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California Rolls Out Ambitious Plan to Slash Carbon Emissions

January 20, 2017

EPA Tightens Air Pollution Limits For First Time In A DecadeEPA Tightens Air Pollution Limits For First Time In A Decade
Traffic moves along a freeway in Los Angeles, Calif.Photograph by David McNew — Getty Images

California released an ambitious plan to cut the state’s output of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions on Friday, the same day that newly-minted Trump administration signaled it will undo federal U.S. carbon regulations.

California’s plan details how it will achieve its goal of cutting emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, which state air regulators called the most ambitious target in North America.

The plan includes an extension of the state’s controversial carbon cap and trade program and calls for the state’s oil refineries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent.

“Climate change is impacting California now, and we need to continue to take bold and effective action to address it head on to protect and improve the quality of life in California,” said CARB chair Mary Nichols, who called the plan’s target the most ambitious one of its kind in North America.

California’s aggressive move to tackle the issue of global warming stands in stark contrast to President Donald Trump, who has cast doubt on the degree to which human activity causes climate change.

The Trump administration on Friday removed all mentions of climate change from the White House website and said it would eliminate the Climate Action Plan, which seeks to cut emissions in part by preserving forests and encouraging increased use of cleaner renewable fuels.

The battle over climate change policy between California, the nation’s most populous state, and the Trump administration will likely include a fight over the state’s decades-old authority to set limits on emissions.

During a congressional hearing on Wednesday, Trump’s nominee for secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, would not commit to allowing the state to set more stringent emissions standards for vehicles through a federal waiver.

“Administrators in the past have not granted the waiver and have granted the waiver. That is a review process that will be conducted,” he said.