Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday vaulted California into a 27-year effort to eliminate carbon emissions from the power generation mix by signing Senate Bill 100 and issuing an executive order establishing a 2045 target for achieving carbon neutrality.
Brown acknowledged "it will not be easy, and it will not be immediate, but it must be done."
Authored by state Sen. Kevin de Leon, the legislation establishes that 50% of power supplies have to be from renewable resources by 2025 and 60% in 2030.
The legislation directs the state to move in the direction of having zero-carbon electricity by 2045.
"This will ensure California removes as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it emits -- the first step to reversing the potentially disastrous impacts of climate change," said a spokesperson for the governor. "The state will reach its goals with continued significant reductions of carbon pollution and increased carbon sequestration in forests, soils and other natural landscapes and programs focused on improving air quality."
De Leon said Brown's action "sends a message to the rest of the world that we are taking the future into our own hands, refusing to be the victims of its uncertainty."
A consumer group, Californians for Affordable and Reliable Energy lamented the bill, predicting it will drive up electricity costs. "California already leads the nation in the use of renewable energy, and as a result, we also pay some of the highest electricity rates in the nation," said Chairman Rob Lapsley.