California unveils plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2045 – and it’s not what you think it is
The California Global Warming Solutions Act, a bill making its way through the state Legislature that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, is being widely misinterpreted. The law specifically targets California’s electricity sector, which accounts for 40 percent of the state’s energy consumption, and requires utilities to set ambitious and controversial renewable energy goals and invest in cutting emissions from electricity generation.
As the Los Angeles Times’s Matt Pearce and other local media have reported, the law’s provisions could make electricity more expensive and more difficult for California’s utilities — as well as endanger the public health of its citizens. But is the law even working as a law and as a plan?
This week, the California legislature approved the bill in a close vote of 55-44, putting it on next week’s regular legislative calendar. As the Los Angeles Times reported, state Senate Majority Leader Kevin de León has announced that he’s not signing the bill into law. “I’m really not the guy to support something that I believe is going to harm California,” he told the newspaper on Tuesday. The Times also reports that there are signs the bill could face opposition in the near future in the form of a ballot initiative, which would put the measure to voters.
That’s the question: Why would the state legislature green light legislation if it’s not going to become law? And if it does become law, which part is it? The law’s supporters maintain the measure is both ambitious and cost effective, and that it’ll make the state a leader on climate policy. But the law as proposed could also put a strain on one of the state’s main economic drivers — consumer demand and consumer spending.
Here’s what you need to know about the Act, the law, and the possible negative consequences