California reaches greenhouse gas reduction goal ahead of schedule

California reaches greenhouse gas reduction goal ahead of schedule
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California's greenhouse gas emissions have reportedly fallen below 1990 levels, which means the state met its goal to reduce emissions years ahead of schedule. 

“California set the toughest emissions targets in the nation, tracked progress and delivered results,” Gov. Jerry Brown (D) said on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.

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Brown was referring to a California law that mandated that emissions levels return to 1990 levels by 2020. The next phase of the law is for emissions to get 40 percent below that marker by 2030. 

The California Air Resources Board also announced that pollution levels were down 13 percent since their peak in 2004, according to AP. The board noted that pollution levels dropping by that much is the equivalent of taking about 12 million cars off the road or saving 6 billion gallons of gasoline a year. 

Chairwoman Mary D. Nichols added that this was “great news for the health of Californians, the state’s environment and its economy.”

The board also added that the progress from California likely stems from an increased use of renewable energy. For example, the AP reports that solar electricity generation from rooftop arrays and power plants rose 33 percent in 2016. 

Meeting the 2030 goal will reportedly be much more difficult for California. But Alex Jackson, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s San Francisco office, told the news outlet that it is possible. 

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Jackson said.