Sen. John Barrasso. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

California Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) is proposing a new Enhanced Clean Energy Standard (CES) as the next step in curbing carbon emissions in California.

The big picture: Mayes' bill would create an enforceable 80% CES that's "technology neutral," meaning that utility companies would be required to limit greenhouse gas emissions, but would be free to choose the technology with which to do so. This approach has been popular among conservatives recently, and may please progressive climate activists, too.

How it works: The legislation sets a zero-emissions standard, but doesn't specify any preferred energy technology. This tech-neutral approach would help control costs of de-carbonization by allowing businesses to choose any qualifying zero-emissions energy source based on affordability and business needs. That leaves the door open for non-renewable, zero-emissions sources to qualify for compliance plans, including nuclear, hydro, carbon capture and market entry for yet-to-be-discovered energy technology.

Conservatives have been advocating for this tech-neutral concept in a number of ways:

Between the lines: Republicans are generally more comfortable with climate action when policies go beyond wind and solar solutions to include all energy and technology options for minimizing greenhouse gas emissions. Tech-neutral advocates hope that preserving as much freedom of choice as possible will make climate change legislation both economically practical and environmentally effective.

  • This approach can also accelerate affordable decarbonization because it allows all existing zero-emissions energy technology to compete.

The bottom line: Mayes’ bill may be the best chance for electric utility companies and climate change advocates to cooperate on meeting California’s climate goals: Currently, there is a binding requirement for 60% of electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030 and a non-enforceable goal of 100% of electricity from zero-emissions sources by 2045. Mayes' bill would increase the enforceable zero-emissions target to 80% by 2038.

Sarah E. Hunt is the co-founder and CEO of Joseph Rainey Center for Public Policy.

Go deeper

Updated 21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: The swing states where the pandemic is raging — Pence no longer expected to attend Barrett confirmation vote after COVID exposure.
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day case records last week
  3. Business: Where stimulus is needed most.
  4. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events
  6. World: Unrest in Italy as restrictions grow across Europe.
  7. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine.
Updated 23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans and Dems react to Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation

President Trump stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett after she took the constitutional oath to serve as a Supreme Court justice during a White House ceremony Monday night .Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

President Trump said Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court and her subsequent taking of the constitutional oath Monday was a "momentous day," as she she vowed to serve "without any fear or favour."

Of note: As Republicans applauded the action, Democratic leaders warned of consequences to the rush to replace the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a conservative so close to the election, as progressives led calls to expand the court.

Hurricane Zeta makes landfall in Mexico ahead of expected arrival in U.S.

Hurricane Zeta's forecast path. Photo: National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Zeta made landfall on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 1 storm late Monday packing maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, per the National Hurricane Center.

The state of play: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) declared a state of emergency Monday as Zeta strengthened into a hurricane earlier Monday.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!