A single, devastating California fire season wiped out years of efforts to cut emissions from California’s power plants, and now the damage is showing up in the form of the state’s climate report.
The annual report, published online Friday, is the latest in a series of state reports on greenhouse gas output that have shown the state’s progress in reducing emissions.
But the state’s report on climate mitigation is being criticized for not doing enough. The findings, released just weeks before the state’s long planned presidential election, come as climate change continues to take a larger and larger toll on California’s residents and economy.
It’s not clear who will win the presidential election but climate change could play a role in the outcome, and it’s likely to be a major issue in California politics for years to come.
The state’s climate report comes seven years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a centerpiece of California’s landmark 2007 law that capped greenhouse gas emissions. That law required utilities to cut greenhouse gas emissions that exceed a ceiling imposed by the state.
That cap expired in 2016, and the state now sees California on track to miss its pollution goal by 2020. In the four years since the cap was declared unconstitutional, the state has set emissions goals for its five major power fleets.
In its report, the state estimated that reducing California’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030 would cost $10.5 billion in its electricity sector, $12.1 billion in transportation and $2.5 billion in water and sewage.
The state also estimated that cutting emissions would reduce overall energy use statewide by 2.4%.
In his victory speech Thursday night following an election with an emphasis on climate change, President Donald Trump said he was pleased with the report’s findings, which he described as “very good”. He also took credit for the policy changes California adopted with the cap that Trump has called a “war on the coal industry.”
That cap went into effect in 2012 and required utilities to either cut greenhouse gas emissions or buy carbon credits, which they could buy or sell.
Trump has also said the United States should withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement, which the state signed into law last year. The decision was already in the works when California’s