California unveils plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2045
California unveiled its new Clean Car Program today. The program was previously known as the Zeroem Program and was launched in February as the state moves towards its climate targets under the newly approved Global Warming Solutions Act.
Today’s announcement was just the first step on a long journey to achieve the goals outlined in the state’s new statute.
California’s legislature passed the new law in February and its Governor approved it by signing it last month. The law creates a new mandate to achieve California’s stated climate goals over 10 years of legislative review.
The law will require the state’s existing carbon dioxide emission reduction targets to be reached before those laws take effect. To date, Governor Jerry Brown’s administration has filed lawsuits to nullify the law’s greenhouse gas provisions, but the law may not withstand a legal challenge.
This may prove an insurmountable legal challenge for the state, but the goal is a necessary first step in meeting the new law’s stated goals while also achieving some of the goals outlined in the state’s climate laws.
The law requires the state and its various government agencies to submit five year climate and carbon targets, as well as detailed plans on how each agency will meet those goals. The law also calls for the state to set goals for energy efficiency, renewable power, and car/bus fuel consumption.
On Dec. 5, the Governor’s Office released a progress report on the state’s progress towards those targets, which include: •Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 17 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 •Reducing energy use to 37 percent below 2015 levels by 2025 •Reducing auto fleet emissions by 85 percent by 2025 by requiring cars to have the equivalent of 35 mpg
The Office of Planning and Research also released the first-ever statewide public engagement process this week. The new plan is part of the next phase of the state’s legislative process that will include hearings and a legislative review committee in the first half of 2019; then hearings and a legislative review committee in the second half.
The process is intended to keep stakeholders engaged and involved in the state’s work ahead of the Climate Change Act’s effective date of January 1, 2020. The plan also seeks input from the public on the climate and energy goals that the law creates