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Together with energy efficiency, clean energy technologies such as solar and wind are central to the fight against climate change. They are available today, getting better and cheaper all the time, and help improve air quality whilst creating new jobs. Photo©UN/Eskinder Debebe

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California Governor Jerry Brown has called for an ambitious increase in renewable energy, alternative fuels and building efficiency over the next 15 years, including the smart grid investments to put them to use. (Read the news story). 

In his Monday inaugural address, Mr Brown said that the state was well on the way to meeting the goals of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which were to reduce carbon pollution and limit the emissions of heat-trapping gases to 431 million tons by 2020. But now, he said, it was time to establish a next set of objectives for 2030 and beyond.

Governor Details new Initiatives

In his speech, Governor Brown said:

Toward that end, I propose three ambitious goals to be accomplished within the next 15 years:

  1. Increase from one-third to 50 percent our electricity derived from renewable sources;
  2. Reduce today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent;
  3. Double the efficiency of existing buildings and make heating fuels cleaner.

We must also reduce the relentless release of methane, black carbon and other potent pollutants across industries. And we must manage farm and rangelands, forests and wetlands so they can store carbon. All of this is a very tall order. It means that we continue to transform our electrical grid, our transportation system and even our communities.

I envision a wide range of initiatives: more distributed power, expanded rooftop solar, micro-grids, an energy imbalance market, battery storage, the full integration of information technology and electrical distribution and millions of electric and low-carbon vehicles. How we achieve these goals and at what pace will take great thought and imagination mixed with pragmatic caution. It will require enormous innovation, research and investment. And we will need active collaboration at every stage with our scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, businesses and officials at all levels.

Taking significant amounts of carbon out of our economy without harming its vibrancy is exactly the sort of challenge at which California excels. 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.

Photo by Phil Konstantin

 

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