Tuesday, January 17, 2017

On climate change, even forefront states are falling short

When Indian Point nuclear power plant north of New York City closes by 2021, New York State will lose almost a  quarter of its zero-carbon energy.  Credit Uli Seit for The New York Times

Eduardo Post writes for The New York Times

Is there a more environmentally conscious state than California? It has been at the forefront of climate policy for decades — from demanding stringent fuel economy and emissions standards to wholeheartedly embracing renewable energy from the sun and wind.

It has fighting words for the incoming administration of Donald Trump. “We will not deviate from our leadership because of one election,” the State Senate leader, Kevin de Leon, told The New York Times. Last fall, the state legislature committed to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below their 1990 level by 2030. “California is doing something that no other state has done,” proclaimed Gov. Jerry Brown.

State policies were always bound to play a central role in the decarbonization of the American economy. But with a president-elect who has asserted that climate change is a Chinese hoax, promised a bright future for fossil fuels and vowed to undo President Obama’s climate strategy, their choices have become more important than ever.

And yet for all the pluck of the Golden State’s politicians, California is far from providing the leadership needed in the battle against climate change. Distracted by the competing objective of shuttering nuclear plants that still produce over a fifth of its zero-carbon power, the state risks failing the main environmental challenge of our time. 

Read the full story here

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