Falling carbon emissions aren’t harming California economy, study says

Transportation, a main driver of carbon emissions, declined 0.2 percent from the previous year, the report said. File Photo by Mike Nelson/EPA

Aug. 13 (UPI) — A new analysis says California, one of the most environmentally conscious states in the nation, has again achieved a net reduction in carbon emissions without hindering its economy.

The California Air Resources Board said the state economy expanded in 2017 by 3.6 percent while greenhouse gas emissions tumbled — to levels beneath a 2006 mark set by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The report said California is on target to cut emissions to under 300 million metric tons by 2030.

“California is proving that smart climate policies are good for our economy and good for the planet,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “As the Trump administration attempts to obliterate national climate protections, California will continue advancing the cause of American climate leadership.”

The report said transportation, a main driver of greenhouse gases, climbed by 0.7 percent in 2017, but showed signs of leveling off. It also said emissions from electricity fell 9 percent, while industry emissions showed slight reductions.

“This is further evidence that California’s groundbreaking climate regulations are helping to deliver the greenhouse gas reductions needed to meet our 2020 target — and give us a running start at our even more ambitious 2030 target, too,” board Chairwoman Mary D. Nichols said.

State officials have set an ambitious goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2045 to mitigate effects of climate change.

San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting said California, however, still has room to improve.

“I continue to be concerned about increases from the transportation sector, where passenger vehicles account for most of California’s [greenhouse gas] emissions,” Ting said. “We must step up our game to move drivers toward zero-emission vehicles.”


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