California set a record for greenhouse gas reductions in 2020, but it means nothing if we don’t act on it in time.
We’ve talked a bit in the past about California’s aggressive efforts to combat global warming. The state’s cap-and-trade program is one of the most far-reaching efforts in the United States, allowing individuals to buy permits for pollution reductions like the ones used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And the state mandated reductions are expected to save 1.9 million lives by 2045, including the 1.3 million that will be saved by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Other measures to curb the effects of climate change such as planting more solar panels or encouraging more building construction will also be offset by the state’s program, and if they are any help, then so will the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. But it is also worth noting that, on some level, the state still needs to accept and embrace something it has already achieved.
The idea that the United States is on track to meet its Paris Agreement goal of holding global warming to less than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2050 is more than a bit premature. In order to meet the goal, we will have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero or below by the year 2030.
This means that global emissions must begin to decline by 2030. Unfortunately, this would likely require a massive shift in policy globally, at a time when the U.S. economy is experiencing growth that could make it the largest in the world.
This is the point at which President Trump made clear that he plans to withdraw from the agreement. “President Trump has repeatedly made it clear he intends to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord and to re-impose stringent and expensive regulations that would have adverse impacts on the American people and the American economy,” said a statement from his office.
And he doesn’t even have the support of his own party in his zeal to withdraw. The Democrat position on climate change — both the Democratic Party and California — has consistently been cautious. In a recent debate for the California primary, Gov. Jerry Brown said: “we don’t have the facts right now. I don’t make predictions. But the reality is, we know that humans are contributing to climate change. But we do have some very hard facts to work with at this point, in terms of what’s happening with the planet and how