California Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order Wednesday mandating a statewide reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent under 1990 levels by 2030, an ambitious addition to the state’s already-tough emissions cutback targets.
California already has the most rigid climate change laws in the country. State law requires that California cut its emissions 80 percent over 1990 levels by 2050, according to The New York Times.
In 2006, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Global Warming Solutions Act, which served as a stepping-stone for the larger state target by mandating a cut to 1990 levels by 2020, a goal that the state is already “on track to meet or exceed,” according to the governor’s office. Brown’s new order is an effort to ensure the state’s long-term target is met.
“With this order, California sets a very high bar for itself and other states and nations, but it’s one that must be reached–for this generation and generations to come,” the governor said in a statement accompanying the executive order.
Brown has made the fight against climate change a key feature of his tenure as governor and a central policy goal for California. In his State of the State address in January, Brown called for an increase in renewable electricity sources from one-third to fifty percent within 15 years and a doubling of buildings’ efficiency in the same time frame.
“We must demonstrate that reducing carbon is compatible with an abundant economy and human well-being,” Brown said at the time.
While the proposed cuts will be the most ambitious in the country, the governor’s plan does not indicate exactly how California will further reduce its emissions. The order directs the California Natural Resources Agency to “update” its climate adaptation plans every three years. It also requires that the agency “identify a lead agency or group of agencies to lead adaptation efforts” in sectors including water, energy, public health, agriculture and transportation, among others.
Furthermore, the order requires that state agencies “take climate change into account in their planning and investment decisions, and employ full life-cycle cost accounting to evaluate and compare infrastructure investments and alternatives.”
The governor’s office says that the state’s new emissions rules are an effort to bring California in line with the 28-nation European Union, which announced similar cuts last year, ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December.
“California’s announcement is a realisation and a determination that will gladly resonate with other inspiring actions within the United States and around the globe,” said Christiana Figueres, the executive director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. “It is yet another reason for optimism in advance of the UN climate conference in Paris in December.”