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California's Gov. Brown Issues Carbon Neutrality Order, Signs Renewable Energy Bill

California Governor Jerry Brown (D) on September 10th issued Executive Order B-55-18 establishing a statewide goal to “achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible, and no later than 2045, and maintain and achieve negative emissions thereafter.” The order directs the California Air Resources Board to work with other state agencies to identify and recommend measures to achieve those goals.

Gov. Brown’s executive order is not legally binding, depends on legislative approval for its implementation, and can be rescinded by a future governor. However, the order is in tune with the current political zeitgeist in Sacramento.

On the same day, Brown signed Senate Bill No. 100, revising California’s renewable portfolio standards (RPS) program. Under the existing RPS, California utilities must obtain 45 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2027 and 50 percent by 2030. Under S.B 100, utilities must obtain 50 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2026, 60 percent by 2030, and 100 percent by 2045.

Brown timed both actions to publicize and underscore his ongoing Global Climate Action Summit, which convened two days later.