Governor Brown Departs in a Blaze of Climate Action Glory

Governor Brown Departs in a Blaze of Climate Action Glory

Governor Jerry Brown is hosting the Global Climate Action Summit this week in San Francisco. He has just signed SB100 requiring utilities to use only renewable sources by 2045. And will also sign an executive order to transit to a carbon neutral state by 2045. In addition, Brown signed legislation to prevent new pipelines to any new platforms that would extend offshore oil drilling under Trump.

Gov. Brown is backed by Independent Michael Bloomberg, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, Democrat Al Gore, and the entire international community that signed the Paris Climate Agreement. The conference also emphasizes China’s plans and progress as the world’s largest current greenhouse gas polluter.

California has already committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.

SB 100, by state Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles). Also requires utilities to generate 60% of its power from renewables by 2030, up from the previous 50% goal.

2045 is 27 years in the future, and the state’s three nuclear reactors could be retired by then, thus leaving out our other clean energy source. Recent analyses at UCI by Steven J Davis of Earth System Science shows that a network cannot achieve more than 80% reliability, even with batteries, and an expanded grid. California has not always met its political emission goals in the past, but with a reasonable understanding, it doesn’t hurt to move as far toward the goal as your can. Also, who knows what technical advances will be made in 27 years, with California and the entire world working toward the green energy goals. There will also be energy saving advances in buildings, autos, and appliances by then. Also, the public’s understanding and practice of using less energy could be highly developed and motivated by then, hopefully across the entire United States. Already, half of the US population is in areas which have Climate Action Plans.

As developing countries catch up with transportation, there will be more demand for gasoline, and its price might soar. This will also motivate more fuel saving vehicles, car pooling, and public transport. The majority of our greenhouse gases in California come from transportation, and that will involve public choices of cleaner vehicles. At some point, wasteful vehicles and driving habits may become socially shunned. High mileage vehicles are easily achieved with hybrids. Then, plug-in hybrids can cover most daily trips. Charging at daytime locations would be a great advantage using plentiful solar power, or wind power in various states. It also helps drivers without garages.

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says that climate actions and socio-economic progress will generate 26 trillion dollars by 2030, over business as usual. 24 million new jobs can be created globally by 2030 by climate action policies. California stands to be a major contributor to that. New, stronger clean energy goals for the Paris Climate Agreement will be implemented starting in 2020.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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