A single, devastating California fire season wiped out years of efforts to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, a key contributor to global warming, by the end of 2018, according to a new assessment of the state’s climate records.
The findings announced Friday were the most ambitious attempt to assess the state’s climate activities so far, and come at a pivotal time for the state’s efforts to slow global warming, as the Trump administration has promised massive investments in electric vehicles.
With no comprehensive climate assessment of the state since 2013, the new report represents the first time the state’s climate work has been compared to scientific benchmarks around the world. It focuses on emissions of carbon dioxide, the main component of greenhouse gases, which have been blamed for global warming.
The report notes California’s overall carbon emissions are projected to rise by 36 million metric tons, equivalent to adding one million cars to the roads. Overall emissions are projected to more than double over the next two decades, reaching 466 million tons, or almost 7 percent of that state’s total energy use and making it the seventh largest carbon emitter in the nation.
The emissions rise is the result of several factors, including population and population growth, climate change and land use, and increased energy use.
The analysis concluded that emissions in 2018 alone were equivalent to 2.5 percent of the state’s total energy production and that the emissions could double again by 2040.
The report, titled “Climate Change in California: The Changing Face of the State’s Energy and Climate Future,” was prepared by University of California, Berkeley economics professor William D. Nordhaus and his consulting company, PBL Associates.
The report concludes the state’s overall emissions are projected to rise by 36 million metric tons, that the growth will continue in perpetuity, and that California’s emissions have already tripled over the last 30 years.
The report comes at a tense time in California where Trump’s administration, following in the footsteps of the fossil fuel industry, has been championing an aggressive shift to electric, or clean, vehicles. California accounts for more than half the nation’s EV market and