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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Newsom calls for action to move "faster" toward climate goals

California's climate targets
Photo: Office of the Governor of California

Governor Gavin Newsom pushed to move faster to meet California's climate goals by setting ambitious new actions on renewable energy, clean buildings, carbon removal and clean fuels in the transportation sector. 

In a letter to the chairman of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Newsom called on the state to ensure that the 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan provides a pathway to achieve both the 2030 climate goal and the state's carbon neutrality by 2045. 

In turn, it calls for the final plan to incorporate new efforts to promote offshore wind, clean fuels, climate-friendly homes, carbon removal and address methane leakage.

Last June, the governor signed a state budget that will make it easier to bring clean energy projects online, speeding up the environmental review process for new projects and helping the state move away from fossil fuel-generated electricity.

Similarly, the governor also announced that he will work with the Legislature to enshrine carbon neutrality in state law, increase the state's ambition toward 2030 climate goals and accelerate clean energy targets, while supporting carbon sequestration from natural and working lands, and advancing carbon removal security and equity.

It will also work to finalize the state's historic investments under the $53.9 billion climate commitment, with a focus on equity and community resilience, while expanding opportunities for climate innovation and manufacturing in the state.

"California communities experience the devastating impacts of climate change every day. We need to ramp up our efforts to significantly reduce harmful carbon pollution," Newsom said.

"The state's draft carbon neutrality roadmap doesn't go far enough or fast enough. That's why I'm pushing state agencies to take more aggressive action, from offshore wind to climate-friendly housing, and ... to make sure we never build another fossil fuel power plant in California," he added.

The new goals and requested actions outlined in the letter include establishing a California Energy Commission planning goal of at least 20 GW of offshore wind energy by 2045.

As well as creating a target of 3 million climate-ready and climate-friendly homes by 2030 and 7 million by 2035, complemented by 6 million heat pumps by 2030, and targeting 50 percent of investments to disadvantaged and low-income communities.

Move away from fossil fuels by directing state agencies to plan an energy transition to meet long-term energy goals that avoids the need for new natural gas plants while ensuring reliability. 

Similarly, set a 20 percent clean fuel target for the aviation sector, and evaluate a more stringent low-carbon fuel standard and accelerate refinery transitions to clean fuel production.

In turn, it is proposed to form a working group to identify and address methane leaks from oil infrastructure near communities, recognizing the threats these leaks may pose to community health and safety; as well as to establish a carbon removal target of 20 MMT by 2030 and a carbon removal target of 100 MMT by 2045.

In addition, it plans to partner with the Legislature to make a statewide carbon neutrality law and accelerate progress toward California's 2030 goal; bring new ambition to the state's clean energy goals; develop a policy to support natural and working lands sequestration while incorporating industrial carbon sequestration into carbon neutrality efforts; and finalize investments under the state's $53.9 billion Climate Commitment.

The California Air Resources Board will meet in the fall to consider adoption of a final draft of the 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan.

Governor Newsom also announced the launch of a new climate dashboard highlighting state climate action and progress toward key goals. 

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