California Legislature approves climate bill

California lawmakers approved a major statewide renewable energy goal as their legislative session ground to a close last week. 

Members approved a bill late Friday night requiring the state get 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. The bill, which also sets energy efficiency standards for buildings, passed the Assembly on a 52-27 vote and the Senate, 26-14. 

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Earlier in the week, lawmakers removed from the bill a key and controversial provision requiring the state cut its oil consumption by 50 percent. Even so, the legislation’s lead sponsor, Senate President Kevin de Leon, said the bill is part of a “historic commitment” to take on climate change. 

“These new steps build on California’s historic commitment to lead the world in the fight against climate change and build a healthy and livable planet for our children and grandchildren,” he said in a statement. 

“But our efforts to reduce carbon emissions are far from over as global warming and air pollution remain one of the most important issues of our generation and one the greatest threats for generations to come.” 

Green groups cheered the action over the weekend. 

“Today, California demonstrated once again that it is a world leader in tackling the climate crisis, protecting public health, and expanding the booming clean energy economy,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said in a statement. 

“Ensuring that renewable energy makes up half of all electricity sold in the state by 2030 is both necessary and eminently achievable — and the significance of this move will echo around the world.”

The renewable energy bill was a major priority for Gov. Jerry Brown (D), but he didn’t get everything he wanted from the session. 

Besides the oil provision, lawmakers also tabled a bill to codify Brown’s aggressive greenhouse gas emission targets into law. The lead legislative sponsor, Democratic state Sen. Fran Pavley, told the Los Angeles Times she will bring it up again next year.