Last week Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to cut California’s electricity sector emissions , which account for about 16% of the state’s total emissions, to zero by 2045. But an Executive Order he signed on the same day calls for 100% of California’s totalemissions not only to go to zero in 2045, but to go negative after that. This target is so absurdly ambitious that Euan Mearns e-mailed me asking whether the Executive Order wasn’t a hoax. But it isn’t. It reflects Gov. Brown’s determination to save the Earth from climate change whether it needs saving or not. (Inset; jubilation as Gov. Brown signs the Executive Order).
The Executive Order is linked to here. It’s in a graphical format that doesn’t allow it to be downloaded as text, so all of the excerpts presented here are screenshots.
The Order is divided into two sections – the “Whereases” and the “Now Therefores”. For those not familiar with English legal jargon the “Whereases” list the facts, or at least the facts as Gov. Brown sees them, and the “Now Therefores” list the actions that the Whereases call for. It’s important to note that the Executive Order is not legally binding and can be rescinded by a future governor, but as Vox points out it may not be as toothless as it appears:
Executive orders are often the trigger for California climate progress. That process often begins with an executive order, as it did in 2005, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued an order establishing carbon-reduction targets through 2050. The following year, the legislature passed a version of it as AB 32, which established the machinery of emission reductions that operates in the state to this day. In 2015, Gov. Brown issued an EO establishing a new target of 40 percent reductions by 2030.
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