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Report: California a "World Leader" in Cutting Emissions

PHOTO: A new report says California is a world leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, thanks to increased reliance on wind power and other forms of renewable energy. Photo credit: pedrojperez/morguefile.com
PHOTO: A new report says California is a world leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, thanks to increased reliance on wind power and other forms of renewable energy. Photo credit: pedrojperez/morguefile.com
May 18, 2015

SACRAMENTO - California leads the world in cutting greenhouse gases at a rate second only to France. That's according to a study, the "California Green Innovation Index," released today by Next 10, a nonprofit focused on climate change and the clean tech economy.

The report says for the first time ever in a non-recession year, carbon emissions were flat worldwide from 2013 to 2014 while the global economy grew, and California followed that same trend. From 1990 to 2012, the state cut its emissions by 25 percent and the Gross Domestic Product increased by 37 percent. Next 10 founder F. Noel Perry says it disproves the argument that cutting carbon pollution costs jobs.

"This decoupling shows worldwide what we've seen in individual countries and California," he says. "Namely that you can grow the economy while cutting greenhouse gas emissions."

Perry describes the world economy as at an historic tipping point away from fossil fuels and toward clean technology. He says the report is meant to increase understanding of the issue ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference later this year in Paris.

Report coauthor Renae Steichen says overall, carbon emissions are still far too high in the U.S. but the nation is making progress.

"We are second only to China in total greenhouse gas emissions," says Steichen. "In the U.S., energy use per capita fell 10.4 percent between 1990 and 2012. So, we're improving, even though we're still relatively high."

The report says California has led the nation in "de-carbonizing" the economy, chiefly by encouraging the sale of electric vehicles, mandating greater use of solar and wind power and setting energy efficiency standards for appliances.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA