer than 30 million people lived in California (compared to more than 37.25 million today) and everybody is boasting about their Acura Legend or Mazda Miata. The California Air Resources Board’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below these levels by 2030. This is more than a 40% reduction and one of the most ambitious reduction target in North America.
The plan outlines the most effective ways to reach the new 2030 goal, including the state’s highly successful Cap-and-Trade program, which can benefit many industrial properties.
As you’re probably aware, the California Greenhouse Gas Cap-and-Trade Program began in 2013 with the objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from regulated entities by more than 16%. It is a central component of the state’s broader 2020 strategy to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels.
California’s cap-and-trade program uses a market-based mechanism to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Now the state is going further. This goal is to generate half of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and double the rate of energy efficiency savings in California buildings.
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has also committed to:
- Reducing today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50% within the next 15 years;
- Make heating fuels cleaner;
- Manage farm and rangelands, forests and wetlands so they can store carbon.
“This plan lays out a road map for California – and the rest of the world – to achieve climate goals that were inconceivable only a decade ago,” noted Governor Brown, who established the 2030 target when he signed State Bill 32 in September 2016. “There are steep hills ahead, but we’ll scale them by continuing to take a series of bold actions, including extending California’s Cap-and-Trade Program.”
The original Cap-and-Trade rules applied to large electric power plants and large industrial plants. In 2015, they extended to fuel distributors (including distributors of heating and transportation fuels). Now, the program encompasses around 360 businesses throughout California and nearly 85% of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
California is currently the ninth largest economy in the world, but we are playing a leading role in setting aggressive climate goals, broadening collaboration among sub national leaders and taking action to reduce climate pollutants. In addition to driving emission cuts in California, the program shall provide a template as to how an economy-wide Cap-and-Trade system can function in the United States.
Over the past year and a half, the Governor has traveled to the United Nations headquarters in New York, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, France, the Vatican in Italy and the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto, Canada to call on other leaders to join California in the fight against climate change. Governor Brown also joined an unprecedented alliance of heads of state, city and state leaders – convened by the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund – to urge countries and companies around the globe to put a price on carbon.
The authorities are listening. Governor Brown issued a joint release with the governors of Oregon and Washington and the premier of British Columbia reaffirming their commitment to climate action at the close of COP22 – limiting the increase in global average temperature to below 2° Celsius, 35.6° Fahrenheit – the level of potentially catastrophic consequences. Recently, 29 new members to the Under 2 Coalition, an international climate pact formed by California and Baden-Württemberg, including Germany, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Mexico, China, North America, Japan, Israel, Peru and Chile. 165 jurisdictions and counting have joined the coalition representing more than a billion people and $25.7 trillion in combined GDP – more than one-third of the global economy.