California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a measure requiring the state to produce all its electricity from renewable sources by 2045. It’s a goal that also has been set by Hawaii and is being discussed by other states.
California is the largest state by population with about 40 million residents—comprising about 12% of the U.S. population—and is by itself the world’s fifth-largest economy. It has long been one of the most progressive states in addressing issues about the environment and climate, and it has some of the nation’s strictest environmental regulations. Monday’s signing comes as San Francisco this week hosts the Global Climate Action Summit, a gathering of scientists, government officials, celebrities and others from around the world. The meeting is being led by Brown and officials from the United Nations, with a goal of securing commitments from businesses and governments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The new law is designed to move California fully away from power generation from fossil fuels, mostly natural gas and coal, which today represent about half of the state’s electricity production. Renewables comprise about 32% of current generation, according to the California Energy Commission.
In addition to its 2045 goal, the new law requires the state to produce 50% of its power from renewable energy by 2026, and 60% by 2030.
A number of businesses, including San Francisco-based Levi Strauss and Gap Inc., along with the Silicon Valley Leadership Council, and health groups including the American Lung Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, supported the measure. PG&E and SoCal Edison, along with the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Farm Bureau Federation, and the Western States Petroleum Association, opposed the bill.
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