In 2006, California set a goal to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In 2016 California committed to a 40% reduction in greenhouse gases below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

A key element of California’s climate plan has been the state’s cap-and-trade program, which sets a statewide limit on sources responsible for 85 percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions, and establishes a price signal needed to drive long-term investment in cleaner fuels and more efficient use of energy.

Carbon pollution declined as their economy boomed.

And, in September 2018, Governor Brown went further committing the state to carbon neutrality by 2045, achieving negative emissions thereafter; to clean transportation by reducing petroleum use 45% by 2030; to goals for 5 million electric vehicles by 2030; to 100% clean energy by 2045, to double the rate of energy efficiencies in buildings, and to extend and improve the state’s cap-and-trade program (additionally directing the revenues to greenhouse gas reducing programs which benefit disadvantaged communities).

Calling climate change “a threat to human existence, ”Governor Brown said, weeks before leaving office in 2018, “I’d say California has taken more intelligent action on climate change than any state or province in the Western Hemisphere.”

Brown’s successor as governor, Gavin Newsom, has proposed at least two new ideas beyond Brown’s. The first is to financially penalize city governments that discourage or prohibit housing development close to city centers and mass transit. This is intended to reduce driving and also protect planted land at risk of development.  The second is to restore discontinued funding for the Healthy Soils Initiative, an effort to get the soil to soak up carbon from the air. 



California Climate Investments Project Map

This map shows project level information on California Climate Investments using Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds. These projects are a subset of a larger and coordinated effort to make climate and energy investments throughout California that further…

The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP)

The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), a major component of California’s renewable energy planning efforts, will help provide effective protection and conservation of desert ecosystems while allowing for the appropriate development of renewable energy…



King Tides: A Story of the Moon, Sun and Sea

By Danielle Venton   Photo by Sarah Craig  1/10/20   
A sunny walk along San Francisco’s Embarcadero is about as nice as it gets, with the waterside promenade framed by a stunning view of the Bay Bridge. Strolling day trippers can also visit much-loved city…

Judge allows California’s shift to energy saving light bulbs

By Don Thompson   Photo by Jae C. Hong  1/1/20   
A federal judge on Tuesday allowed California’s updated light bulb efficiency standards to take effect with the new year. U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller of Sacramento rejected a petition from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association…