Gov. Brown signs new bill that aims to combat damaging effects of climate change
Governor Jerry Brown signed two measures on Monday, Sept. 10 aiming to convert California to 100 percent renewable energy and “carbon neutrality” by 2045, securing the state’s reputation as a national and global leader in clean energy and environmental innovation.
SB 100 seeks to meet the state’s clean energy goals and ensuring carbon emissions are low by expanding green electricity sources like wind and solar. Brown also signed an executive order pushing the state to decrease the state’s net output of greenhouse gasses — of which the largest source is cars and trucks — to zero by 2045.
“There’s no understating the importance of this measure,” Brown said before signing the two bills. “SB 100 is sending a message to California and to the world that we’re going to meet the Paris [climate] agreement, and we’re going to continue to transition our economy to zero-carbon emissions and to have the resiliency and the sustainability that science tells us we must achieve.”
Environmentalist groups and Democratic lawmakers applauded Brown’s approval of bills for establishing a climate change plan that revolutionizes the state’s impact on the environment for generations to come.
“California has taken a bold step to address climate change and preserve our planet for future generations,” Fil-Am Assemblymember and Chair of the California Asian Pacific Islander (API) Legislative Caucus Rob Bonta said in a statement. “All 12 [API] Legislative Caucus members are proud to support this critical bill because it’s the right thing to do for ourselves and for our children and our children’s children.”
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the emission of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, traps heat closer to Earth. So as carbon levels increase, so does the planet’s overall temperature.
But as human innovation accelerated at the start of the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s, humans have been increasing the amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at an exponential rate. Carbon dioxide represents nearly 84 percent of all greenhouse gases emitted through human activity via burning fossil fuels for electricity and transportation.
NASA reported that the levels of carbon dioxide surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) in 2013; before the Industrial Revolution, the levels were at 270 ppm and by the 1960s, 313 ppm. NASA warns that if lawmakers don’t implement measures to drop the carbon levels to 350 ppm, and humans exhaust the planet’s natural resources, the effects of climate change will persist.
Brown signed the measures days before hosting The Global Climate Action Summit, a meeting of 5,000 world leaders on climate change including government officials, business leaders and environmentalists in San Francisco.
The highly anticipated summit and the approval of SB 100 come at the heels of President Donald Trump’s controversial decision last year to withdraw the United States’ involvement from the 2015 Paris climate accord, an agreement among nations to take action to prevent the globe’s temperature from increasing more than 2 degrees Celsius over levels before the Industrial Revolution.
“The Republican Party under Trump, and even before, is committed to deny and fight any effort to prevent the catastrophic horror of climate change,” Brown added. “First they deny it, then they doubted it, then they revile others who are trying to do something. Others being all the countries of the world.
Earlier this year, the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Scott Pruitt furthered the Trump administration’s reversal of Obama-era environmental measures by imposing federal limits to states’ goals over carbon emission limits.
On the national front, climate change has been a largely partisan topic with Democrats pushing to implement measures to lessen the human impact on the environment with Republicans hesitant to take action.
Despite the Republican Party’s heated history with climate change, and whether or not it believes it is scientifically-proven, moderate Republicans this year have been slowly rethinking the party’s stance on the issue.
In July, Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida introduced a carbon tax measure for companies and use those funds toward an infrastructure program. The measure was condemned by House Republicans who called the tax “detrimental” to the economy. (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)