California’s Climate Action Plan: A Year in Review

California set a record for greenhouse gas reductions in 2020, but it means nothing if state leaders fail to meet the carbon reduction goals they laid out in 2017…

State of California climate leaders call on Governor Newsom to act by increasing state investment in clean energy and transportation

January 13, 2019

LAST year California set a record for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions, with a carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions reduction of 37% of 1990 levels by 2020. These strong reductions in GHG emissions will make a huge difference in our global climate future. In the U.S., we will have to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by nearly 30% of 1990 levels by 2030, making us the world leader in climate action.

If we want to limit warming, we need to reduce emissions of climate-changing gases such as carbon dioxide (CO 2 ), methane (CH 4 ), nitrous oxide (N 2 O), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 45% of 1990 levels by 2030. This is a significant reduction, and we can achieve it through a strong, targeted effort to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future.

With all the talk about carbon pricing, it is clear that the state government must play a key role in reducing emissions. But, there is a huge gap between what the state government is spending for and what it is doing to meet the 2030 goals.

To meet the goals, this year California enacted a number of laws to reduce emissions and strengthen our economy:

Expanded renewable energy targets

Increased support for electric vehicle use in transportation and building

Created and expanded the Clean Vehicles Initiative

Reduced the sales tax on electric vehicles

Increased the fuel efficiency of our vehicles

Reduced vehicle registration fees and fees for hybrid and electric vehicles

Increased public transit use

Increased support for clean air and more clean power production

Achieved significant emissions reductions

The main reasons that California has made the largest greenhouse gas reductions in the world are the policies we have enacted. Since 2010, our emissions reductions have grown by 15%, the largest annual growth rate in the world.

These policies have been a combination of the following:

A reduction in vehicle registration fees

Reductions in

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