A single, devastating California fire season wiped out years of efforts to cut emissions of greenhouse gases. In response, California state officials announced yesterday that they had approved the largest package of climate policies in the nation, including the first state cap and trade system with a market-based price for carbon emissions, aimed at slashing greenhouse gases.
As a result, the Golden State now has a record-setting year — by far the biggest ever for climate policies anywhere — as it aims to reduce carbon emissions by 26-28 percent below their 2005 levels by 2020.
“We’ve done an extraordinary job in the last year and a half to put California on track to meet the goals of our Paris Agreement,” Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement yesterday, referring to the climate agreement reached in September between 195 nations to reduce emissions.
The package of policies, which includes tax breaks for renewable energy, energy efficiency improvements, and new emissions standards for some cars and light-duty vehicles, has been supported by a broad coalition of California businesses and organizations.
In the coming years, California officials said the state can expect to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 4 billion tons by 2025, which is equivalent to removing all the emissions from the United Kingdom’s entire economy.
“This year alone, we were able to take the lead on several landmark actions, including the largest cap and trade program in the United States, to cut the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 4 billion tons when compared to 2005 and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels,” said Brown in his statement. “We’ll continue to work year-round to make the world’s most populous state the nation’s first to meet all the national Paris target — by 2040 to cut the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 2005 levels.”
California is on pace to meet its Paris goals, but its ability to meet them stems from a handful of key policies that the state enacted in the recent years:
1) California’s cap-and-trade system, which requires that most greenhouse gas pollution be priced in a market-based system that allows polluters to buy and sell carbon permits, rather than be held