Speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown announced aggressive emissions cuts as part of a broader state agenda to deal with the effects of climate change in California. The cuts come after historic water restrictions were put in place earlier this year to cope with a years long drought.
Under the terms of a new executive order, California will establish a greenhouse gas reduction target of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 – the most aggressive benchmark enacted by any government in North America.
California is on track to meet or exceed the current target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, as established in the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. California’s new emission reduction target of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 will make it possible to reach the ultimate goal of reducing emissions 80 percent under 1990 levels by 2050. This is in line with the scientifically established levels needed in the U.S. to limit global warming below 2 degrees Celsius – the warming threshold at which scientists say there will likely be major climate disruptions such as super droughts and rising sea levels.
The order also directs the state government to incorporate climate change impacts into the state’s Five-Year Infrastructure Plan. In addition lawmakers are also ordered to update the state climate strategy to include an understanding of how climate change will impact local infrastructure and industry.
“We’re going to take whatever steps are needed to get the job done, because our future depends on it,” the Governor said during a lengthy interview in which he discussed a range of options for water and resource management in light of the new realities facing California. “In Rio they turn the water off at 5p. We don’t want to get there, so we have to look at the options.”