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California Cuts Emissions as GDP Grows

July 16, 2015

State stays on track to achieve greenhouse gas reduction target.

The California economy is growing even as the state stays on track to meet the goal set by the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, according to a report from the California Air Resources Board that shows emissions falling by 1.5 million metric tons as the GDP grew by 2% in 2013.

Additionally, the carbon intensity of California’s economy, defined as the amount of carbon pollution per million dollars of GDP, is declining as well, dropping 23% from its peak in 2001 as GDP increased by 6.6% during the same period – demonstrating a decoupling of economic growth and carbon pollution.

While transportation remains the largest source of GHG emissions in California and increased by 1%, the report shows that emissions from most other economic sectors declined or remained flat in 2013, with industrial emissions staying static and electric power showing a slight drop. The authors point to a variety of state-specific programs that have helped organizations get closer to reaching the interim reduction goal of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, including the Renewable Portfolio Standard, the Advanced Clean Cars program, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, and California’s cap-and-trade program. 

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