Author: Thomas

California’s carbon emissions are already reducing

California’s carbon emissions are already reducing

California set a record for greenhouse gas reductions in 2020, but it means nothing if California is still increasing its emissions in the coming years, according to economists.

“We’ve made tremendous progress,” said Peter Gleick, founder and director of the Pacific Institute in Oregon. “But without any substantive mitigation policy, California keeps accelerating its growth in carbon emissions.”

The new data are published in the June issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The analysis shows how the statewide program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, called AB 32, is helping California meet its 2030 climate goals. Yet as the state has cut emissions by about 5 percent since the program’s inception, the economy is expected to grow by nearly 20 percent over the next two decades.

The state’s carbon reductions are already having a measurable effect, the report said. Since the law went into effect, California’s total emissions have dropped by about 2 percent, to 6.8 metric tons of CO2, compared with 2016 levels. At the same time, the economy is growing by more than 9 percent, to $1.4 trillion, according to the California Climate Action Registry.

“The law has allowed us to avoid the worst of the worst effects of climate change,” Chief State Climatologist Karen Harbert, an analyst for the state’s Department of Water Resources, said at a media conference. “We’ve avoided the heat waves and the drought. We’ve avoided the wildfires.”

The new data show that the reduction in electricity demand is the biggest factor driving California’s emissions trends. Electricity demand fell about 2 percent — the equivalent of taking about 11 million cars off the road — from 2016 to 2019, according to the analysis. That drop contributed to the drop in emissions, by about 3 percent, the analysis found.

The data shows a larger drop in emissions from the transportation sector than from the industrial sector, the research found. And the drop in electricity demand, which occurred as a result of the law, is less than what people

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