Cutting pollution by 2030, 2050, and beyond


Senior Policy Counsel, Energy and Environment

By Kristin Retter on Monday, May 11th, 2015

California continues to build on the momentum they created with the passage of AB 32 as the state looks ahead to 2030 and beyond.

On Wednesday, April 29th, California Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order mandating that 2030 emission levels will be 40% below 1990 emission levels. This aggressive benchmark establishes an important interim standard that will help California meet the 2050 goal of an 80% reduction in emissions below 1990 levels. The state is currently on track to meet the 2020 goal established by AB 32 of reducing emissions to equal 1990 levels, which is being achieved in part through the use of cap-and-trade, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, an increased use in plug-in and battery electric vehicles, and increased public transportation options.

California State Senators Kevin de Leon and Mark Leno are the authors of SB 350, a bill that passed the Environmental Quality committee on April 29th and would create the Golden State Standards 50-50-50. SB 350 will increase the renewable portfolio standard to 50% renewable energy, decrease the use of oil for transportation by 50%, and increase building efficiency 50% by the year 2030.  This bill will help meet emissions reduction goals mandated by the governor and hopefully reduce the carbon dioxide levels from the current 400 parts per million down to 350 parts per million, the critical level above which climate change is no longer pending, but inevitable.

This early, ambitious action to meet the 2050 emissions standards is much better for the California economy than a more gradual approach would be according to a new study published by Next 10. SB 350 and the 2030 executive order could generate about one million more jobs and increase Gross State Product by $338 billion by 2050, while decreasing global warming pollution, providing clean air, decreasing dependence on oil, and strengthening the renewable energy market. Both the Governors’ executive order and SB 350 are important efforts that will work together to make sure California remains a global leader in addressing global climate change.


2 responses to “Cutting pollution by 2030, 2050, and beyond”

  1. Dave says:

    I still don’t understand how cap-and-trade can be effective long term.

    • Kristin Retter says:

      The cap-and-trade system will gradually lower the cap over time. This means that as time moves forward, there will be fewer emissions allowances available, which will keep actual emissions under the tightening target. Companies that can cut emissions the most efficiently will have lower compliance costs and some will be able to sell credits to other companies that face higher costs to decrease emissions. This also helps contain the cost of compliance and captures benefits from market efficiencies. Here is a link the to California Air Resources Board’s page on their cap-and-trade program if you would like to learn more.

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