Governor Puts California on Path to 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Gov. Jerry Brown leapfrogged the legislature with an executive order for California to be carbon-neutral by 2045.

(Courtesy image)

On the heels of San Francisco hosting a Global Climate Action Summit this week, Gov. Jerry Brown showed up the California legislature on Monday by setting a target for the state to be carbon-neutral by 2045.

Brown took the extra step with an executive order while signing SB 100, which mandates 100 percent renewable electricity in the state by 2045 as the state summer of fires rages on. Both put the state on track to meet goals set by the Paris climate accord, which Brown vowed to continue despite the Trump administration backing out in 2017.

“To see California, the world’s 5th largest economy, commit to the 100% goal, is an historic moment and testament to the growing power of this movement,” said May Boeve, executive director of national environmental group 350.org, in a statement.

The signing gives Brown added credibility days before showing up to the Global Climate Action Summit, which begins in San Francisco on Wednesday to extract greater environmental commitments from leaders worldwide.

But the executive order merely sets a legally unenforceable goal and though the signing has been celebrated, environmental leaders are calling for Brown to go further and point to the 20,000 oil and gas wells permitted under his tenure. The group is calling for an end to permits for fossil fuel projects and outlawing drilling near homes and schools.

“There is a disconnect between transitioning to 100% clean energy without ending the terrible impacts of oil and gas production on our communities today,” said nonpartisan group Elected Officials to Protect California, which includes 240 state lawmakers. “We cannot hold our breaths until 2045 and continue to suffer the dire consequences of fossil fuel extraction. We cannot do one without the other.”

Brown has clearly positioned himself to be the country’s climate change leader and has indeed taken further action than many leaders. But he’s only got less than three months of his finaal to go full speed ahead with an environmental legacy — or leave the rest of the glory to his successor.

As he said about the steps he took today, “It will not be easy. It will not be immediate. But it must be done.”

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