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California Climate Legislation: Where do we Stand?

What is the new legislation in California regarding climate change, and will it finally help the state get some control over the global climate crisis?
Ecology News
2023-07-26T00:00:00.000Z
en-us
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The U.S. has been upping their game in the climate change department lately – which includes new California climate legislation.

Most recently, the Biden administration passed a new revolutionary bill to incentivize business owners and the average citizen alike to invest in energy efficient equipment – and the California climate legislation has also recently joined the party with several new stringent legislative measures to mitigate climate change.

Is the new California climate legislation enough to change the course of rising global temperatures?

What is the new California Climate Legislation?

The new California climate legislation, inspired by the current governor of California, Gavin Newsom – is a series of bills aimed to improve multiple sectors that create carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas emissions in attempts to help California reach their current emission reduction targets. The state is drastically behind in reaching the emission reduction targets they once set in place, but with this new legislation – it’s not impossible to say that the state could make it.

👉 Allocating a whopping $54 billion towards various sectors such as public transportation, electric cars, and wildfire prevention – the new California climate legislation clearly seeks to leave no sector that is affected by climate change or produces further emissions behind.

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What has been California’s stance on climate legislation before?

California is known to be a hippy, environmentally friendly region – where many value the negative impact that rising global temperatures have had on nature and human life.

In fact, San Francisco, one of the most densely populated cities in California and in all of the United States, has required all residents to separate their recycling, trash, and even compost for over a decade. If residents of San Francisco fail to do so correctly, such as putting a piece of recycling or something compostable in the trash – they are subject to fines.

👉California provides all their local governments with the California Climate Action Portal Map, which is a data tool used to track the climate legislation implemented across the state. This way, local governments of California can easily access relative climate action plans and how they were created in conjunction with the climate change goals set forth by the state.

Ultimately, California has been relatively free-spirited about who, how, when, and where in the state climate change legislation should be implemented – but things are about to change.

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What policies are currently intact in the state of california to prevent climate change?

California climate legislation has previously been the primary responsibility of local governments across the state. However, there have been some previous state-wide efforts to mitigate climate change such as the Climate Change Scoping Plan that is currently in place.

👉 The California Climate Change Scoping Plan delineates the areas that need the most attention in order for the state to achieve their long-term climate goals and ultimately reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

There has also been a state-wide executive order called B-55-18 that demands for California to become carbon neutral by 2045 as a part of working towards the net-zero movement to reduce emissions by 2050.

What are some of the new measures included in the new California climate legislation?

You may be wondering why new California climate legislation is necessary when local governments across the state have been intrinsically motivated to benefit the environment years before climate change awareness has met normality.

Well, this past summer hasn’t been a picnic in the park for anyone. Rising global temperatures have induced heat waves in even the cloudiest of regions in the world, such as the United Kingdom. Additionally, as if California hasn’t suffered enough numerous droughts and wildfires in recent years – the heat has gotten so bad across the state, California recently had to declare an electricity emergency due to extensive energy use amidst the heat waves.

Needless to say, reducing superfluous energy consumption has never proven to be as imperative as it is now.

Given California ranks fifth on the world’s global economy, it’s hard to believe that it took this long for such abrasive measures to mitigate climate change to be implemented – but it’s finally happened. Several lawmakers have just approved several bills aimed to require businesses throughout the state to reduce their emissions and transition to renewable energy sources.

The measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions value at a total of $54 billion as an attempt to improve upon the current tactics in California climate legislation.

The new regulations are a part of the improved California climate legislation built upon the existing measures already put in place to prevent the negative effects of climate change. Despite the fact that California already has strict climate change legislation in comparison to other states, state-wide legislation is still required according to Biden – even after passing the new $369 billion climate bill.

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Supporting cleaner methods of transportation

One of the new measures established in the improved California climate legislation include policies to make transitioning to the use of clean energy necessary. The state is dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions or fossil fuels that will pollute the environment to the extent that the state will ban the ability to purchase gasoline-based cars by the year 2035. In addition to this new strict vehicle requirement, the new California climate legislation also includes over six billion dollars for electric vehicles.

Doing so will encourage Californians to choose cleaner methods of transportation, and even benefit from the tax reductions included in the new U.S. climate bill, otherwise known as the Inflation Reduction Agreement of 2022.

Improve public transportation, water programs & prevent wildfires

The eventual prohibited purchasing of gasoline-powered cars isn’t the only thing to be changing with the new California climate legislation. In addition to the transition to the use of electric cars across the state, California is investing in future environmental improvement plans – by using an overwhelming $54 billion on multivarious climate programs, such as the six billion dollars that will go towards the future compulsory use of electric vehicles and battery-powered school buses.

👉 The other $54 billion dedicated towards the California climate legislation will contribute $14.8 billion towards improved public transportation and railway systems, $8 billion to stabilize the currently debilitated electricity grids, $2.7 billion for wildfire prevention, and $2.8 billion for improved water programs to prevent a future water supply crisis during unprecedented droughts.

Keep the Diablo Canyon Power Plant functional

Some of the money dedicated to new California climate legislation will also help to keep the Diablo Canyon Power Plant intact, which are two nuclear reactors that reside on the coast mid-state to provide nearly a tenth of the state’s electricity.

👉 The Diablo Canyon Power Plant was supposed to end by 2025, but the new California climate legislation allows it to remain functional until at least 2029.

Cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 85%

Perhaps the most beneficial component of the new California climate legislation are the new measures to restrict the use of gas and oil unless they are a minimum of 3,200 feet from schools, residences, or hospitals to ensure the safety of Californians whilst simultaneously reducing emissions.

Following the new California climate legislation, all enterprises in California will be required to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping 85% by 2045 in addition to contributing to carbon offsetting projects whenever possible to achieve net-zero emissions.

Environmentally beneficial equipment like carbon capture and storage systems, which directly remove carbon dioxide emissions from the air – will be encouraged to ensure all those required to abide by the new California climate legislation work towards the state’s new environmental goals.

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What will this new California climate legislation do?

Biden made clear that while the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 was a massive milestone for the United States in their efforts to mitigate climate change, that all states need to implement climate legislation in correlation with the new climate bill to re-enforce the measures that are necessary to reduce emissions and achieve net-zero status.

The new California climate legislation will do exactly that by creating even more stringent incentives for businesses to not only abide by California’s new environmental requirements, but also benefit from the tax reductions included in the new climate bill for the country.

California hasn’t implemented a coherent plan to mitigate further emissions until now. The state isn’t even currently on track to hit their 2030 emission reduction targets, and this could be because the state has previously allotted many regulators free-will in their environmental policies – which hasn’t proven successful given the state is lagging behind their original emission goals.

👉 Therefore, this plan ultimately allows for a whopping 39 million Americans to cut their carbon footprint – whether or not they were planning to, as many daily habits will begin to become compulsory standards.

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Is the new California climate legislation enough to improve the current state of climate change?

California is a large state in both size and population, making it difficult to regulate or implement plans to reduce emissions. However, given that California is the seventh largest producer of oil in the United States – these measures are necessary.

But will they improve upon the current state of climate change, and help to mitigate future climate crises like the potential California mega storm?

Climate change is impacting California across a multitude of sectors, just as it is everywhere else in the world. Environmental and social injustice has been rising throughout the state, as many environmental justice groups have pontificated and proceeded to fail to create the necessary, and now belated, call-for-action to regulate the actions of oil and gas companies.

The reality is that oil and gas companies support actions that call to reduce emissions. However, the new California climate legislation presents a vital flaw – as a state-wide regulation for oil and gas companies to reduce emissions could make those companies even more dependent on foreign oil, which in turn will ironically create even more emissions and provoke the cost of energy sources to skyrocket.

Similar to the new climate bill passed by the Biden administration, it’s hard to determine if the new California climate legislation will prove successful in reducing emissions. However, besides the potential setback with an uptake in foreign oil dependency – it’s hard to see that the California climate legislation would do nothing to reduce emissions.

This is because the California climate legislation is providing funding for various sectors that could benefit everyone to reduce emissions.

For example, even if one can’t afford to purchase an electric car in 2035 – public transportation is set to improve by then. Residents of California should have easier access to public transportation by that point – eschewing the need for a car at all. Therefore, even if someone needs to get from point A to point B, in theory – their method of transportation will not have as large of a carbon footprint as it did before.

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What can you do to prevent climate change without governmental incentives?

The improved California climate legislation is great for the future of the environment, but at the end of the day – there are still many actions that the average person can take every day to reduce emissions that the government may never be able to fully require.

For instance, make the switch to a reusable water bottle and cut down on purchasing plastic whenever you can. Bring a reusable shopping bag when you go grocery shopping, and start saving for your next car now so that you aren’t caught off guard by the new requirements in 2035 to go electric.

Will the new climate legislation in California help the state reach their emission reduction goals by 2030?

We’ll have to wait and see, but no one should be twiddling their thumbs in the process. Everyone should strive to implement the goals included in the new California climate legislation, and more, into their daily lives in correlation with governmental incentives.

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What about Greenly?

If reading this article about the California climate legislation has made you interested in reducing your carbon emission to further fight against climate change – Greenly can help you!

Greenly can help you make an environmental change for the better, starting with a carbon footprint assessment to know how much carbon emissions your company produces.

Click here to learn more about Greenly and how we can help you reduce your carbon footprint.

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