California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) wants to make his state even more of a climate leader during his fourth and final term. In a wide-ranging inaugural speech yesterday, he laid out plans to go out with a bang.
He quoted E.O. Wilson — “Surely one moral precept we can agree on is to stop destroying our birthplace, the only home humanity will ever have” — and then called for California to pursue ambitious climate goals for 2030 that build on those the state has already laid out for 2020. Brown said that California’s “impressive” 2020 goals, which the state is “on track to meet,” still “are not enough” for California to lead the world on the path to containing climate change to 2 degrees Celsius of warming, a target that the U.N. hopes will keep the worst effects in check.
From The New York Times, an overview of Brown’s new plans:
Gov. Jerry Brown began his fourth and final term on Monday proposing a broad reduction in California’s energy consumption over the next 15 years — including a call to slash gas consumption by cars and trucks by as much as 50 percent — as part of what he said would be a sweeping campaign to heighten the state’s role in the fight against global warming.
Mr. Brown, a longtime champion of electric cars and limiting greenhouse gas emissions, called in his inauguration speech for 50 percent of California’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2030, up from the current goal of one-third by 2020, and doubling the energy efficiency of existing buildings.
Mr. Brown was in effect proposing that California, which is already viewed as at the forefront in the battle to curb emissions, greatly expand cutbacks put in place in the state’s landmark 2006 greenhouse gas emission bills. And he made clear that he would use his final years in office to try to make this happen.
Brown’s time in office has seen tremendous pushback from the fossil-fuel industry, which has opposed implementation of the state’s cap-and-trade program, put in place by that landmark 2006 climate bill, and other measures. The political money battle will likely only intensify now that Brown’s environmental initiatives are more ambitious, with Brown’s own well-heeled allies — notably environmentalist-billionaire Tom Steyer, who was present at the state Capitol for Brown’s speech — pushing back.
The Western States Petroleum Association, one of the primary industry lobbying groups active in California, told the Associated Press that it was reviewing Brown’s proposals.
Environmental groups, on the other hand, told the AP that Brown should have gone still further — they want the governor to ban fracking in the state during his final term.