Many public officials and environmental advocates in California were appalled by Thursday’s Supreme Court decision to limit federal authority over greenhouse gases from power plants, citing a collective blow to the monumental defiance of fight against global warming.
But experts say California’s ambitious climate goals to eliminate its carbon footprint by 2045 are unlikely to be unraveled. Instead, it re-emphasizes the importance of strong state policy, they said.
“Whenever the federal power to regulate climate change is limited, the power of the state becomes more important,” Cara Horowitz, co-executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the School of right from UCLA. “California has always been a leader in the fight against climate change, and I expect that to continue and become even more crucial. States have a lot of regulatory power that the Supreme Court decision does not affect. not. “
Horowitz said states will continue to determine how much renewable energy to feed into the grid. Perhaps most importantly for California, where the largest source of carbon emissions comes from road transportation, states will also exercise the power to regulate vehicle emissions.
“Before the decision was released, there were concerns that the court ruling could threaten California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act, which allows California to limit greenhouse gas emissions from cars,” said said Horowitz. “Because this case does not limit the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases from motor vehicles, at least not directly, I think there is good reason to believe that the standards California auto emissions for climate pollution survive. It’s a big centerpiece of California’s climate program.
However, given the collective response needed to contain the heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, many feared the move would lead to an uneven response across the country – inaction that could have deadly consequences, as a warmer climate creates conditions more conducive to natural disasters. In recent years, California has already experienced record heat, unprecedented wildfires and historic drought.
“The radical Supreme Court has weakened our country’s ability to prevent the climate crisis from becoming a catastrophe for our planet and all who live on it,” said U.S. Representative Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-San Pedro). “By severely limiting the EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, Americans will suffer from extreme weather events such as droughts, heat waves, and storms. Rising temperatures and a delayed transition to cleaner energy sources will threaten public health and reduce quality of life due to increased air pollution. This burden will fall harder on low-income communities and communities of color.
Atty from California. General Rob Bonta called the Supreme Court’s decision “misguided and gravely disappointing”. He acknowledged it would have “dangerous consequences” at a time when world climate leaders are calling for drastic cuts to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
“We are running out of time in the fight against climate change, and we need all levels of government to work together to act before it is too late,” Bonta said. “In California, we have strong programs in place to fight climate change, and we will not back down. We will continue to use all the tools at our disposal to reduce emissions, fight climate change and protect health. This includes advocating for stronger environmental regulations at the federal level. With the future of our planet at stake, our commitment to addressing the climate crisis cannot waver.
California officials have made reducing greenhouse gases a top priority, citing billions of dollars in potential health benefits and avoided economic damage.
Since greenhouse gas emissions peaked in California in 2004, the California Air Resources Board has ambitiously charted a path to carbon neutrality by 2045 at the latest.
The proposal recommended by board staff, unveiled earlier this year, calls for a tremendous acceleration of clean technologies by 2045, including: a thirty-fold increase in zero-emission vehicles, four times the amount of electricity produced from wind and solar energy, and a 91% drop in oil demand.
In 2019, 41% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions came from road transportation. Industrial operations were the second largest source of emissions, with 24%.
Los Angeles Times