Gov. Brown signs sweeping legislation to combat climate change

California will become a petri dish for international efforts to slow global warming under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday, forcing one of the world’s largest economies to squeeze into a dramatically smaller carbon footprint.

“What we’re doing here is farsighted, as well as far-reaching,” Brown said at a signing ceremony at Vista Hermosa Natural Park in downtown Los Angeles. “California is doing something that no other state has done.”

The legislation, SB 32, requires the state to slash greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, a much more ambitious target than the previous goal of hitting 1990 levels by 2020.

Cutting emissions will affect nearly all aspects of life in the state — where people live, how they get to work, how their food is produced and where their electricity comes from.

“We’re going to have to make the change about three times as fast as we’ve done so far,” said James Sweeney, director of the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center at Stanford University.

The state has already been ramping up solar power generation, handing out subsidies for drivers to buy electric cars and prodding developers to create denser communities connected to mass transit.

But research from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that current policies may get the state only about halfway to the 2030 goal. Right now the state is inching closer to 1990 emissions levels, a target set a decade ago by an earlier law.

Read the entire article at LATimes.com