California’s Climate Goals: Realistic Or Just Wishful Thinking?
California is not participating in the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) – at least not independently – but that won’t stop the state from setting an example. On April 29, California Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order to establish a statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Governor Brown hasn’t exactly upped the ante, but he’s attempted to provide regulatory clarity and urgency as the state moves toward its 80 percent reduction target by 2050.
The medium-term objective matches a similar goal set by the European Union last October, but west of the Atlantic, California stands alone in its ambition.
Ranked globally, California has the world’s eighth largest economy and is a top-20 GHG emitter. Overall, the state is responsible for about one percent of the world’s annual CO2 emissions. In the next 15 years, California’s population is expected to increase 14 percent.