California in particular is a shining example of state-based leadership on climate, having established its own cap-and-trade mechanism — a key element in the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (also known as AB 32) — that will soon be linked with the Province of Québec which will decrease overall greenhouse gas emissions and provide greater flexibility to California businesses. The state also has a Renewable Portfolio Standard of 33 percent by 2020 (the state utilities have already met 20 percent of its electricity needs through renewables), and a net metering program allowing customers to receive financial credit for power generating by their onsite system.
Thanks to the foresight of California policymakers and ample natural resources, the state leads the nation in solar projects, solar megawatts installed, and the average cost per watt of solar. In 2011, $1.9 billion was invested in the state to install solar on homes and businesses, and there are currently more than 1,500 solar companies working throughout the manufacturing chain in California. California even ranks second in wind installation, while also leading the nation in most wind capacity installed in 2011.
Clearly, Californians have much to be proud of when it comes to taking strong action to reduce carbon emissions and fighting the urgent threat of climate change.
This week, Southern California energy providers came to DC to highlight the state’s great achievements and recommend action that could be taken at the federal level needed to maintain long term energy reliability for California while at an event hosted by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. The panelists called for three specific items of legislation that federal lawmakers can enact to not only support California policies, but create economic and environmental benefits for the entire country: