by Photo courtesy og Gov. Gavin Newsom's Office

The California Air Resources Board released a plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ​​push to achieve new and ambitious climate goals. 

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) released its updated proposal to drastically slash pollution and accelerate the transition to clean energy. According to Newsom’s office, no economy in the world, much less the soon-to-be 4th largest, has put forth such a comprehensive roadmap to reach carbon neutrality.

The updated plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 calls for cutting air pollution by 71%. The plan also aims to slash greenhouse gas emissions 85% by 2045, which includes a 48% reduction of greenhouse gasses by 2030, surpassing the statutory mandate to reduce emissions 40% below 1990 levels in 2030. 

The updated plan also calls for reducing fossil fuel consumption to less than one-tenth of what we use today, which will be a 94% drop in demand for oil and an 86% drop in demand for all fossil fuels. 

Newsom's office said this new plan could create 4 million new jobs, and save Californians $200 billion in health costs due to pollution. 

“California is drastically cutting our dependence on fossil fuels and cleaning our air – this plan is a comprehensive roadmap to achieve a pollution-free future,” said Governor Newsom. “It’s the most ambitious set of climate goals of any jurisdiction in the world, and if adopted, it’ll spur an economic transformation akin to the industrial revolution. While big polluters focus on increasing their profits at our expense, California is protecting communities, creating jobs, and accelerating our transition to clean energy.”

According to V. Ram Ramanathan, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of California at San Diego, the plan contains all of the essential ingredients of climate resilience: fossil-free energy generation; reduction of short-lived super pollutants; air pollution abatement; climate justice; restoration of nature’s role as a carbon sink. It integrates effortlessly mitigation, adaptation, and transformation

“Finally there is a climate action plan that has the potential to bend the warming curve in time,” said Ramanathan. “This is the new way to address the climate crisis. The health benefits of these actions alone will pay for the huge investment by the state. Having worked on climate change science since 1975, I am finally seeing a climate solutions plan that recognizes the grave risks posed by the climate crisis; I hope the rest of the planet will follow the California example”.  

Newsom’s office highlighted that this plan will be a critical component of Governor Newsom’s California Climate Commitment to build out a 100% clean energy grid, achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, and ramp up carbon removal and sequestration, among other climate goals. 

CARB released the updated plan following the latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory that showed the steepest recorded drop in pollution in 2020 due to the pandemic. The report also showed that California reached its 2020 climate targets six years ahead of schedule in 2014 rather than the initially estimated four.

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