California dreamin’: The Golden State powers ahead

In June, the United States shocked the world, and announced its intention to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. This was undoubtedly a huge step backwards on climate action for one of the world’s most powerful nations. But much to Trump’s dismay, this move won’t stop climate and renewable energy progress in the US or worldwide.

US states and cities are taking the transition to renewable energy into their own hands, with states such as California, Hawaii, New York and Washington pledging to take action. And legendary California, the land of sunshine, surf, and the Silicon Valley is leading the movement with its groundbreaking climate and energy policies.

The Golden State is powering its way ahead, with a comprehensive action plan designed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. To achieve this goal, the Californian Government has introduced various landmark policies including a cap and trade program which requires that companies pay to release greenhouse gas emissions, a 50% renewable energy target by 2030, and a commitment to double the energy efficiency savings of existing residential and commercial buildings.

So far, so good. California is well on its way to a low-carbon future, with coal accounting for less than 6% of the state’s power generation, with the state installing as many solar panels as the rest of the US combined, and greenhouse gas emissions dropping to almost 1990 levels.

They’re already reaping the rewards too. From 2010 to 2016, California’s Riverside, Inland Empire and San Bernadino counties have benefited from 41,000 new jobs and a whopping US $9.1 billion in direct economic activity.

People are picking up what the Californians are putting down, with other states and countries following California’s lead. China has signed a climate agreement with California pledging to reduce emissions together, by cooperating on emissions trading schemes and investing in renewable energy technologies.

California’s commitment to climate might just be the best thing to come out of The Golden State since the iPhone (big call, we know).We’re California dreamin’