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California requiring all electricity to come from carbon-free sources

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solar energy
People
stand on the world’s largest solar-powered boat in Cancun
December 8, 2010.

REUTERS/Gerardo
Garcia


  • California is kicking its climate change fight into
    overdrive by passing a bill requiring 100% of its energy to
    come from carbon-free sources by 2045.
  • The move represents the latest in the state’s
    ideological differences with President Donald Trump regarding
    environmental regulation. While Trump campaigned that he would
    reinvigorate the nation’s coal industry, this bill will ban all
    coal-sourced electricity. 
  • California joins Hawaii as the only other state with
    this same goal.

California reaffirmed its commitment to combatting the effects of
climate change Tuesday when lawmakers passed a historic bill
mandating that all of the state’s electricity come from
carbon-free sources by 2045.

Electricity production accounts for the second-largest share of
the country’s greenhouse gas emissions after transportation,
which have been heavily linked to global warming. Nearly 68% of
electricity in the US came from burning fossil fuels, consisting
mainly of coal and natural gas, according to a 2016
study
 from the Environmental Protection Agency.

California’s latest push to lower carbon emissions represents the
latest clash between the state’s environmental regulation efforts
and those of the Trump administration.

California lawmakers, who had already committed to making sure
that
50% of its electricity came from renewable sources
by
2030, raised that requirement to 60% with the bill’s passage
Tuesday, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Contrarily, President Donald Trump promised throughout his 2016
campaign that he would help revive the country’s once-dominant
coal industry by stripping away President Barack Obama’s 2015
Clean Power Plan. Obama’s Clean Power Plan,
which created greater environmental requirements for
coal-generated power plants, was similarly aimed at lowering
carbon emissions.

The bill comes as California grapples with its worst wildfire in
state history. The Mendocino Complex fire in the northern part of
the state, which started in late July and has yet to be fully
contained, has scorched more than 410,000 acres of land as of
Wednesday evening,
according to numbers
released by the California Department of
Forestry and Fire Protection.

While the amount of land burned in the western United States has
doubled since 1984 due to the effects of climate change, according to a 2016
study
in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
Trump
blamed California legislators
for the state’s wildfires,
claiming that “bad environmental laws” affecting the state’s
water use is what contributed to the fires.

Hawaii made a similar carbon-free energy commitment in 2015.
Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Washington D.C., are
following suit.

California municipal lawmakers opposing the bill argued taxpayers
could see higher electricity bills because of new environmental
regulations that could raise the cost of production.   

“One fact you cannot dispute: this does increase the cost,” Bill
Brough, a Republican assemblyman from Orange County told The
Times. “You cannot dispute that this is going to be passed on to
the ratepayers.”

Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign the bill into law in
September.

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