The state of California has committed to becoming the largest economy in the world to adopt a zero-emissions goal. The state’s assembly passed a bill to eliminate its greenhouse gas emissions that result from producing electricity and claimed to achieve half its goal by 2026. Continue reading this article to learn more about California’s zero-emission goal.
What is the Zero-Emission Goal?
The zero-emission goal is an offshoot of the UN’s net-zero emission target, which intends to balance the human-caused greenhouse gas emissions by removing the already present GHGs from the environment. The first step towards this goal is to reduce to zero the frequency of human-caused emissions that happen through, for instance, factories and vehicles running on fossil fuels, etc. Then, carbon-removal technology could be adopted to attain climate-neutrality.
California’s zero-emission goal is a stepping stone towards achieving the net-zero emission target. In 2018, Governor Jerry Brown announced an ambitious climate goal of not only reducing the state’s overall greenhouse emissions by 2045 but also pulling the GHG and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere from 2046 onwards. In addition to this, Jerry Brown also signed a bill that established that all of the state’s electricity must be produced using carbon-free sources by 2045. The plan is to replace carbon emissions by relying on renewable energy sources and technologies such as wind power, solar power, etc.
Jerry Brown garnered a lot of appreciation for taking a climate-related initiative. But his ambitious goal was also viewed with some skepticism, especially because of California’s inability to meet its previously set targets. California is already facing a difficult time trying to achieve its earlier target of cutting 80 percent of the state’s emissions by 2050. But despite all the problems, the mayor should have his confidence in California’s ability to achieve its goal. He stressed on how the state will do whatever is necessary to deal with the threat of climate change.
The state of California can be credited to have increased its use of renewable energy in the past decade. But to be able to reach the zero-emission goal, it is faced with some challenges such as:
- Discovering better and cheaper alternatives to store large quantities of electricity to provide 100 percent clean and affordable energy to consumers
- Removing carbon from the atmosphere at a large scale. Even though relevant technology is available, but launching them at a larger scale is a daunting task.
- Taking measures to manage, protect and expand forests to reduce carbon emissions by 5 million metric tons
- A simple wildfire can release enough carbon dioxide to wipe out the effects of reduced emissions, necessitating that the process of trimming emission is started all over again
California’s Progress towards Achieving the Goal
To counter the genuine challenges with the potential to hinder California’s progress of reaching its goal, a few notable steps have been taken. These include but are not limited to:
- Building energy-efficient household and commercial buildings
- Growing crops that are used in biomass-fueled energy power plants and then utilizing the plant emissions
- Reducing transportation emissions
- Using renewable energy sources to fulfill the electricity needs of the residents
- Setting up climate regulations that deliver greenhouse gas reduction results
- Modernizing the regional distribution system of electricity
Out of all the renewable resources, solar energy and power are being utilized the most. In 2010, only 0.5% of electricity generation depended on solar power. In recent years, however, the percentage has risen up to more than 10%. This shift has helped California push its greenhouse gas emissions way below the GHG levels in 1990.
The reduction of carbon intensity has benefited not only the environment but also the economy of California. Overall emissions are decreasing, and the California State’s GDP is growing tremendously in the same time frame.
California’s attempts to pay attention to the climate change threat have garnered immense public support and increased mass awareness of the issue. Surveys suggest that more than half of the residents support California’s zero-emission goal and are willing to play their part. The state also has an exhaustive energy-related legislative agenda prepared so that it can take the steps accordingly. California has, therefore, established itself to be one of the best places to live in the country.