LOS ANGELES (CN) – California Gov. Jerry Brown amped up the state’s commitment to curbing greenhouse emissions, issuing an executive order on Wednesday to cut emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
The Golden State already has the toughest greenhouse emission laws in the country, but Brown said at a conference that his ambitious order addresses an “ever-growing threat” posed by climate change and aligns the state to reach its 2020 target of reducing emission levels to 1990 levels.
“With this order, California sets a very high bar for itself and other states and nations, but it’s one that must be reached – for this generation and generations to come,” Brown said in a statement.
Notorious for its smoggy cities, California’s ultimate goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels, a target set by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005.
Brown issued his order during a speech at a climate-change conference in Los Angeles, and was applauded for his efforts to combat climate change and air pollution.
“Four consecutive years of exceptional drought has brought home the harsh reality of rising global temperatures to the communities and businesses of California,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement. “There can be no substitute for aggressive national targets to reduce harmful greenhouse emissions, but the decision today by Gov. Brown is an example of climate leadership that others must follow.”
Brown’s order puts California on par with the European Union’s emissions goal, which was announced in October. Scientists say the large-scale emissions reductions are necessary to curtail ever-rising global temperatures.
“Gov. Brown is setting a course that will build upon the hundreds of thousands of good paying advanced energy jobs in California, improve the health and wellbeing of Californians and continue our global leadership to solve the greatest challenge of our generation,” said Tom Seyer, founder of the political action committee NextGen Climate.
Wednesday’s order falls in line with statements Brown gave during his inaugural address in January, where he said in the next 15 years that California will get 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources and reduce petroleum usage in cars by 50 percent.
With California battling a seemingly never-ending drought, Brown continues to embrace climate change research and science.
An annual study by the American Lung Association listed eight California cities among the top 10 most polluted cities in the nation. According to the California Air Resources Board, 95 percent of Californians live in places that fail to meet federal or state air quality standards.
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