SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued the following statement after President Barack Obama announced new nationwide limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants:
“I welcome this bold and absolutely necessary carbon reduction plan. California is fully engaged in tackling climate change, and we look forward to working with other states and the White House as we implement these new mandates.”
Power plants are the largest emitters of greenhouse gases among stationary sources in the United States, making up roughly one-third of all emissions. The new Clean Power Plan sets greenhouse gas emissions guidelines for each state based on current levels of pollution. On average, this plan will help cut pollution from existing power plants nationwide approximately 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
California is already on track to meet and exceed these new, national reduction targets, having committed to cutting emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 under an executive order Governor Brown issued earlier this year.
As the clock ticks for national governments to reach a deal to reduce harmful emissions ahead of this year’s United Nations Climate Change conference in Paris, Governor Brown continues to focus on building and broadening collaboration amongst cities, states and provinces, at the “subnational level.” To that end, the Governor traveled to the Vatican this month to participate in a symposium on climate change hosted by the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences and to Toronto, Canada for the Climate Summit of the Americas to call on cities, states and provinces to join California in the fight.
At the summit in Toronto, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard signed the “Under 2 MOU,” a first-of-its-kind agreement amongst states and provinces around the world to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius – the warming threshold at which scientists say there will likely be catastrophic climate disruptions. Since the agreement was first signed at a Sacramento ceremony in May, other states and provinces joined in June and July and with the addition of Quebec, a total of 18 signatories in nine countries and four continents have committed to action, collectively representing more than $5.3 trillion in GDP and 130 million people.
Earlier this year, Governor Brown issued an executive order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 – the most ambitious target in North America and consistent with California’s existing commitment to reduce emissions 80 percent under 1990 levels by 2050. The Under 2 MOU builds on other international climate change pacts with leaders from Mexico, China, North America, Japan, Israel and Peru. Governor Brown also helped convene hundreds of world-renowned researchers and scientists to issue a groundbreaking call to action – called the consensus statement – which translates key scientific climate findings from disparate fields into one unified document.
In his inaugural address this year, Governor Brown announced that within the next 15 years, California will increase from one-third to 50 percent the electricity derived from renewable sources; reduce today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent; double the efficiency savings from existing buildings and make heating fuels cleaner; reduce the release of methane, black carbon and other potent pollutants across industries; and manage farm and rangelands, forests and wetlands so they can store carbon. The impacts of climate change are already being felt in California and will disproportionately impact the state’s most vulnerable populations.