Jan 16, 2020

California is on track to miss its 2030 greenhouse gas emissions target

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Reproduced from California Energy Policy Simulator; Chart: Axios Visuals

A new analysis finds that California is not on track to meet its 2030 greenhouse gas reduction targets absent new and toughened clean energy policies.

Why it matters: California has many of the nation's most aggressive programs, so the results shows the difficulty of achieving steep state-level cuts in that state and others adopting ambitious climate targets.

  • California also matters a lot because it's the world's fifth-largest economy and its emissions are the second-largest among U.S. states behind Texas.

But, but, but: The research firm Energy Innovation also lays out ideas for making the state's programs tougher in order to meet the target — changes the authors say would yield billions of dollars in economic and health benefits.

The big picture: The analysis — based on a state-specific version of the firm's "energy policy simulator" — shows that the state's existing policies and trends will drive down emissions but fall short of California's statutory target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.

What they found: The half-dozen policy recommendations include...

  • Changing the state's cap-and-trade program to make minimum pollution permit prices rise faster if emissions cuts aren't on pace for the 2030 target.
  • Boosting the state's zero-emissions vehicles goal to 7.5 million on the roads by 2030, up from the current 5 million target.
  • Creating a zero-emissions performance standard for industrial heating systems.

The bottom line: "California’s policymakers have a challenging job, working at the forefront of global climate action. In effect, they are inventing a sophisticated climate policy machine without obvious precedent," it states.

  • The study was funded by the nonprofit Aspen Global Change Institute.

Go deeper ... Climate change: California cities look to ban natural gas

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Exclusive: What’s in Republicans’ new climate-change push

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Trees, plastics and favorable tax policy are at the core of House Republicans’ new push on climate change — an effort to reassure voters they care about the problem after a decade of dismissing it.

Why it matters: The policies reveal how Republicans hope to counter Democrats’ Green New Deal and show the political saliency of this topic that in the past has been on the electoral back burner.

Go deeperArrowJan 21, 2020

Global CO2 emissions were flat in 2019

Reproduced from IEA; Chart: Axios Visuals

An IEA analysis released Monday found that energy-related CO2 emissions were flat last year at 33.3 gigatonnes.

Why it matters: Scientific analyses show that steep cuts — not just a plateau — are needed to meet the temperature goals of the Paris climate agreement.

Dominion joins power giants' net-zero carbon emissions push

Photo: Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images

The huge utility Dominion Energy vowed Tuesday to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Why it matters: Virginia-headquartered Dominion has ranked among the country's 10 largest power generators and operates in 18 states.