EU hails California legislation to boost clean energy transition

© European Union , 2018 / Photo: Ina Fassbender

Handshake between, Jerry Brown, Governor of California, on the left and EU Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete.

The California State Assembly passed legislation that would make it the first large state to mandate completely carbon-free electricity generation.


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Arnold Schwarzenegger may no longer be the governor of California, but the US’ most populous state is still spearheading efforts against climate change.

On the heels climate concerns boosted by extreme summer temperatures and catastrophic wildfires, the California State Assembly reportedly passed legislation on August 28 that would make it the first large state to mandate completely carbon-free electricity generation, with a target of 2045.

“It is good to see that we have strong teammates, like the state of California, who have not turned their back on the Paris climate deal,” European Commission Vice President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič told New Europe, taking a jab at the decision of US President Donald J. Trump to pull out of the Paris climate accord.

The EU has led efforts to fight climate change through the Global Covenant of Mayors. “Worldwide, regions and cities, such as those united in the Global Covenant of Mayors, continue to show bold leadership. The clean energy transition is clearly a global trend. It is a moral necessity that also makes perfect economic sense. Look at our own renewable energy policies: they are expected to save us up to €58 billion in fossil fuel imports by 2030 while contributing to making our air cleaner,” Šefčovič told New Europe. “That’s why Europe chose to be a leader in the energy transition, now and in the future. This will become clear in our long-term 2050 strategy, in which we will present several ambitious pathways, including one leading to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2050. With partners like California, we can aim high, also at the global level, and make our planet healthier and more sustainable.”

Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete said he is pleased to see California committing to carbon-free electricity by 2045. “The global low-carbon transition is firmly underway. Looking forward to fruitful exchanges at the Global Climate Action Summit in September,” Cañete wrote in a tweet on August 29.

If signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown after the Senate’s final approval this would keep the US state into the forefront of the environmental trends to fight climate change.

California has been a leader in trying to counter the forces contributing to climate change, from its stringent standards for auto emissions to its mandate that 50% of the state’s electricity come from carbon-free sources by 2030, according to the NYT.

Senate Bill 100 authored by State Senator Kevin de León would set a state goal to supply 100% of retail electricity sales from carbon-free resources by 2045 and increase California’s current 50% renewable portfolio standard to 60% by 2030.

León has said that efforts of the Trump administration to bolster electricity generated from fossil fuels, California and other states must chart their own course on energy policy. “Because of the fires, because of the extreme drought, because of the anti-environmental edicts coming from this president, there’s a huge groundswell of support,” NYT quoted de León as saying.

The bill should be on Brown’s desk for signature before the governor convenes the Global Climate Action Summit being held in San Francisco in September.

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