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No fossil fuels in power, law says

14 September 2018

The laws, signed Saturday by Governor Jerry Brown, ban the construction of pipelines and other facilities in state waters that could transport oil and gas from an offshore platform.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill mandating the electricity target on Monday.

Senate Bill 100, authored by state Sen. Also on Monday, Brown issued an executive order establishing a new target to achieve carbon neutrality by the same year.

Brown's signing came days before he hosts a gathering of local, worldwide and business leaders in San Francisco to highlight the urgency of addressing climate change.

The move would accelerate a shift already underway to wind and solar but hinges on a big bet - that battery costs will plunge, allowing for a transition away from the natural gas plants that provide about a third of California's electricity.

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California's utilities had been on track to meet the previous goal, of 50 percent clean power by 2030, "but scientists debate whether cost-efficient 100 percent clean energy is feasible or if it would require new technological advances", Bradford wrote.

Last year, California joined Washington state and NY to form the U.S. Climate Alliance, which now includes 17 U.S. states committed to achieving the goals of the Paris climate agreement and meeting or exceeding the targets of the Clean Power Plan crafted by the Obama administration's Environmental Protection Agency. "SB 100 is sending a message to California and to the world that we're going to meet the Paris [climate] agreement".

Critics said they were concerned that the bill would bring higher electricity prices, with opponents including the major utilities, oil interests, as well as the California Farm Bureau Federation and the California Chamber of Commerce, The Mercury News reported. In 2015, Hawaii became the first state to set such a target. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, right, Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. SB100 sets a goal of phasing out all fossil fuels from the state's electricity sector by 2045. "But have no illusions, California and the rest of the world have miles to go before we achieve zero-carbon emissions".

The goal "sends a clear signal to markets to expand clean energy generation", Brown said.

Brown, who has positioned California as a global leader in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, approved the measure as he prepares to host a summit in San Francisco of climate change leaders from around the world starting Wednesday.

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Environmental activists enthusiastically backed the measure, but there was opposition from some of the state's largest utility companies.

The co-chairs of the San Francisco climate summit include former NY mayor and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg, UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa, and China's top climate official, Xie Zhenhua.

Environment America affiliate Environment California played a key role in driving the bill through both houses of the state legislature, and to the governor's desk.

But electricity accounts for only 16 percent of California's emissions.

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No fossil fuels in power, law says