SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Edmund Brown Jr. recently issued an executive order to establish a California greenhouse gas reduction target of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 — an aggressive benchmark designed to reduce carbon emissions over the next decade and a half.

“With this order, California sets a very high bar for itself and other states and nations, but it’s one that must be reached — for this generation and generations to come,” said Brown.

This executive action sets the stage for the important work being done on climate change by the legislature. The governor’s executive order aligns California’s greenhouse gas reduction targets with those of leading international governments ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris later this year. The 28-nation European Union, for instance, set the same target for 2030 in October 2014.

California is on track to meet or exceed the current target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, as established in the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32). California’s new emission-reduction target of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 will make it possible to reach the ultimate goal of reducing emissions 80 percent under 1990 levels by 2050. This is in line with the scientifically established levels needed in the U.S. to limit global warming below 2°C — the warming threshold at which scientists say there will likely be major climate disruptions such as super droughts and rising sea levels.

The executive order also specifically addresses the need for climate adaptation and directs state government to incorporate climate change impacts into the state’s five-year infrastructure plan, update the Safeguarding California Plan — the state climate adaption strategy — to identify how climate change will affect California infrastructure and industry, and what actions the state can take to reduce the risks posed by climate change, factor climate change into state agencies’ planning and investment decisions, and implement measures under existing agency and departmental authority to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Publication date: 5/25/2015 

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