California Governor Sets Most Ambitious Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target in North America

Statement by Adrienne Alvord, California and Western States Director

Published Apr 29, 2015


OAKLAND, Calif. (April 29, 2015) — California Gov. Jerry Brown set a more ambitious target today in the state’s quest to reduce global warming emissions, a move that has been encouraged by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The governor issued an executive order that directs California to cut emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The target will help the state meet its goal of an 80 percent reduction in emissions below 1990 levels by 2050 previously set by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A letter sent by the Union of Concerned Scientists last year to the governor and state legislators that was signed by more than 100 leading scientists urged lawmakers to adopt a steeper target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions after 2020.

Today’s announcement by Gov. Brown follows a plan he announced in January to increase California’s renewable energy generation from 33 percent to 50 percent, cut petroleum use by 50 percent, and double the efficiency of existing buildings over the next 15 years.

Below is a statement from Adrienne Alvord, UCS California and Western States Director:

“The Union of Concerned Scientists commends Gov. Brown for paying close attention to scientific evidence about the need for accelerated action to curb carbon pollution and prevent further damage to our climate. The governor’s executive order comes at a critical time as California grapples with a dangerously low snowpack, exceptional drought, more frequent and intense wildfires, and other impacts of a warming climate.

“The new carbon-reduction goal will catalyze the state’s current efforts to curb heat-trapping emissions in our energy and transportation systems. Already, California’s policies to forge a low-carbon future are benefitting our economy by driving clean energy investments and improving public health through better air quality.

“Gov. Brown’s decisive action continues California’s leadership role in fighting climate change as countries are setting their own carbon-reduction goals in advance of the United Nations summit in Paris later this year. As the world struggles to stabilize global temperatures and avert the worst consequence of climate change, California is providing a blueprint for other states and nations to follow.”