California is a powerhouse of clean energy. Not only does it have a long history of investing in hydro, wind, and solar power, but its current governor, Democrat Jerry Brown, is ensuring that the state sticks to the goals of the Paris agreement even if the White House foolishly eschews it.
Now, a pair of bills have emerged from The Golden State that will help to cement its place in the history books.
Firstly, a few days ago, the Governor extended the state’s cap-and-trade program – which has bipartisan support – for another 10 years. It was originally authored by former Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger more than a decade ago.
Cap-and-trade programs do two things: put upper limits on the amount of carbon dioxide that companies produce and set up trade networks allowing organizations to buy and sell allowances for temporarily higher caps.
That way, if companies are able to slash greenhouse gas emissions more effectively than others, they can sell their extra carbon allowances to other companies that are having more difficulty in this regard. This means there’s an economic incentive to cutting carbon emissions – and California shows that it works without impeding the economy.
Republicans often tend to prevaricate on this, and claim that cap-and-trade is a job killer. Standing next to Brown on the dais at the signing ceremony in San Francisco, Schwarzenegger demanded that these troublesome lawmakers must "Stop lying to the people!"
“We do not have to wait for Washington to take action,” he added, as reported by TIME.
Secondly, a bill making its way through the legislative branch would lock California into generating 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2045.
Currently, the state is on track for getting around 50 percent from clean energy sources by 2026 – revised down from an earlier target of 2030 – and it’s more than likely that the 2045 target will be met a few years beforehand too.
This bill, if passed, will make it the second state (after Hawaii) that will dedicate itself to reaching 100 percent renewable electricity generation.
Apart from being increasingly affordable and good for the local environment, these two bills have their eyes on the more ominous issue of man-made climate change.
“If we don’t do something about it, it is the end of the world as we know it,” Brown said, as he adorned the cap-and-trade bill with his signature in San Francisco.
Both Brown and Schwarzenegger are known for their climate advocacy. Since Trump’s declaration on the Paris accords, Brown has signed multiple international climate change agreements on behalf of California and has set up the Climate Alliance – a coalition of states that have dedicated themselves to curbing global warming.