California slashes emissions to 1990s level, reaches climate goal years early

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by Ruxandra Helici

Posted on August 9, 2018

California slashes emissions to 1990s level, reaches climate goal years early

The California Air Resources Board just announced that greenhouse gas pollution in California fell below 1990 levels for the first time since emissions peaked in 2004—an achievement roughly equal to taking 12 million cars off the road or saving 6 billion gallons of gasoline a year.
 
“California set the toughest emissions targets in the nation, tracked progress and delivered results,” said Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. “The next step is for California to cut emissions below 1990 levels by 2030 – a heroic and very ambitious goal.”
 
Under Assembly Bill 32 passed in 2006, California must reduce its emissions to 1990 levels (431 million metric tons) by 2020. The 2016 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory published today shows that California emitted 429 million metric tons of climate pollutants in 2016 – a drop of 12 million metric tons, or three percent, from 2015.
 
The state’s annual emissions inventory helps keep the state accountable for meeting its emissions reduction targets. Additionally, Carbon pollution dropped 3 percent between 2015 and 2016—roughly equal to taking 2.4 million cars off the road or saving 1.5 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel.
 
Thanks to the carbon price signal created by the Cap-and-Trade Program that makes fossil fuel generation more expensive, cleaner out-of-state electricity is increasingly taking the place of fuels such as coal.
 
The transportation sector, the state’s largest source of greenhouse gases, saw a 2 percent increase in emissions in 2016 because of increased fuel consumption. But the state also saw cars and trucks use a record amount of biofuels – 1.5 billion gallons in all – as a result of the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
 

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