Renewable Energy to Play Role in New CA Emissions Reductions

During the same week that California’s State Senate overwhelmingly passed a comprehensive bill to promote solar energy in the state, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets for the entire state. Renewable energy technologies are expected to play a part in these new goals.

The Governor signed Executive Order S-3-05 which establishes these GHG targets and charges the California Environmental Protection Agency secretary with the coordination of the oversight of efforts to achieve them. He unveiled the plan while speaking at the United Nations World Environment Day in San Francisco. “California will continue to be a leader in the fight against global warming and protecting our environment. Today I am establishing clear and ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our state to protect our many natural resources, public health, agriculture and diverse landscape,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “By working together we can meet the needs of both our economy and environment. Together we can continue California’s environmental heritage and legacy of leadership in innovation in cutting-edge technology.” Part of that cutting-edge technology is the wide array of renewable energy companies that do business in the state. Solar energy has been a particularly prominent player in the state and will no-doubt play a role in the Governor’s emissions reduction targets. The targets the Governor announced today call for a reduction of GHG emissions to 2000 levels by 2010; a reduction of GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020; and a reduction of GHG emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. In his speech, the Governor said California is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change through the reduction in the quality and supply of water to the state from the Sierra snow pack; the exacerbation of California’s air quality problems; the adverse impact on human health by increasing heat stress and related deaths, incidence of infectious disease, and risk of asthma, respiratory and other health problems; the rise in sea level along the 1,100 miles of coastline; and detrimental impacts to agriculture due to increased temperatures, diminished water supply and changes in the abundance and distribution of pests. “Technologies that reduce GHG emissions are increasingly in demand in the worldwide marketplace,” said California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Allan Lloyd. “California companies investing in these technologies are well placed to benefit from this demand. This will boost California’s economy and protect public health and the environment.” The California Environmental Protection Agency secretary will coordinate development and implementation of strategies to achieve the GHG reduction targets in conjunction with the secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, the secretary of the Department of Food and Agriculture, the secretary of the Resources Agency, the chairperson of the Air Resources Board, the chairperson of the Energy Commission and the president of the Public Utilities Commission. The work of the agencies will build on the efforts underway at the Air Resources Board, the Energy Commission and the Public Utilities Commission. The secretary will report to the Governor and the Legislature on progress made, mitigation and adaptation proposals and options for a GHG emission cap and trade systems to reduce GHG emissions in the most cost effective manner possible. Executive Order S-3-05 requires the secretary to make the first report on progress to the Governor and the Legislature by January 2006.


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