California has beaten its 2020 target for emissions reduction

 In Enviroment

In July the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced the level of GHG emissions in California had fallen to 429 million metric tons in 2016.

This was the lowest concentration of greenhouse gases since the 1990 and, if trying to picture it, it’s like saving 6 billion gallons of gasoline or taking 12 million cars off the road for a whole year.

Under the assembly bill signed in 2016, stated that California had pledged to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels (431 million metric tons) by 2020.

Surprisingly this target had been reached already in 2016, four years ahead of schedule.

Many analysts seem to agree that the impressive results are due to the thought Californian stringent policies to reduce the use of carbon and the simultaneous increase use of renewable energies.

Let’s take a look more in details at the data available now.

California’s Path towards decarbonization

“California set the toughest emissions targets in the nation, tracked progress and delivered results”, said Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.

“The next step is for California to cut emissions below 1990 levels by 2030 – a heroic and very ambitious goal.”

This ambitious goal could become a reality as, very interestingly, during the course of the last years, California not only reduced its greenhouse emissions significantly but also increased its gross domestic product (GDP).

Carbon pollution dropped 13% statewide since a 2004 peak, while the economy grew 26%; this is a clear sign that renewable energy and green policies are not an obstacle for a thriving, growing economy.

Other interesting data coming from the CARB study:

  • Per capita emissions are amongst the lowest in the country. 10.8 metric tons per person in 2016 and approximately half as much as the national average;
  • Carbon pollution was 3% lower between 2015 and 2016 – as much as taking 2.4 million cars off the road or saving 1.5 billion gallons of fuel;
  • The “carbon intensity” of California’s economy, which is the amount of carbon pollution emitted per $1 million of gross state product, is now one-half the national average.

These excellent figures are the result of years of work and implementation of green policies and programmes by the government of California to tackle pollution and the effects of climate change.

Amongst them, there were also exciting policies promoting the use of energy storage systems.

Policies in California on Energy Storage

Increase energy storage is a crucial factor to be able to increase the use of renewable energies in our life.

In 2013, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) created a program to reach 1,325 megawatts of energy storage by 2020.

This program supported energy storage projects which had to be installed no later than the end of 2014.

This new initiative aims to have, by 2050, 50% all energy coming from sustainable power supported by energy storage systems.

In 2017, California reached 86% of non-residential energy storage of the US, 36% of utility storage and 31% of home storage and new projects are regularly developing.

California’s experience and results set an important example for other US states as well as countries around the globe.

“Emissions may vary from year-to-year depending on the weather and other factors”, said CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey.

“However, this inventory demonstrates that our policies are working to incentivize GHG-free energy sources and ensure the state remains on track to meet its climate targets in 2020 and beyond.”

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