California governor Jerry Brown signed two measures aimed at effectively eliminating the state’s carbon emissions this week, according to The Guardian, while leveling scathing criticism at President Donald Trump’s handling of environmental issues.
One bill calls for all of California’s electricity to come from carbon-free sources by 2045, while an executive order aims for net emissions across the state economy, from sources like transportation and agriculture, to be eliminated entirely by 2045.
The executive order cites “historic droughts, devastating storms, torrential storms, extreme heat … and threats to human health,” calling for the state to remove more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than it generates, using nascent technologies and increased vegetation.
Brown accused Trump of “gross ignorance” when it comes to emissions and climate change, and said the President is now the primary obstacle to progress on an “existential challenge” to the entire planet.
Speaking to The Guardian, Brown said:
“I don’t believe Trump represents the present but he has the power, he has the Republicans hook, line and sinker. His unabashed acolytes will follow him over the cliff. Gross ignorance is dangerous. The battle is with Trump – that’s the number one fight. But once he’s out of there, dealing with climate change will still be a fight.”
California has made a number of moves to make progress on emissions in spite of the Trump administration’s rollbacks of various environmental regulations. They have even aimed to limit California’s ability to set its own emissions regulations on vehicles.
Nonetheless, Brown is aiming to eventually have five million electric cars operating in California. Under Brown, California has reduced emissions of greenhouse gases to 1990 levels, alongside robust growth of the economy. The state will now additionally work to pull carbon from the atmosphere using vegetation such as forests and even carbon sequestration using algal blooms.
California is the world’s 5th largest economy, and taking such strides while maintaining economic growth provides an alternative model in contrast to Trump’s deregulation on a federal level.
Brown has also said that if Trump interferes with Nasa’s climate research, California will “launch its own damn satellite.”
Nigel Purvis, who headed the state department’s environmental diplomacy under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, praised Brown’s efforts, saying:
“Places like Sweden and Costa Rica have had those kind of pledges but California is the fifth largest economy in the world. This is historic. It’s a really major step. Jerry Brown has been one of America’s great climate leaders.”