California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed legislation on Monday to shift the state to 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045. Brown timed the signing of the bill to kick off this week’s global climate summit that will bring officials and activists from around the world to San Francisco.
Senate Bill 100, authored by state Sen. Kevin de León (D), sets a 100 percent clean electricity goal for the state by 2045. Also on Monday, Brown issued an executive order establishing a new target to achieve carbon neutrality by the same year.
Currently, renewables account for 27 percent of the state’s energy usage, with that total driven by a combination of solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal power.
“California is committed to doing whatever is necessary to meet the existential threat of climate change,” Brown said in his S.B. 100 signing message.
The bill and executive order puts California on a path to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement, Brown said. “But have no illusions,” he added, “California and the rest of the world have miles to go before we achieve zero-carbon emissions.”
On June 1, 2017, President Donald Trump announced he planned to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement.
Last year, California joined Washington state and New York to form the U.S. Climate Alliance, which now includes 17 U.S. states committed to achieving the goals of the Paris climate agreement and meeting or exceeding the targets of the Clean Power Plan crafted by the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency.
“Today, with Governor Brown’s support, California sent a message to the rest of the world that we are taking the future into our own hands; refusing to be the victims of its uncertainty,” de Leon said Monday in a statement. “Transitioning to an entirely carbon-free energy grid will create good-paying jobs, ensure our children breathe cleaner air and mitigate the devastating impacts of climate change on our communities and economy.”
— Gov. Brown Press Office (@GovPressOffice) September 10, 2018
The California Assembly passed the S.B. 100 law in late August committing the state to a target of 100 percent clean electricity by 2045, becoming the second state to do so. In 2015, Hawaii became the first state to set such a target.
S.B. 100 is an amendment to California’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS). Currently, the state’s RPS requires half of all electricity delivered by utilities to come from renewable sources of energy by 2030. As an interim step toward the goal of 100 percent renewables, the bill would increase California’s clean energy goal to 60 percent by 2030.
“It’s impossible to overstate how significant it is for a state as large and influential as California to commit to 100 percent clean energy,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said Monday in a statement. “California is showing the world that a transition to 100 percent clean energy is within reach and it will continue to drive the transition away from fossil fuels — and it is doing this while the federal government abandons clean energy.”
Starting Wednesday, government and industry officials and climate activists will gather in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit. This past Saturday, thousands of climate activists marched in the city’s streets as part of a worldwide demonstration known as the Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice.