What Brown Can Do For You: California Gov. Unveils Big Climate, Energy Plans

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What Brown Can Do For You: California Gov. Unveils Big Climate, Energy Plans Gov. Jerry Brown, D-Calif., opened his fourth gubernatorial term by laying out an ambitious plan to further reduce the state's greenhouse-gas emissions.

Already one of the most progressive U.S. states for renewable energy and environmental protection, Brown's proposal would increase California's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 50% while building upon the state's cap-and-trade system under A.B.32, which seeks a 25% cut in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020. Currently, California has a 33% by 2020 RPS.

Speaking during his inaugural address, Brown laid out several ambitious goals:

  • To increase California's electricity derived from renewable sources from one-third to 50%;
  • To reduce petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50%; and
  • To double the efficiency of existing buildings while making heating fuels cleaner.

‘Under laws that you have enacted, we are on track to meet our 2020 goal of one-third of our electricity from renewable energy,’ Brown says, adding that A.B.32 has proved to be model legislation.

‘California is forging agreements with other states and nations so that we do not stand alone in advancing these climate objectives. In fact, we are well on our way to meeting our A.B.32 goal of reducing carbon pollution and limiting the emissions of heat-trapping gases to 431 million tons by 2020.’

‘These efforts, impressive though they are, are not enough. But now, it is time to establish our next set of objectives for 2030 and beyond.’

For his part, Brown says an all-of-the-above energy strategy can help achieve the state's lofty climate and renewable goals. He says more distributed power, expanded rooftop solar, microgrids, an energy imbalance market, battery storage, the full integration of information technology and electrical distribution, and millions of electric and low-carbon vehicles will all play a part.

‘Taking significant amounts of carbon out of our economy without harming its vibrancy is exactly the sort of challenge at which California excels,’ he says. ‘This is exciting; it is bold, and it is absolutely necessary if we are to have any chance of stopping potentially catastrophic changes to our climate system.’

Last year, research firm Energy and Environmental Economics found that 50% renewable energy by 2030 was achievable for California.

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