Although California fancies itself a leader in the reduction of greenhouse gases, the state has the nation's second highest level of energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide and has lagged the rest of the nation in reducing those emissions, according to a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Under Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown, California has adopted a mandate that utilities shift to at least 33 percent of its electrical power coming from non-emitting renewable sources such as wind, solar and geothermal by 2020. It's also adopted a "cap-and-trade" system to compel sources of carbon emissions to reduce their impact.
The EIA report, however, says that California's 369.8 million metric tons of energy-related carbon emissions in 2010 made it second only to Texas' 652.6 million metric tons. But between 2000 and 2010, while the nation's emissions were dropping by 4.2 percent, Texas' fell by 8.3 percent and California's by just 3 percent.
On a per-capita basis, California's energy carbon output dropped from 11.2 metric tons to 9.9 tons - one of the nation's lowest levels and barely half the national average of 18.2 tons. However, the state's per capita decline during that period, 11.2 percent, was lower than the national average decline of 12.6 percent. Texas' per capita decline during the decade was 23.8 percent.
PHOTO CREDIT: Smog covers downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 12, 2008. Monica Almeida/The New York Times