California’s New Climate Action Plan
California is a leader in the environmental movement. Recently, the state announced the California Climate Action Plan to reduce its environmental impact even more.
California is a leader when it comes to adopting progressive environmental requirements. Investments in electric transportation, policy bans on single-use plastic, and implementation of renewable energy across the state are just a few ways California reduces its environmental impact. Although the state only contributes to less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions, it never stops working towards reducing its environmental impact.
California has recently announced a new climate action plan which could reduce emissions by 84% by 2024. The California Climate Action Plan calls for a transformation in industry, energy and transportation and a dramatic change in institutions and human behaviour.
The California Climate Action Plan calls to reduce petroleum use by 94% between 2022 and 2024 and an 86% reduction in total fossil fuel use. California is focused on transforming many industries and activities to achieve these goals. Transportation, for example, is the state’s number one greenhouse gas emitter. The state requires that all new cars, trucks and buses have zero emissions between 2029 and 2045. They are also planning that liquid fuels needed for older cars and trucks on the road after 2045 be low-carbon biofuels.
The state is also looking to reduce emissions through electricity and by electrifying buildings. It has requirements for new buildings to have rooftop solar and incentives and regulations adopted to replace natural gas use with heat pumps and electrical appliances. The state also has laws to require that electricity be 100% zero emissions by 2045. One way the state plans to get there is by investing in offshore wind power, specifically floating wind turbines. The plan also focuses on large solar farms, which can scale up faster and at less cost than rooftop solar.
Will California obtain their goals of reducing emissions by 84% by 2024? They are definitely off to a good start. Studies have shown that the state’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 16% from 2004 to 2019. The state already has the most California has the most ambitious zero-emission requirements in the world for cars, trucks and buses; the most ambitious low-carbon fuel requirements; one of the most extensive carbon cap-and-trade programs; and the most aggressive requirements for renewable electricity. They are in a good position to reduce emissions to their desired levels.
The California Climate Action Plan will also require the people of California to step up to the task. The state encourages local jurisdictions to take ambitious, coordinated climate action at the community scale, consistent with and supportive of the state’s climate goals. The scoping plan also considers the needs of those communities that are disproportionately burdened by climate impacts and continue to face significant health and opportunity gaps.
If California can implement all its plans and have the community on board, it will successfully achieve its goals. And once they do, more states across the US will be motivated and inspired to make environmental changes.