California Governor Seeks to Increase Renewable Energy Mandate to 50 Percent

California Governor Jerry Brown proposed spending $59 billion to fix crumbling roads and raising the state’s renewable energy mandate to 50 percent.

Sworn in today for an unprecedented fourth term, the 76-year-old Democrat said he would proceed with a $68 billion California high-speed-rail line, on which he is expected break ground tomorrow.

“The financial promises we have already made must be confronted honestly so that they are properly funded,” Brown said. “The health of our state depends on it.”

Brown tomorrow will head to Fresno, 150 miles (250 kilometers) south of Sacramento, to break ground on the high- speed-rail line, which is intended to shuttle passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles at speeds up to 220 miles per hour. Republicans criticize the rail line as an expensive boondoggle. Land owners, farmers, and taxpayers groups have tried to block it through the courts.

‘Bold Commitments’

“California has made bold commitments to sustain our environment, help the neediest and build for our future,” Brown said. “We are leaders in renewable energy and efficiency; we have extended health care to millions; we are transforming our educational and criminal justice systems; we are building the nation’s only high-speed rail system.”

Brown outlined environmental goals aimed at reducing carbon pollution and curbing emissions of heat-trapping gases. He aims to see them fulfilled in the next 15 years, he said. They include increasing from one-third to 50 percent the electricity derived from renewable sources, reducing petroleum use in cars and trucks by as much as 50 percent and doubling the efficiency of existing buildings.

“Taking significant amounts of carbon out of our economy without harming its vibrancy is exactly the sort of challenge at which California excels,” Brown said. “This is exciting, it is bold and it is absolutely necessary if we are to have any chance of stopping potentially catastrophic changes to our climate system.”

Copyright 2014 Bloomberg

Lead image: Atlaspix via Shutterstock

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