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Report: CA Should Ramp Up Greenhouse Gas Reductions

PHOTO: Almost all cars in California will have to be electric if 2050 greenhouse-gas emissions goals are to be met. A new report calls for aggressive measures to meet them. Photo credit: jppi/morguefile.com
PHOTO: Almost all cars in California will have to be electric if 2050 greenhouse-gas emissions goals are to be met. A new report calls for aggressive measures to meet them. Photo credit: jppi/morguefile.com
April 29, 2015

If California takes the most aggressive approach to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, it'll be rewarded with 1 million new jobs and a 6 percent jump in economic growth by 2050, according to a report released Tuesday from the University of California-Berkeley.

The report looked at ways to reach California's ambitious goals to slash greenhouse gases. The study's author, economics professor David Roland-Holst, said the state needs to make some big changes.

"We have to really restructure the entire transportation and electric power system in this state," he said, "because we just can't continue with the fossil-fuel consumption pattern and get the emissions down."

Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order today that sets an interim goal for 2030. Emissions have to be cut by 40 percent over 1990 levels, and then 80 percent by 2050. This might be achieved by bumping up the percentage of the power we get from renewable energy, requiring that more electric vehicles be produced for the California market, and tightening up the state's cap-and-trade program.

Opponents in the oil industry say the new technologies required are too expensive and will cost jobs, but Roland-Holst said the potential benefits to society far outweigh the costs.

"The idea that there's a tradeoff between economic growth and environment is really a fallacy," he said, "and California has kind of proven that."

The report was sponsored by the nonprofit group Next 10, which commissions research into clean energy.

The report is online at Next10.org.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA