Author: Liam Taylor
While US action on climate change at the federal level has stalled and even reversed, the nation’s most populous and economically powerful state, California, has continued its commitment to a clean energy transition.
Last week State Senator Kevin de León’s SB 100 bill, which stipulates targets of 50% renewables by 2026, 60% by 2030, and 100% from “renewable energy resources and zero-carbon resources” by 2045, was passed by the senate. The bill built on previous policies that also set ambitious targets such as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2008 executive order and Governor Jerry Brown’s 2015 bill.
The result of these consistent commitments to clean energy are seen clearly in the state’s achievements in the field. Last year over 29% of electricity was generated from renewables with that figure rising to over 50% when including zero-carbon sources such as nuclear and hydroelectric power.
California is one of the most vulnerble stsates to climate change in the United States and has been assaulted by frequent extreme weather events in recent years. Between 2012 and 2016 the 'Golden State' experienced its worst drought in over a millenium, which only ended in 2017 with torrential rains that broke precipitation records.
The swift transition from drought resulted in numerous destructive mudslides while also creating the conditions that led to destructive and costly wildfires in both 2017 and 2018. Climate change is viewed as a primary contributor to the increasing frequency and intensity of these extreme weather events, with the past five years being the hottest recorded in the state’s history.
A 2017 report from the Public Policy Institute of California showed immense support for strong action on climate change, while also noting an overwhelming majority (81%) of Californians view climate change as a serious threat to the state's future. Two thirds of residents support state efforts to address the issue independent of federal action.
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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.
Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.