In a rare combination of good news/great news, California's greenhouse gas emissions are on the decline and on target to meet 2020 benchmarks according to an announcement from the state's Air Resources board.
And the great news? California has been able to reduce greenhouse gases while still growing the economy.
According to the release, California greenhouse gas emissions fell by nearly a third of a percent in 2015 (which is more or less the same as taking about 300,000 vehicles off the road). For the numbers geeks - that's 1.5 million fewer metric tons in 2015 as compared with 2014.
That means the Golden State is on track to hit emission reduction benchmarks by 2020 as set by the California Global Warming Solutions Act. AB 32 set a target of reducing California's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 which is equivalent to around 431 million metric tons.
California's legislature and Jerry Brown have set even higher targets for 2030, with additional goals of reducing emissions in California by 40 percent below 1990 emission levels. That's the most ambitious goal in North America.
"This data shows once again that California’s groundbreaking greenhouse gas emission-reduction programs are working as designed,” said Mary D. Nichols, Chair of the California Air Resources Board (CARB). “These numbers clearly indicate that the state is on track to achieve its 2020 emission reduction goals and that California can grow its economy while continuing to fight climate change.”
And for the naysayers who said the sixth largest economy in the world couldn't reduce emissions and grow the economy? That claim is going up in smoke too.
Over the last seven years, California created 2.3 million new jobs (outpacing most of the US) with the unemployment rate falling by half. Not only that, a once unmanageable $27 billion budget deficit has been eliminated thanks to higher revenues and a strong economy. California led the nation in job creation for the third straight year in 2016.