Report: California leadership critical foundation for an international agreement on climate

Media Contacts

Environment California Research & Policy Center

Los Angeles – California is playing a major role in U.S. progress to address climate change, a new report said today. In the next decade, the state will cut more global warming pollution than any other state, with total avoided carbon dioxide emissions estimated at 200 million metric tons by 2025.

The Environment California Research & Policy Center report comes as pressure mounts on the U.S. to play a leading role in negotiations for an international climate agreement in Paris.

“The best way to lead is by example,” said Michelle Kinman, clean energy advocate with Environment California. “And that’s just what California is doing.”

The analysis, Path to the Paris Climate Conference: American Progress in Cutting Carbon Pollution Could Pave the Way for Global Action, documents expected carbon pollution reductions from existing state-level and federal policies by 2025, including renewable energy standards, fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks, and regional and state-based carbon caps.

“California is paving the path to Paris with concrete policies on climate change that build the economy of tomorrow,” said Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, author of several landmark pieces of legislation on combating global warming, “and we are planting road signs on how to get there for the rest of the world to follow. From our ambitious goals to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, to spurring a boom in energy efficiency and use of renewables, we are also focusing resources to fight environmental degradation in our poorest communities. California is showing how it’s done.”

The report shows that state and federal policies underway across the country can reduce carbon pollution 27 percent below 2005 levels.

The biggest slice of these reductions will come from the Clean Power Plan, the proposed federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants expected to be finalized this summer. The plan requires cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants in California, and compels state leaders to accelerate the transition to clean energy sources such as wind and solar.

However, fossil fuel interests and their allies in Congress are trying to block the Clean Power Plan, with the House, with full House and two key Senate panels voting this month to derail it.

“America can’t lead with polluters and climate deniers blocking the way,” said Kinman. “That’s why we’re grateful to our state leaders, who continue to defend the Clean Power Plan against attack, and who continue to raise the bar on climate action.”

To avoid devastating impacts of climate change, scientists estimate that an 80 percent cut in global warming pollution will be necessary by mid-century. As the report notes, a more rapid transition to clean energy sources, beyond those already required by existing policies, will be required to achieve these levels.

“California is playing a major role in American progress to cut global warming pollution,” said Kinman. “We must build on that progress to ensure a better, healthier future for our climate and our children.”