Sep 14, 2018

California's electric possibilities

Ben Geman, author of Generate

California governor Jerry Brown. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

California's new law to decarbonize electricity could drive even bigger emissions cuts in other energy sectors of the huge state, according to a new analysis by the nonprofit group Third Way.

The big picture: The law signed this week requires the world's fifth-largest economy to have 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045. And Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order to have the whole state become "carbon-neutral" by then.

Third Way's memo breaks down what happens if the power law is accompanied by aggressive efforts to electrify transportation, and space and water heating.

  • And that's not a fantasy — the analysis notes that regulators envision electrification as a key way to help meet the state's existing 2030 emissions goals.

By the numbers: The group's 2030 projections show...

  • The power sector effect of the law, SB 100, would cut 84 million metric tons of CO2 per year.
  • Another 91 million metric tons annually comes from taking a large bite out of transportation and heating emissions, with most of that coming on the transportation side.

The bottom line: "[T]he emissions reductions from SB 100 will more than double if California follows through in electrifying other parts of the economy," the memo states, adding that more gains are expected post-2030.

Yes, but: Ok that's a lot, but Third Way also notes it adds up to 40% of the state's total emissions. So, there would still be much further to go in transport and electricity, and the state also has to address other sectors — notably agriculture and industry, which are big emissions sources.

Quick take: The term "electrify everything" is gaining currency in climate policy circles, and the memo provides helpful projections of what can happen if policymakers breathe life into the phrase.

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Updated 17 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 6,294,222 — Total deaths: 376,077 — Total recoveries — 2,711,241Map.
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  3. Public health: Nearly 26,000 coronavirus deaths in nursing homes have been reported to federal health officials —Coronavirus looms over George Floyd protests across the country.
  4. Federal government: Trump lashes out at governors, calls for National Guard to "dominate" streets.
  5. World: Former FDA commissioner says "this is not the time" to cut ties with WHO.
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Adapted from EPI analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

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Reproduced from Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

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