Environment California’s Clean Energy Advocate Michelle Kinman released the following statement in response:
“California has a critical opportunity—and responsibility—to head off the worst impacts of climate change on our environment and our communities. With today’s executive order, Governor Brown has demonstrated a strong commitment to tackling climate change here in California and setting an example for other states and countries to follow.
California is now in the fourth year of a historic drought and citizens may be fined up to $10,000 for wasting water. As we wrap up an extremely dry winter and head into what may be a horrible fire season for California, it is clear that California is on the front lines of climate change. According to the American Lung Association’s State of the Air report released today, ‘70 percent of California citizens—approximately 28 million residents—live in counties with unhealthy air during certain parts of the year,’ underscoring the importance of taking bold action now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and clean up our air.
Thanks to California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32, Pavley), California is already on pace to reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and the state’s clean energy economy is growing steadily with over 54,000 Californians employed by the solar industry alone.
Governor Brown’s executive order continues to push the envelope, providing a critical benchmark on the path to achieving 80% GHG reductions below 1990 levels by 2050, which is the scientifically established level needed in the U.S. to limit global warming below 2 degrees C.
Earlier this year, Governor Brown called for California to increase the amount of electricity from renewable sources to 50 percent, reduce the amount of petroleum consumed by our vehicles by 50 percent, and increase the energy efficiency of existing buildings by 50 percent, all by 2030.
Taken together, California’s aggressive goals can set the stage for climate change solutions on the international level. As world leaders prepare for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris this December, actions such as today’s executive order demonstrate that bold action on climate is not only necessary, but possible.
Yet we need to do more to fight global warming here at home. We encourage Governor Brown to review his programs on oil drilling and fracking. While, on the one hand, we are cutting our climate pollution, the other hand continues to extract oil. We need to end our reliance on dirty fossil fuels and move swiftly to cleaner cars, buses and trucks.
Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives is reviewing a bill (HR 2402, Whitfield, R-KY) that would block the Clean Power Plan, which the New York Times has called ‘the strongest action ever taken by an American president to tackle climate change.’ We must urge our members of Congress to stand with the president—not the polluters—and support the Clean Power Plan for our health and our future.”