Aug 29, 2018

California passes legislation boosting carbon-free energy targets

82 Kilowatt Solar Array on roof of Big Blue Bus Terminal, Santa Monica, California. Photo: Citizen of the Planet/Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

California's state assembly passed sweeping legislation last night that would have the massive state obtain 100% of its power from carbon-free sources by 2045 and boost the state's renewables-specific target to 60% by 2030.

Why it matters: California is among the world's largest economies. And, it's perhaps the most powerful sign yet of how states and local governments are pressing ahead with climate initiatives even as the White House backs off Obama-era federal efforts.

What's next: California's Senate has already passed its version, and the measures are expected to be reconciled within days and head for Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown's desk.

  • Brown is expected to sign the measure, according to several reports (although this Wall Street Journal story is a tad circumspect, noting that he expressed concerns about some details in a recent interview).

The big picture: Via the New York Times, "California joins Hawaii, which passed legislation in 2015 calling for 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045. Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C., are also considering such a mandate, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures."

Good point: The WSJ piece notes that the bill could have effects beyond California's borders, noting that last year the state "imported roughly 30% of its electricity generation."

Go deeper: The Los Angeles Times has in-depth coverage here.

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GM to exit Australia, New Zealand and Thailand

GM's Holden brand is popular among racing fans down under, and it's been a regular fixture at events like the Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar Race in Australia. Photo: Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

General Motors is retiring its celebrated Holden brand from sales in Australia and New Zealand after 160 years and winding down operations by 2021, the company confirmed in a statement Monday.

The big picture: GM also intends to "sell its Rayong factory in Thailand to China's Great Wall Motors and withdraw the Chevrolet brand from Thailand by the end of this year," AP reports. "The downsizing is part of a long-running strategy at GM since the Detroit-based company emerged from bankruptcy in 2009," per Bloomberg.

In photos: Deadly Storm Dennis lashes U.K., Ireland and western France

A family is rescued from a property in Nantgarw, Wales, on Sunday. The storm comes a week after the U.K. was battered by storm Ciara, which killed two people, per the BBC. Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Storm Dennis continued to pummel parts of England, Wales and Ireland over Sunday night with heavy rain after battering Northern Ireland and Scotland, per the official British weather agency the Met Office.

Why it matters: It's the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean, with its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains that caused widespread flooding across the U.K., the Washington Post notes. Police in Wales confirmed Sunday they found the body of a man who fell into a river as the storm lashed Ystradgynlais.

Sanders accuses Bloomberg of trying to "buy" the 2020 election

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg. Photos: Drew Angerer; Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders tore into 2020 rival Michael Bloomberg at a Las Vegas campaign event Saturday, saying the billionaire and former New York mayor is trying to "buy the presidency" by paying millions of dollars in advertising.

Why it matters: Bloomberg has surged in national polling recently, having poured millions of dollars into campaign ads largely targeting Trump. His candidacy has become an obvious foil for Sanders, whose grassroots campaign railing against billionaires and the establishment has vaulted him to front-runner status.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy