California slashes emissions, hits major greenhouse gas goal years early

In a major win for California’s fight against global warming, the state appears to have hit its first target for cutting greenhouse gases — and it reached the goal early.

Data released Wednesday by the California Air Resources Board show that the state’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped 2.7 percent in 2016 — the latest year available — to 429.4 million metric tons.

That’s slightly below the 431 million metric tons the state produced in 1990. And California law requires that the state’s emissions, which peaked in 2004, return to 1990 levels by 2020.

Since the peak, emissions have dropped 13 percent. The 2008 financial crisis helped, cutting the number of miles Californians drove and the amount of freight moving through the state’s ports, railways and roads. But emissions have continued falling in recent years even as the state’s economy has expanded.

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