Fifth largest economy in the world and most populated state in the USA, California establishes bold goal for zero emission of greenhouse gases generated by its energy production

California is the leading American state in sustainable development. The history of environmental protection measures and energy production alternatives culminated in two huge advancements in 2018. A bill was approved in April determining that, from 2020, all new three-story houses or higher must generate solar energy. Now, the new rule ensures that, by 2045, 100% of energy consumed in the state will necessarily be greenhouse gas emissions-free.

In the bill sanctioned by governor Jerry Brown (Democrats), the state commits to reach its first goal by 2025: electric utilities must obtain 50% of their energy from greenhouse gas emission-free sources. The goals are the following: 60% by 2030; and more 15 years, by 2045, to achieve the final goal, which is to zero out hazardous gases derived from energy production and consumption.

When reaching 100%, the new legislation states that at least 60% of energy should come from renewable sources, such as solar, wind and geothermal; the remaining 40% may originate from hydropowers, nuclear plants and natural gas combustion with carbon dioxide capture.

Hawaii was the first American state to undertake such commitment, but the Californian law impact is broader for the country. California is the richest and most populated state in the United States – if it were a nation, it would be the fifth largest economy on the planet, with a population of 39 million people. Currently, California produces about one third of its energy from wind, solar or geothermal sources, with nearly 10% coming from nuclear plants, while half of its energy comes from natural gas, a fossil fuel less polluting than petroleum.

“It’s not going to be easy. And it won’t be immediate. But it must be done,” said governor Brown, according to the news agency EFE. The document signed by Brown doesn’t establish how the goal will be reached: the strategy is that market and industry organize themselves freely to create business opportunities and comply with the goal within the given timeline.

California on top for Paris Agreement fulfillment

In June 2017, the United States president, Donald Trump, announced the country’s withdrawal from Paris Agreement effectively in 2020 – if the promise is kept, it will be the only nation on the planet to reject the treaty. In a statement, the Californian governor said that the law is a direct message to the federal government and that the state is on its way to fulfill and even overcome the agreement goals against climate change.

“California is showing the world that a transition to 100% clean energy is within reach and it will continue to drive the transition away from fossil fuels — and it’s doing this while the federal government abandons clean energy,” states the document. Politicians Al Gore, former vice president by the Democrats and Arnold Schwarzenegger, former California governor by the Republicans, support the new legislation.

According to the American network CBS, a recent report on climate change effects in the region alarmed the California population. According to the document, it is estimated that, if the planet doesn’t slow down its current global warming pace, the average annual area burned by fire in the state would go up by 75%, two thirds of its beaches would disappear due to erosion, and two thirds of water used for supply would vanish.

 

Content published in November 14, 2018

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