New climate measures will cut state’s oil use by 91%, build climate-friendly homes

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California Construction News staff writer

California has enacted some of the nation’s most aggressive climate measures to cut pollution and accelerate the transition to clean energy.

Measures are expected to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 and 90% clean energy by 2035, establish new setback measures protecting communities from oil drilling and capture carbon pollution from the air.

Over the next two decades, the California Climate Commitment will:

  • Create 4 million new jobs
  • Cut air pollution by 60%
  • Reduce state oil consumption by 91%
  • Save California $23 billion by avoiding the damages of pollution
  • Reduce fossil fuel use in buildings and transportation by 92%
  • Cut refinery pollution by 94%

In a July letter to the chair of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Governor Newsom called for the state to ensure that the 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan provides a path to achieve both the 2030 climate goal and state carbon neutrality no later than 2045, requesting that the final plan incorporate new efforts to advance offshore wind, clean fuels, climate-friendly homes, carbon removal and address methane leaks.

“This month has been a wake-up call for all of us that later is too late to act on climate change. California isn’t waiting any more,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “California is taking the most aggressive action on climate our nation has ever seen. We’re cleaning the air we breathe, holding the big polluters accountable, and ushering in a new era for clean energy. That’s climate action done the California Way – and we’re not only doubling down, we’re just getting started.”

In Vallejo, Governor Newsom signed the legislation at the USDA Forest Service Regional Office on Mare Island, a facility powered by clean energy that also feeds the grid.

The climate package signed last week includes:

  • CARBON NEUTRALITY:
    • Establishes a clear, legally binding, and achievable goal for California to achieve statewide carbon neutrality as soon as possible, and no later than 2045, and establishes an 85% emissions reduction target as part of that goal.
  • PROTECT COMMUNITIES AGAINST OIL DRILLING:
    • Establishes a setback distance of 3,200 feet between any new oil well and homes, schools, parks or businesses open to the public.
    • Ensures comprehensive pollution controls for existing oil wells within 3,200 feet of these facilities.
  • 100% CLEAN ELECTRIC GRID: 
    • Creates clean electricity targets of 90% by 2035 and 95% by 2040 with the intent of advancing the state’s trajectory to the existing 100% clean electricity retail sales by 2045 goal.
  • CAPTURING AND REMOVING CARBON POLLUTION:
    • Advances engineered technologies to remove carbon pollution, while banning the use of those technologies for enhanced oil recovery.
    • Establishes a clear regulatory framework for carbon removal and carbon capture, utilization and sequestration.
    • Bans the practice of injecting carbon dioxide for the purpose of enhanced oil recovery.

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