As was expected, Governor Brown today signed SB 100 (de León) to put California on a path to achieve a carbon-free electricity grid by 2045. But in a surprise move ahead of this week’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, he also issued an executive order directing state agencies to achieve statewide carbon neutrality by 2045, with negative emissions thereafter.
Previous gubernatorial executive orders on long-term emissions goals focused on reducing emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. So the new 2045 target represents a significant acceleration, which will likely require massive deployment of “negative emission technologies” that sequester carbon at a scale most policy makers have not yet contemplated.
On one hand, executive orders do not carry the force of legislation and can be overturned by subsequent governors with the stroke of a pen. But on the other hand, executive orders on greenhouse gas emissions in California have tended to precede legislation that codifies them. So Governor Brown’s move today lays down a strong marker for the legislature to follow.
The order also represents a reaction to the growing urgency of climate change, as effects are felt worldwide in ways that are exceeding many scientific projections. And it also signifies optimism that the business community and international leaders (if not federal leaders here in the United States) can muster the investment and innovation necessary to deploy the needed technologies.
For more on these developments, and SB 100 in particular, I’ll be interviewing bill author (and candidate for U.S. Senate) State Senator Kevin de León on tonight’s City Visions radio program at 7pm, on KALW 91.7 FM in the San Francisco Bay Area (live-stream available).
We’ll also discuss the Global Climate Action Summit this week in San Francisco, hosted by Governor Brown. Joining me in the studio will be:
- Sen. Kevin de León – California State Senator representing District 24 in Los Angeles
- Secretary Matthew Rodriquez – California Secretary for Environmental Protection
- Louise Bedsworth – Executive Director for the California Strategic Growth Council
This show will be the first of a three-part series on California’s groundbreaking clean energy policies and fight against climate change. Tune in with questions for these California environmental leaders on the latest developments today and what to expect at the Summit this week.