California sets ambitious emissions target

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California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed an executive order Wednesday calling for a 40 percent reduction in the state's greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2030.

The order builds on a 2006 state law meant to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, a goal the state is on track to meet. Brown’s office called the new order the “most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction target in North America.”

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“With this order, California sets a very high bar for itself and other states and nations, but it’s one that must be reached, for this generation and for generations to come,” Brown said in a statement.

The order directs the state to consider climate change in its infrastructure plans and to determine how to reduce risks associated with it. It says the government should “implement measures under existing agency and departmental authority to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

In his inaugural address this year, Brown said that in the next 15 years, California should increase its share of electricity from renewable sources to 50 percent and cut petroleum use in cars and trucks in half, as well as increase energy efficiency standards for buildings and reduce the state’s air pollution.

The new order is meant to put the state on pace to hit an overall emissions reduction target of 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, something Brown’s office said “is in line with the scientifically established levels needed in the U.S. to limit global warming below 2 degrees Celsius,” a key climate change metric.