Jerry Brown on Monday.
California governor Jerry Brown signed what may be the world's most ambitious carbon energy plan into law on Monday, setting a 100% clean electricity goal for the state by 2045. Jerry Brown signed a bill Monday that aims to eliminate fossil fuel use for electricity by 2045 and serves as a rebuke to US withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. California's most recent bill only states that electricity has to be zero-emissions, so theoretically the state might be able to adopt a full carbon-capture system on a natural gas plant, which is now being tested in Texas. Also on Monday, Brown issued an executive order establishing a new target to achieve carbon neutrality by the same year.
The twin actions Monday were created to be a drastic opening gesture by the governor, just before he will host a meeting of global leaders on the issue in San Francisco later this week.
The move would accelerate a shift already underway to wind and solar but hinges on a big bet - that battery costs will plunge, allowing for a transition away from the natural gas plants that provide about a third of California's electricity. This is known as the California Renewable Portfolio Standard Program, and the goal for the use of renewable resources - such as wind and solar - had previously been set at 50 percent by the year 2030.
But Brown cautioned that reducing emissions enough to meet the Paris goal of capping global warming below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) remains a daunting task.
He rejected the criticism and said that California's approach to climate change relies on curbing emissions from a variety of sources, including oil.
"California is committed to doing whatever is necessary to meet the existential threat of climate change", Mr. Brownsaid in his signing message.
The goal "sends a clear signal to markets to expand clean energy generation", Brown said. California is the second state to pledge to make their energy carbon-free, the first being Hawaii.
One of the most interesting aspects of the zero-emissions bill signed today is that it also specifies that California can't increase the carbon emissions of another state to get cheap electricity.
Business groups also opposed the measure amid concerns that it would raise the price of energy and, together with California's other environmental and labor protections, make it hard to compete with firms in other states.
Brown's announcement comes ahead of a climate summit he is hosting this week in San Francisco that will draw local governments, businesses and investors from around the world.
The bill passed the state Assembly by a vote of 44-33 and the state Senate 25-13 late last month. "While some are talking about climate solutions and green jobs, California leaders like Senator Kevin de León are making solutions real".