CALIFORNIA DREAMIN': Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Law BANNING Fossil Fuels by 2045

Stephen Lam  Getty Images North America

Stephen Lam Getty Images North America

While California has been a leader on reducing the amount of electricity it gets from burning fossil fuels, the state has struggled to be as forward-leaning in reducing the greenhouse gas pollution spewed from cars and trucks.

Is that possible after the signature of Gov.

The bill's ambitiousness is compounded by the executive order that Gov.

"It's not going to be easy and will not be immediate, but it must be done", Brown said. "But it must be done".

"California must take a stand and tell the world we are, as always, undeterred by those who wish to stop our progress and move backwards", Schwarzenegger wrote.

So what happened this week?

Senate Bill 100, signed yesterday by Governor Edmund Brown, increases the amount of electricity to be supplied by renewables to 60% by 2030 - up from the current target of 50% by 2030 - with all of its retail electricity supply to come from renewable energy and zero-carbon resources by 2045. "This clean energy bill is also a big win for our economy and jobs, as we have already demonstrated here in California that we can improve our energy resources while making a positive economic impact". Jerry Brown on Monday signed two measures created to push the state to 100 percent renewable electricity and so-called carbon neutrality by 2045.

"There's no understating the importance of this measure", Brown said moments before signing the bill. There are still major technological hurdles to cleaning up shipping, aviation, long-haul trucking, or other industries, and negative-emissions technologies haven't been shown to work on a large scale yet (see "We still have no idea how to eliminate more than a quarter of energy emissions").

Emissions are falling. Since 2004, as renewable energy has boomed, California's greenhouse gas emissions have dropped by 13 percent, even as the economy has grown by 26 percent over the same time.

About 26.9% of the state's generation now comes from hydro, with 26.9% from renewables and 43.3% from natural gas. The bulk of that is solar energy.

The California Energy Commission estimates that 32 percent of retail energy sales were powered by renewable sources a year ago. Still, the order does try to hedge against overly disruptive solutions to the economy, stating "All policies and programs undertaken to achieve carbon neutrality shall seek to improve air quality and support the health and economic resiliency of urban and rural communities, particularly low-income and disadvantaged communities".

But another environmental group, Greenpeace, said the new law is a good first step, but called on Brown to stop issuing permits for new oil and natural gas wells.

San Diego's Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer was one of many lawmakers praising the bill.

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