Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued an executive order to establish a California greenhouse gas reduction target of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 - the most aggressive benchmark enacted by any government in North America to reduce dangerous carbon emissions over the next decade and a half. "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," said Governor Brown. — gov.ca.gov
Currently in the midst of four consecutive years of exceptional drought, California is experiencing first-hand the real-life implications of a warming climate. Before the order, the state was already on track to "meet or exceed" targets for reducing CO2 emissions to pre-1990 levels in the next five years. But with Gov. Brown's new executive order, California should be able to reach 40% below 1990-levels by 2030, making it possible to achieve a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. These goals are oriented around the scientific consensus of the need to limit global warming to a pivotal 2˚ Celsius mark – the threshold for what's known as "runaway climate change," or unpredictable, chain-reactive climate events.
The order also mandates updating the state's climate adaptation strategy – "Safeguarding California" – every three years. The plan is intended to identify vulnerable infrastructure, resources, services, transportations, etc. Other details of the executive order include a prioritization of so-called "natural infrastructure" or "soft infrastructure" approaches as well as flexible strategies to prepare for "uncertain climate impacts."
The order has already drawn praise from Christiana Figures, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change's Executive Secretary; the Premier of Ontario, Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; and others. While the bill certainly occasions for optimism, as World Bank President Jim Yong Kim states, "There can be no substitute for aggressive national targets to reduce harmful greenhouse emissions, but the decision today by Governor Brown to set a 40 percent reduction target for 2030 is an example of climate leadership that others must follow."
Read the text of Executive Order B-30-15 here.
Here are links to some of Archinect's past coverage of the unfolding drought crisis in California and the Southwest US:
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