It has followed a declining trend since 2007. The peak of carbon emissions was noticed in 2001 (14.0 metric tons per person). Since then it has been reduced by 23% to 10.6 metric tons per person in 2016. California’s next goal is to reduce emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. Interestingly, the state’s economic activity rose by more than 40% during the time these reductions were occurring.
One of the biggest reasons for this significant progress is the increase in the use of renewable energy by the state. Now, around 13% of the state’s electricity is from renewable sources, while generation from coal-fired plants has noticeably decreased.
The next step will be even harder than the previous. It will not be enough to only increase the use of renewable sources. Nearly 2/3 of the current emission is generated by transportation and industrial sectors. Therefore, electrifying transportation and implementing transit, housing and land policies, that provide alternatives to the lengthy automobile commutes, are the key to success.
GHG Reductions In The UK
Meanwhile, the UK has already achieved the goal set by California for 2030. Its greenhouse gas emissions are already 38% below the 1990 levels. The reason for this significant progress is identical to the one in California: a sharp drop in the amount of coal used to generate electricity, along with an increase in renewables. Coal now accounts for only 5.3% of the total primary energy consumed in the UK, down from 22% in 1995. The government plans to close all coal-fired stations by 2025.