Dale Kasler, THE SACRAMENTO BEE
Severin Borenstein, an energy economist at UC Berkeley, said a key reason why carbon pollution has fallen is the Great Recession, which took a huge toll on economic activity in its early years.
California has beaten its self-imposed goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, achieving a milestone in the state’s fight against climate change.
The California Air Resources Board announced Wednesday that total statewide carbon emissions fell to 429 million metric tons in 2016, a drop of 12 million tons from the year before. The decline means California met the Legislature’s goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels, and did so a full four years before the target year of 2020.
Gov. Jerry Brown and other state officials said the results proved the state’s portfolio of anti-carbon laws and regulations is succeeding — and showed California can fight climate change while still enjoying a significant economic boom. They pledged to continue to fight efforts by President Donald Trump’s administration to roll back strict emission rules imposed by the Obama administration.
“This is great news for the health of Californians, the state’s environment and its economy, even as we face the failure of our national leadership to address climate change,” said Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols in a prepared statement.