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California Governor Gavin Newsom signs ‘sweeping’ new climate measures

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PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a package of bills last week reducing California’s carbon emissions and deepening its reliance on clean energy.

The new laws include proposals “aimed at reducing exposure to gas and oil pollution in communities of color, expanding clean energy jobs and accelerating the state’s timeline for getting most of its electricity from renewable energy sources,” reports the Associated Press.

Under the new bills, California also will be required to reach carbon neutrality by 2045 — meaning the state will remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as it emits.

This is just the latest step in California’s aggressive strategy to move away from traditional energy sources. In August, the state announced that it would ban the sale of new gasoline cars beginning in 2035.

“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,” Newsom said in a press release. “Together with the Legislature, 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.”

The press release also claims that the new measures raise the bar for governments around the world.

“We could talk about the way the world should be and protest it, or we can actually make demonstrable progress — and we took the latter approach here,” Newsom said at a press conference. “As a consequence of doing so, there’s no other jurisdiction in the world — think about that — that’s doing what the state of California is doing,” the governor added.

Newsom’s plan has received criticism from both the oil industry and environmentalists. Food and Water Watch California, a nonprofit aimed at addressing climate and water issues, opposed one aspect of the package that creates a system for carbon capture. Carbon capture technology removes carbon from the atmosphere to store underground. Critics of the technology say it’s “dangerous, unproven and a means for oil companies to keep emitting,” according to the AP.

“Carbon capture is a smokescreen for fossil fuel industry players to protect their bottom lines at the expense of our climate and communities,” Food and Water Watch California Director Chirag G. Bhakta said in a statement.

According to TheWrap, sources say that Newsom is “undeniably, unequivocally” planning to run for president in 2024 if President Biden chooses not to seek a second term.

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