The Environmental Protection Agency can still be led by a person who tries despite Scott Pruitts has to destroy them But there is good news for the environment in California. The nation's most populous nation reached its first goal of reducing emissions four years ahead of schedule.
The success story, as evidenced by data released Wednesday by the California Air Resource Board and highlighted by the San Fransisco Chronicle, shows that greenhouse gas emissions in this state rose 2.7 percent in 2016 to reach 429.4 percent Million tons have dropped. It is expected to fall below this mark by 2020, reaching its ambitious emissions reduction target of 40 percent by 2030.
By reaching this milestone, California has dropped 13 percent below its peak of 493.7 million tons in 2004, and has sneaked below the levels it produced in 1990 – and at the same time its economy today fifth largest in the world, surpassed.
Much of the success of the state Achieving this goal is due to the increasing reliance on renewable energies. The Associated Press noted that solar power generation in California increased by 33 percent in 2016 thanks to the increased adoption of rooftop and large solar power plants. Hydropower increased 39 percent as the drought on the west coast subsided. With more renewable energies than ever before, natural gas dependency on electricity fell by 15 percent in 2016.
That was less the case with cars in California. While the state is leading the way in the introduction of electric vehicles and is expected to drive 1.5 million of them on the roads by 2025, emissions from transportation actually rose due to cheap gas prices in the state. For some reason, people readily buy petrol-spilling cars when the economy is good, even though they swear they would pay more for frugal options.
Still, California's model seems to be a success, which is not good news for residents of the state, but for the rest of the country. While the Trump administration appears to be overriding any regulation to protect the environment and pretending that climate change does not exist, California shows that local governments could have a path to reducing greenhouse gas emissions without the federal government taking the lead in this case fight.
Last year, a number of mayors and governors joined forces as Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement to promise to continue working on the standards set by the agreement, which included 198 other countries. According to an analysis by Carbon Brief, these local leaders lead cities and states that account for more than 40 percent of the total CO2 emissions of the US. They could possibly persuade the country to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement with or without full participation. This should be a good start after California's lead.
[San Fransisco Chronicle, Associated Press]